Richard Harrison will be the PUP's candidate in Cayo North. That's the decision coming out of a meeting of the PUP National Executive this morning in Belize City.

Harrison got the nod after the other prospective candidate Michel Chebat says he stepped aside in the best interest of the party - and after discussion with the party leader.

While other reports we've heard from the Western Caucus depict it as a far more sanguinary exercise - the bottom line is that Harrison - who was considered the underdog - is now the man and now has less than 40 days to pull a campaign together.

Today at a press briefing after the executive met, Party Leader Francis Fonseca explained the decision:..

Hon. Francis Fonseca, Opposition Leader
"The party has engaged in very lengthy and meaningful consultations and discussions in the Cayo District and in Cayo North in particular which led really up to yesterday when the Deputy Party Leader for the west Hon. Julius Espat and myself held several meetings with both of those candidates and at the conclusion of those discussions we made a determination and made a recommendation which was tabled today at the national executive meeting that Mr. Richard Harrison be endorsed as the party's candidate in Cayo North for the upcoming bi-election to be held in January 5th, 2015."

Richard Harrison
"This is a proud moment for me to get this opportunity although I would have hope for a convention - that's what I was calling for from the beginning, an open free and fair convention, but certain things have changed, urgency has been created by things outside of our control, outside the control of our party and we have to agree with the wiser judgment of all our part."

So, now that Harrison has been chosen, a bit of house keeping is in order.

Firstly, he has had some famous business flameouts, which critics say reflects poorly on his ability to manage the political machinery that is needed to win the by-election in Cayo North.

Secondly, if the UDP's Omar Figueroa beats him in January, is there a plan to keep him on as standard bearer, or will the party then have an open convention to decide on the next standard bearer?

Here's how Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca answered those questions:

Daniel Ortiz
"Should Mr. Harrison not deliver at the bi-election, what will take place if Mr. Omar Figueroa should, by some change in circumstances win that seat? Is he going to be endorsed for the next elections or would there be an open convention?"

Hon. Francis Fonseca, Opposition Leader
"You are getting way ahead of yourselves. We have every confidence, as Richard has said, has the chairman has said, we have every confidence that Richard Harrison represents a excellent opportunity for the party to win, retain Cayo North. Our focus is winning on January 5th - that is our focus. There is no plan beyond that."

Daniel Ortiz
"The gentleman Mr. Harrison, we've seen records that he has failed at several ventures and you could make the argument that that could show his track record for management when he is taking on Cayo North. What did you all make of that aspect of his record that he has been a business man that has had failed ventures in the past?"

Hon. Francis Fonseca, Opposition Leader
"Absolutely nothing. Richard has a tremendous track record. He is a thinker, he is an innovator, he is an entrepreneur, he invest in this country and I have great respect for people who are prepared to put their own money, their blood, their sweat, their tears into the land and invest in Belize and he is one of those people."

Richard Harrison
"Please understand even the banks in Belize, if the government of Belize tomorrow changes a policy that dries the profitability of that business, even the banks of Belize will fail."

And, we have one last bit about Harrison's appointment to standard bearer. As we told you last night, he had been agitating on social media for an open convention, no doubt with information that the party was leaning towards choosing Michel Chebat.

As we told you last night, he made a very controversial post on social media saying quote, "they come with their bags full of shillings from the puppet masters…and no interest nor plans to involve the people and represent their best interest…" End quote. As we told you, that was an oblique reference to the PUP, invoking a famous putdown of the old guard during the Musa Administration.

When we asked about it today, Harrison jumped at the opportunity to assert that he wasn't referring to his party. He says that he was challenging the UDP and the way they might try to muscle in their standard bearer by using Petrocaribe money:

Richard Harrison
"If you read what I wrote there, that was directed at the UDP. Their bringing their bags of shillings to Cayo from their puppet masters - that's what they are doing and that is who that statement was directed at because that's the only way they are going to try to win with money and slander and a lot of foolishness - that's the only thing they have. Let them comes to the issues, let discuss them, lets debate them publicly, let the people find out who is the better candidate. Not about little shillings that will run around on election day, but how are we going to change Cayo North for the better in the long term."

Fair enough, but as we told you the "puppet master" reference has been famously associated with former representative Mark Espat to refer to financier Lord Michael Ashcroft. And his other posts referred very directly to un-democratic selection of candidates.

Channel 7