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#429736 - 02/06/12 11:36 PM Mark Espat and committee calls it quit
Marty Offline
PRESS RELEASE

The Hon. Mark Espat has notified the PUP Albert Executive Committee that he will not offer himself as a candidate in the upcoming General Elections. Our Committee is aware of the circumstances leading to his decision. While we wished for Mark to continue in publ...ic service, we understand and fully support this difficult choice. Since 1996, our Executive Committee and the Albert Action Committee have worked closely with Mark on multiple endeavors, and especially in securing the Albert Division for the PUP. Our General Election victory in 1998 was the first for the PUP in Albert since 1961, and our three victories in 1998, 2003, and 2008, combined, were by the widest margins of any constituency in the country. Those expressions of confidence by the people in Mark and in our Committees were achieved because of an unyielding commitment to putting people first, and because of an outstanding record of accomplishments in Albert and in the various Cabinet posts in which Mark served.

Our Committee is eternally grateful to the people of Albert for lending us their trust and their cooperation. We are thankful to the wider PUP family, particularly the rank and file. What Party members like us seek and what Belizeans deserve is a Party where donors matter less and merit matters more; where results match rhetoric; and where policies live up to the Party’s creed of service to the people, social justice and a mixed economy.

We express our sincere and lasting appreciation to Mark for his exceptional style of focused, results-oriented and compassionate leadership. At critical junctures, in Government and in Opposition, Mark stood firm in defending the interests of the 99% from the assaults of the 1%, refusing to be bullied into submission. Mark represented the people of Albert and of Belize with distinction. To allow the PUP to proceed in selecting its new Standard Bearer and Constituency Executive Committee, we will advise the Chairman of the Party that our current Committee will stand down with immediate effect. We offer best wishes to the Party’s national and municipal candidates in the upcoming joint elections.

***************************************************************************

PUP ALBERT CONSTITUENCY EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Ms. Alnoye Smith, Chairperson
February 6, 2012

Dear Voters of Albert, After consultation and consideration, I have notified members of the PUP Albert Constituency Executive and Action Committees of my decision not to be a candidate in this General Election. I offer to you my tremendous gratitude and respect for the opportunity to have served as the Representative for the Albert Constituency in the House of Representatives since 1998. To have served you and my country has been a high honor and unique distinction. With your steadfast support, many awesome advances were achieved for residents of the Albert constituency, including jobs and job training, new homes, housing lots, scholarships, new school buildings, centers for culture and the performing arts, upgraded infrastructure, housing repairs, sporting facilities and tournaments, small business and education loans, conflict resolution and counseling programs, among many other initiatives.

Together, we forged a more cooperative, vibrant community rich in renewal and possibilities. Your confidence gave me the chance to serve in Belize’s Cabinet, at various times, as Minister of Tourism and Culture; Minister of Economic and Rural Development, Investment, Enterprise and Youth. With the support of an outstanding cadre of public officers and professionals, we transformed and expanded the tourism sector creating thousands of new jobs and entrepreneurs; new rural water systems, clinics and classrooms were delivered. Electrical grid expansions were completed in many villages; culture and the arts experienced a renaissance; and many programs were adopted for the benefit of the business community, for investors and for our young people.

Most precious to me from this period in electoral politics is the trust and optimism that you and I share — a faith that public service is about the high aspirations, convictions and promise of creating a greater and more just society for all Belizeans, and an unshakeable conviction that country comes before political colors and special interests. I sincerely salute those many supporters who campaigned tirelessly for me and for the causes of justice and change. Their uncommon belief in me and in the possibilities of the future is an inspiration for our times and for our athletic democracy. May a more equitable Belize, free from the manacles of poverty and violence, shape a more enlightened and hopeful future.

With friendship and respect, Mark A. Espat
=====================

from a friend....

Well, Mark Espat is now officially out.

That's another sure seat gone...

And word on the street is that JB and CTS will soon step down as well.

"Old Guard" stink bad dah road ...

Thing is, "people" are not rejecting the PUP, they are rejecting the old guard.

