With municipal elections due in 2012 and general elections by 2013, the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) doesn’t have a lot of time to make itself “battle ready,” and tonight we can confirm that on the heels of the shakeup in the party’s leadership last month, another major executive change has taken place—and more executive changes are expected to be announced over the next week or two.
Former minister and senator, Eamon Courtenay, SC, has resigned as the Opposition People’s United Party’s national campaign manager, and as one of three Opposition Senators in the National Assembly, leaving a political and a legislative vacancy.
Courtenay, as well as Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca, confirmed this to Amandala today.
For his part, Courtenay told our newspaper that he resigned last Friday because he believes that with a new party leader now in place, and the fact that he was appointed by the previous leader, Johnny Briceño, who resigned last month, Fonseca should get the opportunity to choose who he wants for the posts.
Courtenay said that Fonseca did reply to his letter the following day—but only to say, thank you.
Amid turmoil under the Musa administration, Courtenay had twice resigned his Senate and ministerial posts, in 2004 and again in 2007.
Courtenay—a former member of the G-7, which had collectively resigned from Said Musa’s Cabinet over public spending issues—was Leader of Government Business in the Senate, and Attorney General and Minister of Investment and Foreign Trade from 2003 to 2004; and Senator and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade from 2006 to 2007.
In February 2008, with Musa’s resignation as party leader, Courtenay was picked to replace long-time PUP national campaign manager Ralph Fonseca, who had held that post since the 1980s.
Amandala sources say that Julius Espat, the current party treasurer, a Musa-Fonseca ally, is Courtenay’s intended successor. We understand that Courtenay had learned prior to his resignation that Espat had been put as the head of a newly constituted campaign committee, without his prior knowledge.
PUP Party leader Francis Fonseca told us, though, that even when Briceño was still leader, Courtenay had expressed concerns that he did not have the time to serve as national campaign manager.
When we asked Fonseca about Courtenay’s replacement today, he told us that he is not ready to make that recommendation public—not until after a national party council meeting due next week.
Courtenay’s move may have been a preemptive one. Fonseca said that he will make a recommendation for Courtenay’s replacement at next week’s meeting—at which point the entire executive leadership will be assessed.
Amandala understands that Senator and attorney Lisa Shoman is billed to replace Narda Garcia as the PUP’s national communications director.
There are over 30 positions listed on the PUP executive on the party’s website, and reports are that a number of persons may be proposed for replacement.
As for who will occupy the seat of Senator to replace Courtenay, Fonseca told us that this is ultimately a decision for him, as the Leader of the Opposition.
He told us that the public would be informed shortly thereafter of the proposed members.
Asked if he would consider accepting a future executive appointment with the PUP, Courtenay was reluctant to reply, and only said, he would be just watching.