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#419385 - 10/21/11 01:13 PM Francis Will Lead The PUP
Marty Offline
There will be an uncontested new PUP leader, and it is Francis Fonseca. The Freetown Area representative was endorsed at a meeting of the party's National Executive in Belize City this morning.

Yesterday evening when we told you of the three candidates for leader: Arthur Saldivar, Mike Espat and Julius Espat, Fonseca was not in the picture at all.

Best information suggests that's why party chairman Henry Usher held off on naming names when he spoke to the press yesterday - because Fonseca was likely still being courted and coaxed to take the post - after all, as we reported on Tuesday - he was the only logical choice after Mark Espat turned it down.

But, defying conventional wisdom and his own historical tendencies, Fonseca held out. Ultimately though, it was just a question of somebody pushing the right buttons - and today he told the press it was the elders of the Price family who cajoled him into it. We found that out at a meeting of the Party's National Executive, the third in two weeks. We begin our story at the start of that meeting:..

Jules Vasquez Reporting
Executive members started arriving from before 10:00, Said Musa and others from all over the country - the head of the southern caucus and the northern caucus.

Francis Fonseca walked in unassumingly, but notably absent were the other senior deputies Mark Espat and Cordel Hyde and aspirant for leader Arthur Saldivar.

The meeting was over in an hour - and no one wanted to speak to the media - not even the man who told us yesterday he was offering himself for leader.

Jules Vasquez
"Mr. Espat will you be running for leader?"

Julius Espat, Party Treasurer
"I have instructions from the Executive that we should not comment anything to the media."

Or the man seeking to be leader of the opposition in the House:

Jules Vasquez
"Mr. Musa will be Leader of the Opposition in the House?"

Rt. Hon. Said Musa, former Party Leader
"The Party Chairman will speak to you."

Around noon, the chairman did come down:

Henry Charles Usher, Chairman PUP
"Yesterday we receive more than one application for the position of Party Leader. We receive applications, nominations and acceptances from Arthur Saldivar, Julius Espat, Mike Espat and Hon, Francis Fonseca. Today at the National Executive and Standard Bearers meeting (joint meeting) those 3 persons; Julius Espat, Mike Espat and the representative for Arthur Saldivar Maxwell have all told the National Executive that their candidacies are withdrawn. That leaves only one candidate for party leader the Hon. Francis Fonseca. We are keeping to the timeline set by the National Executive last week. We will have a national party council on the 29th October, that's next week Saturday at which time we will endorse Hon. Francis Fonseca as Party Leader of the People's United Party. A new day is dawning Jules. The People's United Party is together and we are moving forward and under Francis we will deliver a victory for the people of this country."

Fonseca wasn't quite so bold, he accepted that it will be toiugh going and that it was a difficult decision:

Hon. Francis Fonseca, Executive Endorsement PUP Leader
"It was important for me to step up. It won't be easy, you all know that, that it will not be easy. A change in leadership does not mean that there is suddenly a new wave of support for the People's United Party. Obviously that is not the case. I will have to go out there every day as the leader of this party and prove to the Belizean people that we are a credible and viable alternative to the United Democratic Party."

"It was a difficult decision as you know; it's a decision that I made late last evening to submit my acceptance to the nomination for the post of Party Leader. It was a long hard thought out decision, but it thought it was in the best interest of the party and I have to say what had tremendous impact on me is the calls from the members of the Price family, I have to say that many of them - the elders of the Price family call on me to step forward. They felt that it was important certainly in only weeks after Mr. Price's death that we continue the fight of the People's United Party."

Jules Vasquez
"Sir, did you have the support of the past leader John Briceno and the senior deputies Mark Espat and Cordel Hyde?"

Hon. Francis Fonseca, Executive Endorsement PUP Leader
"The former leader was represented here today by his brother Jaime Briceno and Jaime Briceno has indicated in clear terms that he and his brother John Briceno and the Orange Walk Central committee will fully support my endorsement as Party Leader."

"In the case of senior deputies Mark Espat and Cordel Hyde - I certainly hope to enjoy their support. In my conversations with Mark and Cordel but primarily with Mark over the past few days leading up to his own decision he had express his confidence in me his willingness to support me if I decided to take on the leadership of the party. So I accept him in good faith at his word."