Old Guard is taking the party to extinction. Never thought Ď would see the day..

=======================

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#429738 - 02/06/12 11:48 PM Re: Mark Espat and committee calls it quit [Re: Marty]
SP Daily Offline
The Sinking Ship....

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#429783 - 02/07/12 02:00 PM Re: Mark Espat and committee calls it quit [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Espat Steps Down, Puts Another Sure Seat In Play, PUP Names Replacements

There are only 30 days to go before the double elections in March, but tonight The PUP is recovering from another wounding body blow. Albert Incumbent and three-time PUP representative Mark Espat this morning announced that he will not offer himself as a candidate in the March 7th General Elections.

The announcement came from his Committee which said in a statement that, "While we wished for Mark to continue in public service, we understand and fully support this difficult choice."

The statement echoes the sentiments in Cordel Hyde's release on Friday about the PUP's departure from its social justice roots. It says, quote:

"What Party members like us seek and what Belizeans deserve is a Party where donors matter less and merit matters more; where results match rhetoric; and where policies live up to the Party's creed of service to the people, social justice and a mixed economy." The statement adds that "at critical junctures, in Government and in Opposition, Mark stood firm in defending the interests of the 99% from the assaults of the 1%, refusing to be bullied into submission."

Importantly, it adds that the Albert Committee will stand down with immediate effect. That's important because that means the replacement candidate takes over without any continuity from either the candidate or his committee.

Espat also sent a farewell letter to the voters of Albert saying, quote, "May a more equitable Belize, free from the manacles of poverty and violence, shape a more enlightened and hopeful future." So again, the PUP has lost its hold on a sure seat. Espat had been particularly successful in what once was Phillip Godson's divisions, and conventionally thought to be unchangeably UDP. He racked up record margins of victory in three general elections - and, simply put, made Albert the PUP's surest seat in the country.

But it is not that now, now that seat is in play. But, as party leader Francis Fonseca told reporters on Friday, the party sort of expected it, and all weekend the Party's movers and shakers scrambled to come up with a solid replacement.

They believe they did - and that candidate along with the new one for Lake Independence were sworn in this morning and presented to the media this afternoon. 7news was there as Deputy Leader Carolyn Trench Sandiford bid Hyde and Espat farewell:..

Carolyn Trench Sandiford, PUP Deputy Leader
"We are saddened, of course, by the decision from the gentleman from Albert and Lake Independence in their decision not to contest the upcoming general elections. However it's their personal choice, and as a party we respect that."

Jules Vasquez reporting
But they are moving on… and so All 31 PUP representatives crowded into Independence Hall this afternoon - including 2 newcomers, Yolanda Schakron and David Craig.

Before a boisterous crowd of party supporters and press, the message was clear:

Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the PUP
"We respect their decision and as all of us have said today, we have to move on. It is with absolute pride, it is with absolute enthusiasm that the national executive and the standard bearers of the People's United Party this morning embraced and accepted our new candidates into the fold in the persons of Yolanda Schakron for the Lake Independence division and Mr. David Craig for the Albert Division."

"The PUP Lake Independence Committee has given their full unconditional unwavering support to the candidacy of Yolanda Schakron."

Yolanda Schakron, Lake I Standard Bearer
"I also have the commitment and the support of Mr. Cordel Hyde's committee, and so I am very confident that come March 7 Lake I will be delivered to the People's United Party."

But it is not that simple in the Albert division where the Committee stood down along with Mark Espat.

Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the PUP
"We will have to form a new Albert committee. I am confident, and there are very good people on that committee that are very good, committed members of the People's United Party, and we will certainly reach out to members of that committee. They felt that it was the right thing to do since their standard was standing down, but we will certainly reach out to members of that committee and we will put together a very strong effective PUP Albert Committee to support the candidacy David Craig."

David Craig, PUP Standard Bearer, Albert
"Mr. Espat - the party leader has made very clear - had done a lot of work in that area. That area is PUP and has been PUP. So we stand on the work of that hard working committee and on the work of Mark in bringing the best possible things to everybody in that area."

