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#506101 - 07/25/15 06:19 AM The Gathering Storm At The Center of The PUP
Marty Offline
There is a gathering storm in the PUP - and it seems headed for party headquarters on Queen Street. On Tuesday, we told you about the apparent boycott of a meeting held for the party's national executive and standard bearers. 13 Area representatives were absent from the meeting - in what we are told was a boycott. Party Leader Francis Fonseca dismissed it, saying that there was nothing remarkable about the absences. Well, 7News has learned that a group of more than a dozen standard bearers who are unhappy with the party's leadership are forming an alliance. Meetings are being held and they include senior party personalities such as John Briceno, Cordel Hyde and Dan Silva. The group of dissenters is expected to make formal demands of the party leadership next week. We'll keep following it closely.

Channel 7

#506206 - 07/28/15 05:48 AM Re: The Gathering Storm At The Center of The PUP [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

The Dozen Dissenters Make Demands Of Francis Fonseca

There's an open rebellion going on in the PUP and it's focused on leader Francis Fonseca. 12 Candidates have signed to a letter asking for a national convention - one that could unseat him as leader of the PUP. That letter was sent to the party chairman Henry Usher today - and it also asks for changes in the composition of the party's executive, and changes in policy-making decisions. But every action has a reaction, and this one has triggered an immediate backlash from the Fonseca faithful within the PUP. They are also making moves to isolate and neutralize the dissenting dozen.

We'll tell you all about it, but we start with the letter. It started to take shape last week after Tuesday's boycott of the meeting Fonseca called with members of the national executive and candidates. As we reported, 13 candidates did not attend that meeting - but even with that, Fonseca denied that there had been a boycott.

But, there was, and the dissenters, led by John Briceno, Dan Silva, Cordel Hyde and Jose Mai started having meetings in Cayo to discuss the broken state of their party and problems with the leadership. That culminated on Friday when one dozen of them signed the letter asking for a new convention which is long overdue.

Today, Cayo central Candidate Dan Silva posed a lengthy explanation on his Facebook page. He says, quote, "40 percent of our standard-bearers met in Cayo on Friday to discuss the state of affairs inside our great party. And we all concluded that something has to happen. We cannot continue as we have, pretending as if though all is well when we know that something is wrong. That something is that the people are not buying what we are presenting to them."

Silva continues, quote, "That has been very clear in three straight elections during the last six months, starting with the Cayo North bye-election in January. The people have been very clear every chance they have gotten. They are not impressed with our party; something is not right with us; we are still vulnerable to the labels of the past."

And with that swipe at the old guard which has become very prominent in this dispute, Silva moves unto business: "All 12 of us who have signed a letter we sent this morning to our party chairman and party leader agree that it is absolutely important that we call an urgent National Convention. It has been almost 5 years since we have gone back to the people in National Convention and that's a very serious violation of our Party's Constitution. It is also a first inside our great party." He adds warily, "what will happen when we are in government if we are prepared to violate our party's constitution like this when we are in Opposition?"

He concludes, grimly, quote, "You cannot ignore and violate the constitution of the party and the constitution of the nation whenever and however you wish....We must set a date for our National Convention at the earliest."

It's an unusually strong and plain-spoken message to put out there in the public - but the dissenting dozen feel they don't have much to lose. First, the PUP continues to be seriously cash strapped, and, as a consequence, many in that dozen are convinced that with the current inertia, the party stands an above average chance of losing the next general election - so, the wisdom is, if defeat is likely, better try something than do nothing.

But, dissent is a bitter pill for the Fonseca leadership to follow. And over the weekend, Fonseca's followers closed ranks - even activating the leader's cousin Ralph Fonseca to rope in those candidates who were being courted by the dissenters.

That effort culminated on Sunday afternoon at 2:00 pm at Dolores Balderamos Garcia's House on the Northern Highway where as many as 20 standard bearers were invited to what we are told is a solidarity meeting for Francis Fonseca. Our information says that Briceno, Hyde and Silva were not invited.

Channel 7

Rebellion in the PUP!

Last week Tuesday, a number of the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) National Executive members and standard bearers boycotted a strategy meeting at the Party’s Independence Hall headquarters. When the media questioned party leader Francis Fonseca, he was quite dismissive of the absences and told the media that nothing was unusual about it.