Fonseca did concede that Mark Espat was his first choice for leader two weeks ago:

Hon. Francis Fonseca, Executive Endorsement PUP Leader
"I felt then that Mark Espat represented the best opportunity for the People's United Party to mount a serious challenge to the United Democratic Party. But life is real - he made his decision and we have to move on. I have tremendous regard and respect for Mark and I look forward in working with him very closely moving forward because together I believe with all the deputy leaders, together we form a formidable team."

Whether that team will actually gel or even take the court together is another question, but for the time being while leader of the party is settled - who will lead in parliament?

Henry Charles Usher, Chairman PUP
"The National Executive has also recommended that the senior parliamentarian in the House the Rt. Hon. Said Musa the member for Fort George be the Leader of the Opposition at tomorrow House meeting until such time as the new leader is endorse at the party council next week Saturday."

Jules Vasquez
"But he doesn't have a simple majority."

Henry Charles Usher, Chairman PUP
"This is a decision that the National Executive took, the parliamentarians run on a party ticket. The party has made its decision and that decision will be submitted to the Governor General. It is the Governor General that makes the choice for Leader of the Opposition."

Jules Vasquez
"Ultimately it's constitutional and so the party can decide anything. The GG will make the final decision."

Henry Charles Usher, Chairman PUP
"The Governor General makes the final decision."

Hon. Francis Fonseca, Executive Endorsement PUP Leader
"In the interim Mr. Musa is the most senior Member of Parliament for the People's United Party and it is appropriate as the Governor General has sought to do to appoint him as the Leader of the Opposition for tomorrow's meeting."

Jules Vasquez
"Has the Governor General so sought?"

Hon. Francis Fonseca, Executive Endorsement PUP Leader
"He has, he spoke to me about the matter and he said to me that is his intention."

Reporter
"The party has given their full support to Mr. Musa in that regard?"

Hon. Francis Fonseca, Executive Endorsement PUP Leader
"The National Executive unanimously support the appointment of Mr. Musa."

Jules Vasquez
"But 3 parliamentarians oppose."

Hon. Francis Fonseca, Executive Endorsement PUP Leader
"I haven't heard that from them as you have reported that."

The other unsettled matter is the party's finances:

Henry Charles Usher, Chairman PUP
"In order to carry out the Party's functions you do need finances. We are confident at the National Executive level that we will have a plan in place to be able to campaign and to win the municipal elections next March and moving into the general election whenever that is call. As to what you've been hearing on the television and so the Party is not in any dire straits and Jules I am here to tell you that the Party does not owe the Holy Redeemer Credit Union any money, please rectify that this evening in your news because that is inaccurate."

Jules Vasquez
"The Treasurer of the Party has sign for it."

Henry Charles Usher, Chairman PUP
"That is a personal account and the Treasurer is a member of the Holy Redeemer Credit Union and like any other member he has a right to borrow money and that is his decision. It's not the party that borrowed money from the Holy Redeemer Credit Union. Please make that clear."

Jules Vasquez
"It is on behalf of the Party though."

Henry Charles Usher, Chairman PUP
"Please make that clear that the Party does not own credit union any money."

Marion Alley, Reporter
"Mark turn down the opportunity because of financial woes. How do you plan to take the Party out of its debt?"

Hon. Francis Fonseca, Executive Endorsement PUP Leader
"Well that is obviously a very serious issue and it is a real issue and I fully understand and appreciate the concerns that he had. I have them as well, but in times of crisis it's very easy to walk away from the problem. I felt that it was important for me to step up and be a part of the solution to that problem. We are face with serious financial difficulties but I am confident that in the next few weeks we will be able to sit down as a party and determine a way forward in respect of that issue and I can assure the Belizean people that I want to do this from the very outset - that we will do so in a way that does not compromise the fundamental principles of the People's United Party. There is no going back."

But the truth is that there is no going forward without a major influx of money - the party went through an incredible 6.5 million dollars in Briceno's 30 month tenure, and Fonseca now has two elections to finance in 17 months.