"I will hit the ground running. This is not even a race. This is going to be a sprint."

But with a month to go before the election, does the party have time to win a sprint?

Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the PUP
"Both David Craig and Yolanda Schakron will once again deliver those seats for the People's United Party."

But the party must face the fact that it faces a unprecedented level of turmoil 30 days before a double election.

Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the PUP
"There has been a lot of noise at the national level, and we have had - as you rightly put it - we have had a turn-over of candidates at a very critical point in the election process, and certainly if we could have avoided that, sure, that would have been great. But is the reality; we have to deal with it. We have to move on."

"The one message for all of us coming out of this turmoil, as you describe it - to use your words - the one message for all of us is that this means we have to work even harder; we have to dig even deeper. We have to put our heads down and make sure that we are going house to house, community to community taking our message of hope to the Belizean people."

And Fonseca says he is not angry with Espat or Hyde:

Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the PUP
"I have to say that I am very grateful to the Hon. Cordel Hyde, he was very gracious. He called me; we had a long conversation on the phone. I think we spoke about 15 minutes about his son's illness and about other issues about the party, about Lake independence. We had a very long cordial, respectful conversation. He sent me a personal letter indicating his intentions. I was grateful for that. None of that has happened with respect to Albert, but everybody has to choose their own way to depart. I hold absolutely no ill feelings; I wish Mr. Mark Espat all the best. He is obviously a very skilled, competent individual."

Jules Vasquez "I see the immediate past leader sitting there. How would you answer the criticism that you undermined him? I remember the October 26 convention."

Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the PUP
Mr. Briceno is here, he can tell you with absolute clarity that at no time did I undermine his leadership. In fact, on every occasion that he called on me to be anywhere with him, on any occasion I spoke on his behalf, I continue to speak very clearly about his term in office."

Jules Vasquez
..................current structure ........ newly elected executive..good faith and appointment

Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the PUP
"You are talking about 2008?"

Jules Vasquez
"November 1, 2010."

Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the PUP
"We had a good constructed meeting."

Hon. John Briceno, Standard Bearer - Orange Walk Central
"Party leader can you allow me please? I want to make absolutely clear that when the Honorable Francis Fonseca did not attend the convention in Dangriga it is simply because he was ill. I spoke to him personally over the phone, and he hardly spoke at that time. It was at no time that he was trying to undermine me or the party."

And that was the prevailing sentiment of the day - to put a good face on an otherwise bad situation

Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the PUP
"I feel very good about where we are now, but I will feel even better on March 7 when the votes are counted and we deliver a victory for the People's United Party."

Reference the Lake I Committee, chairman Cardinal Whylie - who had told us earlier that he was not on board with candidate Schakron because he had not been approached - has now told us he has met with her and the entire committee is willing to work with her. As noted in the story, it's not the same in the Albert division where the entire committee has stepped down. The committee is considered crucial to continuity in any division because essentially they know where the party's strongest supporters are.

So the PUP now moves ahead into uncharted territory: no mass party has ever faced three candidate resignations so close to a general election. That two of those resignations come from senior Parliamentarians in safe seats - is definitely damaging, but, in politics, like Boledo, any number can play.

Channel 7


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#429790 - 02/07/12 02:55 PM Re: Mark Espat and committee calls it quit [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

David Craig replaces Mark Espat

With just about four weeks before the General Elections there is no time to waste and the Leader of the Opposition promptly introduced his candidates to the media. David Craig, a face from the Barry Bowen empire, is known publically for being the corporate face of the Coca Cola Spelling Bee. For a few years he left the group to explore his options in the corporate side of the citrus industry. But after leaving the citrus belt, he returned to Bowen and Bowen. This afternoon Craig told the media that he continues to work for the company, however, he has been given time-off to campaign. But as the Leader of the Opposition pointed out, the first order of business will be to replace the Albert P.U.P. Committee, which has stepped down along with Mark Espat.

Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition

Francis Fonseca

“David Craig, an outstanding member of the business community, an outstanding individual involved in many activities; involved in sports, in mnay other community activities, education projects. An outstanding individual who I am very, very proud to call the new standard bearer for the P.U.P. in the Albert Division. In the case of the Albert division, that Albert P.U.P. committee stood down when Mark Espat stood down as the standard bearer and so we will have to form a new P.U.P. Albert committee. But I am confident and they are very good committed members of the P.U.P. on that committee and we will certainly reach out to them because they may have thought that it was the right thing to do since their standard bearer was standing down. We will reach out to them and we will put together a very strong effective P.U.P. Albert committee to support the candidacy of David Craig.”

David Craig, P.U.P. Standard Bearer, Albert Division

“I am absolutely confident that with the promises that I have from the party to put machinery on the ground to assist me that we can go forward. Mr. Espat, the party leader has made very clear has done a lot of work in that area; that area is P.U.P. and has been P.U.P. for many years. So we stand on the work of that hard working committee and on the work of Mark in bringing the best possible things to everybody in that area. I will hit the ground running; this is not even a race, this is going to be a sprint. I have the support of everybody in here, I have the support of my family; I have the support of my colleagues at work. You will see what will happen.”

David Craig

Jules Vasquez, 7News

“You said that you would not do it at this time because you were pursuing your career interest at Bowen and Bowen. Have you abandoned those interests or differed them or is there an agreement with your employer?”

David Craig

“Jules, the relationship that I have with my employer is a completely private one. But it is important that I will be granted the time to be on the ground, knock on doors, presenting myself to people and asking them the questions: Are they better off now? Are they better off with this government? And I will be asking them for their support for themselves, for god and for the country.”

Channel 5


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#429791 - 02/07/12 02:56 PM Re: Mark Espat and committee calls it quit [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Mark Espat steps down; P.U.P. reacts

Carolyn Trench Sandiford

There is a gigantic shift in the P.U.P. today. If it could be measured on the Richter scale, strong tremors would have been felt in both the Albert and Lake Independence Divisions. Both are considered P.U.P. strongholds and safe seats but Mark Espat has stepped down along with his brother-in-law Cordel Hyde. The latest resignation from Espat jolted the People’s United Party to summon an executive meeting this morning at Independence Hall in Belize City. The Party executive discussed the departure of Hyde on Friday and a letter from Mark Espat’s Albert Committee informing that he too was stepping down. But at a press conference this afternoon, the opposition put up a unified front with all thirty-one standard bearers present. Hyde was replaced by Belizean for Justice’s founding member Yolanda Schakron while businessman, David Craig known for his years of service with the Bowen and Bowen group and also in the citrus industry took over from Espat. The replacements were speedy but it won’t be easy for the new standard bearers to canvass and garner support for the March seventh general elections. Espat’s Albert Committee resigned in full while in Lake I., majority but not one hundred percent supports has been given to Schakron. The press conference started with the Party Chairman, Henry Charles Usher reading a declaration of support from all members of the national executive and the standard bearers for the Leader Francis Fonseca. Fonseca and his Deputy, Carolyn Trench Sandiford addressed the media about the changes to the two P.U.P. strongholds.

Carolyn Trench Sandiford, Deputy Party Leader

“We are saddened of course by the decision of the gentlemen from Albert and Lake Independence in their decision not to contest the upcoming General Elections. However, it’s their personal choice and as a party we respect that. They have given of their time, energy and talents over a number of years in fulfillment of the commitment of this party, to their constituents and to the country.”

Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition

Francis Fonseca

“We had a joint meeting of national executive and standard bearers of the P.U.P. this morning. during that meeting, we received a press release from the P.U.P. Albert committee indicated that honorable Mark Espat will not be contesting the next upcoming General Elections. We discussed that matter in our meeting. We thanked obviously the honorable Mark Espat and the P.U.P. Albert committee for their service to this party and this country. As the deputy leader said; as I indicated in respect o the honorable Cordel Hyde last Friday, we respect the decision of individuals; it is always a difficult decision to make whether or not you enter politics, you remain in politics or if you are going to leave politics and we have to respect the personal decisions that people make. It is not for us to second guess those decisions. Obviously as I have said very clearly and publicly, it would have been great for these individuals to continue to represent the party. They are obviously outstanding area representatives who have delivered resounding victories for the P.U.P. in their respective constituencies over a period of some more than fifteen years. So we respect their decision and as all of us have said today, we have to move on. It’s not in my DNA to harbor any kind of negative feelings. I certainly, I was grateful to the honorable Cordel Hyde, he was very gracious; he called me—we had a long conversation on the phone. I think we spoke about fifteen minutes about his son’s illness, about other issues, about the party, about lake Independence. We had a long, very cordial, respectful conversation. He sent me a personal letter indicating his intentions and I was very grateful for that. None of that has happened with respect to Albert, but everybody has to choose their own way to depart. I hold absolutely no ill-feelings. I wish Mister Mark Espat all the best. He is obviously a very skilled, competent individual. And as I have said, I thank him for his service to the party and my door is always open to Mark Espat.”

Channel 5


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#429792 - 02/07/12 02:57 PM Re: Mark Espat and committee calls it quit [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Albert will no longer listen to Mark’s Gospel

Mark Espat

As the P.U.P. was meeting this morning, Mark Espat confirmed that he won’t be on the P.U.P. ticket for the March Seventh general elections. Espat’s withdrawal like Cordel Hyde’s was anticipated and the hierarchy of the P.U.P. spent the weekend recruiting replacements that were announced this morning. Espat has generally enjoyed a good track record in portfolios as Minister of Tourism and Culture; Minister of Economic and Rural Development, Investment, Enterprise and Youth. And like his brother-in-law, he was fired from Cabinet in 2007. Since then he had generally distanced himself from internal party politics including major political events such as the national convention and for most part from House meetings. Last year, despite the overwhelming support from thirty constituencies, Espat turned down the leadership of the P.U.P. which was then taken up by Fonseca. Subsequently in November, 2011 he was removed as deputy party leader.

There are two statements on his withdrawal. The first is a well crafted one issued by his committee which recalls Espat’s accomplishments since he won his first election in 1998, breaking a U.D.P./N.A.B.R. stronghold. Says the release “What Party members like us seek and what Belizeans deserve is a Party where donors matter less and merit matters more; where results match rhetoric; and where policies live up to the Party’s creed of service to the people, social justice and a mixed economy.” It continues: “At critical junctures, in Government and in Opposition, Mark stood firm in defending the interests of the ninety-nine percent from the assaults of the one percent, refusing to be bullied into submission.”

Espat did not write to the party, but wrote instead to voters in the Albert saying “Most precious to me from this period in electoral politics is the trust and optimism that you and I share — a faith that public service is about the high aspirations, convictions and promise of creating a greater and more just society for all Belizeans, and an unshakeable conviction that country comes before political colors and special interests.” So for Espat and Hyde, it is the end of an era in electoral politics.

Channel 5


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#429898 - 02/08/12 02:35 PM Re: Mark Espat and committee calls it quit [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Cordel, Mark out; Yolanda, David in!


 “The PUP has been in preparation for an early election, and a March 7 election, since December, and with the replacement of Anthony Mahler in Caribbean Shores by Dr. David Hoy now complete, no further shockwaves should hit Independence Hall.” (From headline story, “Barrow rolls the dice March 7!” in Amandala #2585, Sunday, February 5, 2012).

Nevertheless, the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP), in the span of a weekend, has lost two of its most respected and most successful area representatives, in Hon. Cordel Hyde (Lake Independence) and Hon. Mark Espat (Albert).

Today, the party presented the two candidates it hopes will keep those important “safe seats” in the blue column, with just thirty days to the general elections on March 7, 2012.

Hyde, who has served in the House of Representatives since 1998 and is a former Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture, announced his departure from the general election race via press release on Friday, having broken the news on Thursday night to his constituency committee.

