Johnny Briceno and Mark Espat comment on what needs be done to move forward after the PUP's defeat in the municipal elections and give a clear warning to UDP.

Originally Posted By: 7 News Belize
Quo Vadis, PUP?

The PUP has just come off a devastating loss at the polls – made more so by the fact that the last three defeats have all been massive. And so it’s time for soul searching in the grand old party – a search which extends right down to the new leader. Today we got his impressions and those of his deputy about what needs be done to move forward.

Hon. Johnny Briceno, PUP Leader

“We knew that after such a crushing defeat that we had last year and the whole issue of change of leadership that the party is still going through some of those, the rebuilding process. We are disappointed, of course we would have hoped we could do better but it is something that should have been expected from inside when we looked at what was taking place in all the different areas. We just need to continue to refocus, re-energize, re-organize the party and I am confident that in the next three years it is going to be a totally different ball game.”

Hon. Mark Espat, PUP Deputy Leader
“The results are indeed disappointing. I think that the results will impel us really to a full scale review of the party’s approach, of our strategies. I think everything is on the table and so I think that in the coming months we will see that we have to take these results, the third consecutive defeat of the PUP in national polls into account.”

Jules Vasquez,
Is the PUP at a cross roads, specifically is the leadership of the party one of those things that are on the table for being under review?

Hon. Mark Espat,

“Well I don’t think there is anything that can be taken off the table at this time. All strategies, all programs, all structures must be on the table for review.”

Hon. Johnny Briceno,
“I believe that everybody is going to make assessments by themselves and as a group and they will feel and they will come to the general conclusion that the only way we can continue to win general elections is if all of us unite as one party.”

Jules Vasquez,
Do all the PUPs have to unite behind John Briceno as leader, are you convinced that the majority of those in the executive, of those at the delegate level believe that you are the best person to lead this party?

Hon. Johnny Briceno,
“I believe that the majority of the people in the executive and certainly at the national level believe that I am the best leader that they have at this time and that under my leadership all of us working together, that we can make things happen, we can turn things around and that is what I am going to be continuing to drive home to everybody, that is especially to some of what you call the movers and the shakers that they could take care of themselves but there are thousands upon thousands of party supporters out there that are suffering whenever there is a UDP central government and we need to be able to listen to them, listen to their cries, and to try to find a way how we can help them. The way we can help them is by winning elections.”

Jules Vasquez,
Sir you failed to win in Orange Walk. I knew that was viewed certainly personally for you as an important mission. You look at it statistically and you say well Orange Walk Central is more than half the town and Orange Walk East, the UDP representative closed his office, he was dormant, he wasn’t at the rally on Sunday, he was apparently not playing with the team. How is it that you still lost Orange Walk after concentrating so much energy on it?

Hon. Johnny Briceno,
“Let me answer it this way: first of all we had no seats in Orange Walk Town. We won three and of those three that came in, they were in the top five. Rosalo Arana just came six votes from topping the polls in Orange Walk Town. Kevin Bernard and Carballo, they were, I think Carballo was third and Kevin was probably fifth. We lost our fourth candidate by 22 votes. Our mayoral candidate lost by less than 2% of the votes. So I don’t know how you can classify that in your words. But for us in Orange Walk, it was a win for us. I certainly do not agree with the way you have expressed that. We believe that we did well.”

Jules Vasquez,
But you can’t say that you’ve won.

Hon. Johnny Briceno,

“But we did win three seats.”

Jules Vasquez,
It is a minority.

Hon. Johnny Briceno,

“But we had zero. We have three.”

http://www.7newsbelize.com/sstory.php?nid=13524

Originally Posted By: 7 News Belize
Mark Espat: PM Barrow Should Be Worried

And while the PUP is not completely clear on what exactly needs to be done to win the next election – according to the PUP, the UDP has its own issues. Sure, they won the election say the leader and the deputy – but do they have the confidence of the electorate?

Hon. Mark Espat,

“If I were in the shoes of the UDP I would be more alarmed frankly. They are the ones that hold the mandate. Only 52% of the voters came out. In Belize City more than 60% protested by staying at home. I think they should be more in panic mode.”

Hon. Johnny Briceno,
“The government needs to take some serious reflection as to what happened in the last election. Yes they won but look at the amount of people that reduced. After they having such an overwhelming victory one year ago, look at the percentages of people that came out to vote. It was extremely low.”

Jules Vasquez,
Such a small portion of the electorate came out compared to last year. It is the comparison between your going from a tsunami to a drop of water.

Hon. Dean Barrow,
“That is very poetic. I don’t think it is very accurate but it is very poetic. You have to go of course municipality by municipality. There were some municipalities such as Orange Walk and Benque where the turnout was in fact phenomenal comparatively speaking. Belize City even if we exclude the fact that in 2006 that was an unusual year and the fact that 2003 we had municipal and central government elections at the same time being responsible for a higher than normal turnout, once has to concede that in Belize City the turnout was abysmally low. There are reasons for that and I think one of those reasons is the controversy that the Mayor appeared to be mired in. I’ve already said publicly that I am going to do something about that and the legislation that we passed with precisely the sorts of circumstances that mushroomed late in the campaign in view, will be employed, will be utilized to ensure that from the point of view of central government, the checks and balances are going to be very much in place in terms of the Belize City Council.”

http://www.7newsbelize.com/sstory.php?nid=13525
_________________________
Live and let live