That was at noon today, but tonight there's still plenty that's left unsettled.

Channel 7


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#419391 - 10/21/11 01:40 PM Re: Francis Will Lead The PUP [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Francis Fonseca unanimous leader of P.U.P.

Before noon today, the People’s United Party decided on its new leader following tumultuous days of uncertainty that placed the sixty-one year old party at its lowest ebb. Three candidates; Julius Espat, Mike Espat and Arthur Saldivar, presented their names after Mark Espat declined on Tuesday. This morning they bowed out of the race as soon as the meeting of the National Executive got underway. Sometime between Wednesday afternoon and this morning, the Senior Deputy Party Leader and Freetown Representative Francis Fonseca was prevailed upon by the so called old guard to assume the leadership. Fonseca served as a former minister of education and attorney general under the Musa Administration. News Five’s Jose Sanchez was at Independence Hall when the announcement was made.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

The National Executive plus standard bearers of the Peoples United Party strolled into the party headquarters at Independence Hall. Chairman Henry Charles and Fort George Area Rep. Said Musa, Anthony Mahler, and delegates from San Pedro and other municipalities were amongst those that entered just before ten this morning. The absence of four faces was noteworthy. John Briceño was represented by his brother Jaime; Arthur Saldivar was represented by his uncle, Max Samuels. And brothers-in-law Cordel Hyde and Mark Espat were also absent. However, one time heir to the PUP throne Francis Fonseca also cheerfully entered the meeting. After two hours inside the blue machine, Chairman Henry Charles Usher emerged to announce the new leader.

Henry Charles Usher, Chairman, P.U.P.

“I would just like to reiterate, yesterday we received more than one application for the position of party leader. We received applications, nominations and acceptances from Arthur Saldivar, Julius Espat, Mike Espat and the Honorable Francis Fonseca today at the national executive and standard bearer meeting, the joint meeting, those three persons Julius Espat, Mike Espat and the representative for Arthur Saldivar who was Max Samuels, they have all told the national executive that their candidacy has been withdrawn. That leaves only one candidate to party leader, the honorable Francis Fonseca. We are keeping to the timeline set by the national executive set last week. We will have a national party council on the 29th of October, next week Saturday to endorse the honorable Francis Fonseca as Party Leader of the People’s United Party.”

Henry Charles Usher

With less than twenty four hours to the next House Meeting, Fort George’s Said Musa will represent the party as in the familiar role as Leader of the Opposition; one day only in the gladiator’s arena with PM Barrow.

Jules Vasquez, 7 News

“Mr. Musa will you be leader in the house?”

Said Musa, Former Prime Minister

“The party chairman will speak to you.”

Henry Charles Usher

Said Musa

“The national executive has recommended that the senior parliamentary, parliamentarian in the house, the Right Honorable Said Musa, member for Fort George, be the leader of the opposition in tomorrow’s house meeting such time until the new leader is endorsed at the national party council next week Saturday. Francis Fonseca said in the meeting that he would prefer for the process to completed, for the endorsement to be finished for him to be the party leader, before he assumes leader of the opposition. It was then recommended by the national executive that the senior Member of Parliament, the member of Fort George, be the leader of the opposition. The national party council will endorse the new leader. Of course we are moving into a municipal campaign and what we will do is to have a launch of municipal campaign and a convention-like atmosphere where Francis Fonseca will be the party leader of this country; sorry of the People’s United Party and future Prime Minister of this country.”

So on Friday the Leader of the Opposition, Said Musa, alongside Party leader in waiting Francis Fonseca on the battlefield that will for better or worse, see the passage of the ninth amendment. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

Channel 5


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#419392 - 10/21/11 01:41 PM Re: Francis Will Lead The PUP [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Fonseca says he’s ready for leadership

Francis Fonseca

The man of the hour P.U.P. Freetown Area Representative Francis Fonseca made a statement on the way forward for the P.U.P. minutes after the announcement. Fonseca clarified that he was not passed over as interim leader, because he supported Espat in that role. Fonseca told the media what he had already said inside independence hall, that the Price family asked him to run for Leader and he looks forward to leading the party that Price built.