In his public statement released on Friday, he revealed that his son, Khalid, was diagnosed in a New York hospital on Monday, January 30, with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a type of cancer affecting white blood cells which manifests itself in low-grade fever, night sweats, unexplained weight loss and back pain, as well as enlargement of the lymph nodes, liver and spleen. It occurs most commonly in young men, aged 15-40, and treatment with chemotherapy and other cancer-specific treatments results in fairly high rates of recovery if detected early.

Hyde also addressed the strained nature of the relationship with his party, readily admitting that “the relationship with my party’s leadership over the years has not been the best.”

He goes on to state that his recent absences from party and parliamentary events (including multiple House meetings and the 2010 budget debate, and all but one general political convention, the one at which he was nominated to run for a third term) were “oftentimes my desperate but sincere attempts at getting the party to see the error of its ways, to return to its social justice roots.

Hyde closed the release by thanking his constituency committee and supporters in Lake Independence. He left the country on Friday, making him unavailable for a further interview.

           

This morning, Hon. Espat’s constituency committee issued a release announcing that they had been notified of the representative’s decision to stand down from being a candidate on March 7, for reasons of which he made them aware, but which they were not prepared to make public.

The release went on to speak of the accomplishments of the area representative, particularly his standing “firm in defending the interests of the 99% from the assaults of the 1%, refusing to be bullied into submission.”

It stated that in respect of the PUP, “What party members like us seek, and what Belizeans deserve, is a party where donors matter less and merit matters more; where results match rhetoric; and where policies live up to the Party’s creed of service to the people, social justice and a mixed economy.”

Hon. Espat, who was elected to the House at the same time as his younger colleague, likewise has not responded to our calls for comment.

This afternoon at Independence Hall, the PUP, after a National Executive meeting this morning, unveiled the rebranded “Team 31” of general elections standard bearers, including Hyde’s and Espat’s replacements.

Yolanda Schakron, businesswoman, president of the NGO, Belizeans for Justice, and aunt of murder victim Christopher Galvez, is entering the race in Lake Independence — the party’s fourth female candidate, while the ruling party has none. She has been a vocal advocate on various recent national issues and had been mentioned as a potential candidate for mayor of Belize City under the PUP, which candidacy is currently held by Karen Bodden.

Schakron spoke briefly when questioned how much she would be relying on the work of her predecessor with such a short time remaining before the elections, stating that as of this afternoon she had the support of nine members of the former constituency committee for Cordel Hyde, and was confident that she, knowing the people of the area and having been on the ground, could deliver the division for the fourth consecutive time.

This evening, the chair of the committee, Cardinal Usher, visited the Amandala compound along with Ms. Schakron and told us that the full committee, including himself, had thrown its support behind Schakron’s candidacy in a meeting about an hour and a half earlier.

David Craig, currently a commercial (sales and marketing) manager at Bowen and Bowen Limited, councilor for the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) and nephew of Rt. Hon. George Price, the party’s most iconic leader, said he would be given time off by his bosses to campaign to defend the Albert division, and acknowledged the work started by his immediate predecessor, Espat, in that regard.

This is not even a race; this will be a sprint,” he confidently declared of his matchup with Herman Longsworth, the UDP candidate.

Party leader Francis Fonseca paid tribute to the work of Espat and Hyde and stated that ill feeling and resentment, particularly at Espat’s sudden departure, “is not in my DNA” with regard to the two ex-representatives (adding that Hyde had called and spoken with him personally on the day he resigned, though Espat has yet to do so).

He added that the party is now ready to move forward in both divisions, which he expects will be returned to the PUP on March 7.

Asked by KREM Radio’s Marisol Amaya to respond to what she called questions “in some quarters” as to whether the recent changes in the party suggest a return to leadership by the so-called “Old Guard” of the party, Fonseca acknowledged that while the PUP’s past administrations have not been “perfect,” “this election is about the future, not the past,” and accused the un-named questioners referred to by Amaya of having “their own agenda.”

This morning’s National Executive meeting also passed a resolution pledging continued support for Fonseca as leader, and approved a draft of the party’s manifesto of plans and projects to be taken on if elected, which is soon to be presented nationally.

Amandala


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