Francis Fonseca, P.U.P. Leader (Designate)

“It was a difficult decision I made late last evening to submit my acceptance to the nomination for the post of party leader. It was a long thought out decision but I thought it was in the best interest of the party and I feel as I did years ago when I first offered myself for party leader that I have a contribution to make to the P.U.P. and to the country of Belize. So today at the national executive meeting we held, as you all know, there were three other candidates that had expressed interests in the post as party leader. Those three candidates withdrew their acceptances and placed their full support behind me and I was very grateful and humbled by their support. So that is where we stand today; the national executive of the P.U.P. has endorsed my candidacy to become the next party leader of the People’s United Party. As the chairman has told you, we will have a national party council meeting at which that decision will be ratified. That is to be held on October 29th and subsequently I will be sworn in as leader of the opposition.”

Jose Sanchez

“How do you plan to work out the party’s financial debts?”

Francis Fonseca

“Yes in many respects, it was as I said a very difficult decision, a very personal decision and I have to say what had tremendous impact on me was the calls from the members of the Price family. Many of them, the elders of Price family called on me to step forward. They felt that it was important that certainly in weeks after Mister Price’s death; that we continue the fight of the P.U.P.—this party that Mister Price built and made so great and a party that has contributed so tremendously to the growth and development of Belize. They felt that it was important for me to step up. It won’t be easy. And you all know that. A change in leadership does not mean there is suddenly a new wave of support for the P.U.P. Obviously that is not the case. I will have to go out every day as the leader of this party and prove to the Belizean people that we are a credible and viable alternative to the United Democratic Party and I am prepared to do that job with the support of the other thirty representatives of the P.U.P. and the member of the national executive, the member and supporters of the P.U.P.”

Jules Vasquez

“Will you have the support of the past leader, John Briceño, and the senior deputies; Mark Espat and Cordel Hyde?”

Francis Fonseca

“Well the former leader, John Briceño, was represented here today by his brother, Jaime Briceño. And Jaime has indicated in clear terms that he and his brother, John Briceño and the Orange Walk Central committee will fully support my endorsement as party leader. In the case of senior deputies; Mark Espat and Cordel Hyde, I certainly hope to enjoy their support. In my conversations with Mark and Cordel; but primarily with Mark over the past few days leading up to his own decision, he had expressed to me his confidence in me and willingness to support me if I decided to take on the leadership of the party. So I accept him in good faith at his word.”

Channel 5


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#419418 - 10/21/11 03:31 PM Re: Francis Will Lead The PUP [Re: Marty]
Katie Valk Offline
Not great timing for Francis' appointment, announced the same day the Privvy Council in the UK backed the Belize Bank suit against GOB for the loan due to Bz Bk for Universal Health Services, secured by GOB with Francis's signature. GOB has been ordered to pay BZ Bk about $40 mil including interest. That was the hot button issue that brought people out into the streets to protest. John Briceno declined to vote at that session of the house and thats what gave him the traction to lead PUP, only to walk away a few weeks ago.
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Belize based travel specialist
www.belize-trips.com
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#419485 - 10/22/11 01:53 PM Re: Francis Will Lead The PUP [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Francis to the PUP rescue!

At today’s meeting of the National Executive of the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP), Freetown area representative and current senior deputy leader, Francis Fonseca, was endorsed as both the leader of the PUP and the Opposition in the House, taking over in both posts from former party leader John Briceño, who resigned as PUP leader on October 7, and resigned from the latter post (Opposition Leader) earlier this week upon returning from medical consultations in Mexico City.

Late on Wednesday evening, just after 5 p.m., party chairman Henry Charles Usher had called the press to the party’s Independence Hall headquarters on Queen Street to announce that the party had four nominations and acceptances of nominations on its desk as of the close of nominations minutes earlier.

Usher today informed the media assembled outside of Independence Hall, however, that the other candidates have withdrawn their candidacies.

The party was to have confirmed the candidate list following today’s meeting; the listed names announced by the local television stations during Wednesday night’s newscasts, confirmed by Usher in today’s briefing, are Arthur Saldivar, Belize Rural North standard bearer; deputy party leader, former Toledo East area representative and current standard bearer, Mike Espat; Cayo South standard bearer and party treasurer Julius Espat, and in an “eleventh hour” entry, Fonseca.

Cayo North standard bearer Joseph Mahmud was initially said to have considered running, then later withdrew.

Speculation grew after Hon. Mark Espat, interim leader and initially considered a strong favorite to succeed Briceño after having received support from 30 of 31 constituencies and the Order of Distinguished Service (ODS), announced via a formal notice to party members and the press on Tuesday that he would not seek the nomination.

Espat has been unavailable to the press, including Amandala, all week, but we understand that his reluctance to accept the post stems from the party’s crippling financial problems. Reports are that upwards of $5 million in debts have been accrued, and Espat told his fellow party members that the PUP’s campaign machinery was not “battle-ready,” and that there was much work to be done.

Fonseca, a former Attorney General and Minister of Education, is said to have the support of former party leader and Fort George area representative Hon. Said Musa.

Also at today’s National Executive meeting, the issue of succession to the post of Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly was also decided. Musa had been proposed from as early as this week, but we understand that there was a 3-3 split in the parliamentary caucus – Musa, Corozal Southeast’s Florencio Marin, Jr., and Fonseca in favour of a Musa return, while Espat, Hyde and Briceño were against it.

However, the National Executive today, minus Espat, Hyde, Briceño and standard bearers Oscar Sabido (Cayo West) and Joseph Mahmud (Cayo North), ratified Musa and his name will be given to Governor General Sir Colville Young for appointment for this Friday’s House meeting only. Musa was leader of the Opposition between November of 1996, shortly after succeeding George Price as party leader, and August of 1998, when he became Prime Minister following a landslide PUP victory at the polls.

Chairman Usher confirmed during Wednesday evening’s press briefing that Sir Colville has made contact with Opposition parliamentarians to find out where they stand. It will be his task to appoint the person that, according to the Constitution, commands majority support among the PUP caucus.

A meeting of the House of Representatives has been called for Friday, October 21, ostensibly for a second reading of the Belize Constitution (Ninth Amendment) Bill, 2011, subsequent to consultations with the general public that concluded earlier this month.

After today’s meeting, Fonseca addressed the press outside Independence Hall. He noted that his “difficult, personal” and “long, hard, thought-out” decision was made “just last evening,” and that he feels now, as he did when he first ran in 2008, that he has contributions to make to the party, and that what apparently turned the tide was calls from unidentified members of the family of the late Price, who asked him to “step up”.

Fonseca readily admitted that his new task will not be easy, but insisted that he is now prepared to do the job of convincing the electorate that the PUP is a credible alternative to the UDP in government, with the support of the Executive and standard bearers. He added further that he will be supported by Briceño (who was represented at the meeting by his brother Jaime) and hopes for the support of Espat and Hyde.

According to Fonseca, in speaking with Espat up to the time of the Albert area rep’s decision not to contest the nomination, Espat was prepared to support Fonseca, should he want the post.

Fonseca noted that he had taken himself out of consideration for the position of Interim Leader, and felt that Espat represented the best option, but since he, Espat, has made his decision, the party would move on, and he would work with Espat and the rest of the party.

Fonseca said that a plan will be prepared “in the coming weeks” at the leadership level to review and correct the party’s finances, and he wished immediately to assure the public that that will be done “in a way that does not compromise the fundamental principles of the People’s United Party; there is no going back on that.”

Possible changes in the Executive will also be discussed by the party in the near future, he stated, but added that he was prepared to work with everybody.

Regarding Musa’s brief return to the post of Leader of the Opposition, Fonseca replied to a question from Amandala that he wished to do things the right way, and would so take up the post only after being endorsed at October 29’s National Party Council, and then endorsed by the party’s supporters at the upcoming convention, which will also see the party launch its 2012 municipal election campaign.

Musa, he said, is the most senior PUP parliamentarian, and the National Executive apparently fully ratified his appointment today.

Hon. Hyde issued the following statement to Amandala late this evening: “The days and weeks ahead will be interesting. I will be looking with great expectancy to see whether the party will be making a return to its social justice roots, where we put the common man and woman at the center of all our efforts. Over the last 20 years or so, we have strayed away from those ideals that made us great for so long; we had become too much for the special interests and not enough for the public’s interests. I’m afraid to contemplate what will happen if we don’t make a hasty return to our roots, to the ideals of the original PUP. It cannot be more of the same, not more of what has cost us at the polls in each election since 2006. And that’s the heavy burden our new leader will carry. I pray for the best.”

He would not comment further when asked why he did not attend today’s National Executive meeting, or whether Fonseca could count on his support.

We finally managed to reach Hon. Espat this evening, and he issued this brief reply to our queries via text message: “I learned of Francis’s endorsement via email this afternoon. Of course, I wish him well and look forward to hearing his plan to free the party from the grip and presence of those responsible for its electoral woes.”

There was no mention of why Espat was absent from today’s meeting.

Amandala


Turmoil ends, new PUP leader chosen

Former Attorney General Francis Fonseca has been unanimously chosen as leader of People’s United Party (PUP) ending a crisis within the 61-year-old political institution.

However, former prime minister Said Musa will act as Leader of the Opposition pending Fonseca’s endorsement at the National Party Council next week Saturday.

“Francis Fonseca said in the meeting that he would prefer for the process to completed, for the endorsement to be finished for him to be the party leader, before he assumes leader of the opposition,” Party Chairman Henry Charles Usher told the media.

“It was then recommended by the national executive that the senior Member of Parliament, the member of Fort George, be the leader of the opposition,”

The party was thrown into a tailspin after John Briceño officially resigned as Opposition Leader Tuesday, two weeks after he stepped down as party leader.

Interim leader Mark Espat said he too would relinquish his post.

On Thursday, Fonseca got the nod by the National Executive after three candidates - Julius Espat, Mike Espat and Arthur Saldivar – withdrew from the race.

Fonseca said he was asked to contest the post by the family of George Price, one of the party’s founding members and the Father of The Nation.

“It was a difficult decision I made to submit my acceptance to the nomination for the post of party leader. It was a long thought out decision but I thought it was in the best interest of the party and I feel as I did years ago when I first offered myself for party leader that I have a contribution to make to the P.U.P. and to the country of Belize,” he explained.

“It won’t be easy,” he said of the challenge ahead.

“A change in leadership does not mean there is suddenly a new wave of support for the PUP. Obviously that is not the case.

“I will have to go out every day as the leader of this party and prove to the Belizean people that we are a credible and viable alternative to the United Democratic Party and I am prepared to do that job with the support of the other thirty representatives of the PUP and the member of the national executive, the member and supporters of the PUP,” Fonseca added.

Caribbean360.com


Francis Fonseca named as PUP leader



Fonseca is to be endorsed as the leader of the People’s United Party. A lot has happened since yesterday, when Chairman of the PUP told the media that they had more than one names vying for the post. We were told those persons were Julius Espat, Arthur Saldivar, and Mike Espat. But today, those men withdrew their candidacy and pledged their full support for Fonseca. The People’s United Party held its national executive meeting at Independence hall in Belize City today where executive members, standard bearers and parliamentarians were in attendance, except for Hon. Mark Espat and Cordel Hyde. After the executive meeting, Chairman of the PUP, Henry Charles, made the announcement about the party’s new leader.

Henry Charles, Chairman, People’s United Party
We received applications, nomination and acceptances from Arthur Saldivar, Julius Espat, Mike Espat and the Hon. Francis Fonseca. Today, at the National Executives and Standard Bearer meeting, those three persons, Julius Espat, Mark Espat and Arthur Saldivar have all told the National Assembly that their candidacies are withdrawn and so that leaves only one candidate for party leader, the Hon. Francis Fonseca. We are keeping to the timeline set by the National Executive last week. We will have a National Party Council on the 29 of October, that’s next week Saturday, at which time we will endorse the Hon. Francis Fonseca as party leader of the People’s Untied Party. A new day is dawning, the People’s United Party is together, we are moving forward and with the Hon. Francis we will deliver a victory for the people of this country.

And as for the leader of the opposition in parliament tomorrow, Usher said that the National Party Council has voted for senior parliamentarian Said Musa to be the leader of opposition in parliament.

Henry Charles, Chairman, People’s United Party

The National Executive has also recommended that the Senior Parliamentarian in the House, the Rt. Hon. Said Musa of Fort George, be the leader of the opposition at tomorrow’s house meeting until the new leader is endorsed at the Party Council next week Saturday.

Juelz Vasquez, Channel 7
But he doesn’t have a simple majority?

Henry Charles, Chairman, People’s United Party

This is a decision that the National Assembly took, the Parliamentarians run on a party ticket, the party has made its decision and that decision will be submitted to the Governor General. It is the Governor General that makes the choice for leader of the opposition.

Juelz Vasquez, Channel 7
Obviously, it is constitutional, so the party can decide anything. The GG will make the final decision.

Henry Charles, Chairman, People’s United Party
The Governor General makes the final decision yes.

Juelz Vasquez, Channel 7
If Francis Fonseca is the Senior Executive and the leader of the party, why not let him ascend to the leader of the opposition? Why would Mr. Musa take that post?

Henry Charles, Chairman, People’s United Party
Francis Fonseca said in the meeting that he would prefer for the process to be completed and for the endorsement to finish for him to be the party leader, before he assumes the post of the leader of the opposition.

Even after Usher made that announcement, reports were still coming in that there will be no leader of opposition in parliament because there is not a majority vote for Musa within the PUP parliamentarians. Three have reportedly voted for Hon. Said Musa and three have voted against his being the leader of opposition in parliament. But, we’ll just have to wait and see.


Francis Fonseca addresses the media

Fonseca says that his decision to take up the challenge as PUP leader was last minute. Reports all around were that factions within the PUP wanted Hon. Francis Fonseca to be leader of the PUP, especially after Mark Espat’s refusal for the leadership. Fonseca told the media today that after numerous calls from the Price family, he decided to take up the challenge. He admitted that it will take a lot of work to bring back integrity to the party.

Francis Fonseca, Leader, People’s United Party
I have to say that what had a tremendous impact on me are the calls from the members of the Price family, I have to say that many of them, the elders of the Price family, called on me to step forward. They felt that it was important that certainly in weeks after Mr. Price’s death that we continue the fight of the Peoples United Party, this party that Mr. Price built and made so great and a party that has contributed tremendously to the development of Belize. They felt that it was important for me to step up; it won’t be easy, you all know that, it will not be easy. A change in leadership does not mean that there is suddenly a new wave of support for the PUP; obviously that is not the case. I will have to go out there every day as the leader of this party and prove to the Belizean people that we are a credible and viable alternative to the United Democratic Party and I am prepared to do that job with the support of the thirty other representatives of the PUP, the members of the National Executive and the members and supporters of the People’s United Party.

Fonseca also told the media that the finance of the party is of concern but it is not in dyer straits as has been reported in the media. He says that even so, a meeting will have to be held immediately to address the issue.

Francis Fonseca, Leader, People’s United Party
Former leader John Briceno was represented here today by his brother Jaime Briceno and Jaime Briceno has indicated on clear terms that himself and his brother John briceno and the Orange Walk Central Committee will fully support my endorsement as party leader. In the case of Senior Deputy Mark Espat and Cordel Hyde, I certainly hope to enjoy their support. In my conversations with Mark and Cordel, primarily with Mark, over the past few days leading up to his own decision, he had expressed to me his confidence in me and his willingness to support me if I decided to take on the leadership of the party.

PUP Chairman Henry Usher had also told the media that reports in the media about the PUP owing hundreds of thousands to a credit union is wrong. He said that the People’s United party does not owe the Holy Redeemer Credit Union.

Henry Usher, Chairman, People’s United Party
We are confident at the National Executive level that we will have a plan in place to be able to campaign and win the Municipal Election next March and move into the General Election whenever that is called. As to what you have been hearing on the television, the party is not in any dire straits and the party does not owe the Holy Redeemer Credit Union any money, please rectify that this evening when you say your news because that is inaccurate.

Juelz Vasquez, Channel 7
But the treasurer of the party does.

Henry Usher, Chairman, People’s United Party
That is a personal account and the treasurer of the party has been a member of the Holy Redeemer Credit Union and like any other member he has the right to borrow money and that is his decision. It was not the party that borrowed money from the Holy Redeemer Credit Union.

Absent from today’s meeting were Hon. John Briceno, Mark Espat and Cordel Hyde. Fonseca says that Jaime Briceno was in attendance and was representing his brother, former PUP leader John Briceno. Fonseca says that the brother has indicated that Fonseca has John Briceno’s support. As for Mark and Cordel, he says that he hopes they support him.

Francis Fonseca, Leader, People’s United Party

That is obviously a very serious issue and it is a real issue and I fully understand and appreciate the concerns that he had; I had them as well, but in times of crisis it is very easy to walk away from the problem, I felt that it was very important for me to step up and be a part of the solution to that problem. We are faced with serious financial difficulties, but I am confident that in the next few weeks we will be able to sit down as a party and determine a way forward in respect to that issue. I can assure the Belizean people that I want to do this from the very outset and we will do so in a way that does not compromise the fundamental principles of the People’s United Party.

Francis Fonseca said that he did not request to be leader of opposition in parliament because he wants the due process to be carried through.



PlusTV


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#419496 - 10/22/11 02:19 PM Re: Francis Will Lead The PUP [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

No Leader of the Opposition for Today’s House meeting

Late this evening, Amandala learned that Governor General Sir Colville Young has decided not to appoint a Leader of the Opposition for tomorrow’s sitting of the House of Representatives in Belmopan.

Former leader of the People’s United Party (PUP), John Briceño, had resigned that post on October 7, 2011, but held on to his title until his return from Mexico City late last week. He formally resigned the latter post in writing to the Governor General on Tuesday of this week.

That occasioned a scramble at the PUP’s headquarters, Independence Hall, which occurred at the same time as the party was accepting nominations for Briceño’s successor as Party Leader.

As reported elsewhere in this newspaper, Freetown area representative Francis Fonseca has emerged as the sole candidate for party leader, but will not take up the post of Leader of the Opposition, at his request, until he is endorsed by the PUP’s National Party Council on October 29 and affirmed by the party’s supporters at an upcoming national convention.

Former PUP leader and Leader of the Opposition, Said Musa, had emerged as a candidate to replace Briceño only for tomorrow’s House sitting.

But opposition developed from former leader Briceño, Albert area representative Mark Espat and Cordel Hyde.

Each man confirmed separately to Amandala their opposition to Musa. With the resulting 3-3 split and with no hope of breaking the deadlock before 10:00 a.m. on Friday, the Governor General decided not to make an appointment at this time. He can only appoint the individual who commands a majority of support on that side, under the Constitution.

It is not exactly the first time that a Leader of the Opposition will not be in the House, but the first time since Independence that there will be no named Leader within the House at a particular sitting.

We were not able to reach the Clerk of the National Assembly at press time to find out how the debate over the controversial Ninth Amendment Bill will be handled, but we have been reliably advised that the lack of a Leader of the Opposition would not affect the debate in any way, and that the sitting would proceed as normal, with all members, Government and Opposition, getting a chance to speak if they wish.

We are told as a matter of opinion that there is no emergency, such as an appointment for which the Prime Minister must consult with the Leader of the Opposition as required by law, which would necessitate the naming of a Leader at tomorrow’s meeting.

One of the opposing parliamentarians, who wished not to be named, has told us that, “Mr. Musa (is) just in a hurry to do the bidding of those whose interests are opposed to the 9th (Amendment Bill).”

We are told that the former Prime Minister and senior attorney failed even to consult with the three opposing parliamentarians before calling Sir Colville to put his name forward.

For the Amendment to pass, 24 of 31 votes are needed. The United Democratic Party (UDP) commands 24 seats in the House at present; Orange Walk East’s Marcel Cardona, the 25th, is no longer affiliated with the party.

Amandala


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