In speaking about the absentees, Fonseca said: “That happens at many meetings. At many meetings we don’t have full attendance. There is absolutely nothing to be read into that at all about any boycott.”

This morning, the media was again invited to Independence Hall for a press briefing, held by the women leaders of the PUP. While that meeting was going on, however, the PUP Chairman was served with a letter signed by 12 PUP standard bearers who are demanding that the party stop violating its constitution and hold a national convention as soon as possible.

The meeting of the women, sources within the PUP have confirmed, was organized by Ralph Fonseca, who, we are told, made the calls to arrange for the meeting to be held at the home of Hon. Dolores Balderamos Garcia (the PUP’s Belize Rural Central area representative) on Sunday.

Ralph Fonseca, the former PUP Minister of Budget Planning and National Security, who was the party’s National Campaign Manger and who was defeated by the UDP’s Michael Hutchinson, has been under the political radar since his 2008 general election defeat.

At today’s PUP women’s press briefing, all of the women who made presentations spoke glowingly about party leader Francis Fonseca, and expressed their support for his leadership of the party.

In the brief question and answer period which followed their presentations, Dolores Balderamos-Garcia declined to answer any questions about yesterday’s meeting at her home that were put to her by 7News’s Jules Vasquez, whose station had dispatched a camera crew in the vicinity of the meeting.

Lisa Shoman, PUP Leader in the Senate who chaired the meeting, revealed today that a few months ago, the PUP held a meeting and it was agreed that there would be a national convention before the general elections.

The letter that was sent today to the PUP Chairman, Henry Charles Usher, was the product of a meeting that was held on Friday, three days after the 12 standard bearers boycotted the Tuesday meeting.

The PUPs who signed the letter which called for a convention reportedly include Johnny Briceńo, Orange Walk Central; Dan Silva, Cayo Central; Cordel Hyde, Lake Independence; Paul Thompson, Albert; Francis Smith, Pickstock; Gilroy Usher, Port Loyola; Major Lloyd Jones, Belize Rural North; Elip Arceo, Belize Rural South; Josue Carballo, Orange Walk East; Jose Mai, Orange Walk South; Papas Garcia, Corozal Bay; and David Castillo, Corozal North.

After the letter was delivered to Usher, Silva posted a statement on his Facebook page, which appeared to express the sentiments that are shared by his fellow standard bearers who signed the letter.

Silva’s post spoke about the Friday meeting and the position that the group has taken, saying that, “…something has to happen.”

Silva further stated, “…the people are not buying what we are presenting to them…”

“They are not impressed with our party; something is not right with us; we are still vulnerable to the labels of the past,” he remarked.

“All 12 of us who have signed a letter we sent this morning to our party chairman and party leader, agree that it is absolutly important that we call an urgent National Convention,” Silva said.

Silva explained that the PUP have not had a national convention for five years, which is a violation of the party’s constitution. Silva further noted that this extended delay in the holding of a national convention is a first in the PUP, which has always had national conventions every two years in the month of November.

Silva’s post argued that having a national convention “ASAP” is a part of the preparation that is necessary for the party to be in the best possible fighting form whenever Prime Minister Dean Barrow calls general elections.

Up to press time tonight, there has been no response from PUP leader Hon. Francis Fonseca, Freetown area representative.


#506270 - 07/30/15 05:08 AM Re: The Gathering Storm At The Center of The PUP [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

PUP Preserves Status Quo: Fonseca Puts Down Rebellion

Since last week, we’ve been reporting on the PUP’s Rebel 12 – a dozen standard bearers who are unhappy with the state of affair sin the opposition and are calling for a national convention. They put that in a letter to the party chairman on Monday – and, today, Party Leader Francis Fonseca called for a meeting to deal with their demands. But, the 12 were outnumbered by the 19 standard bearers still in the Fonseca Camp, so rather than be drummed down by a super majority of status quo supporters, they boycotted today’s meeting. Well, 10 of them did; two attended, namely Dr. Francis Smith and Major Lloyd Jones. More about that later, but first to the business of today’s three hour meeting at PUP Party Headquarters. When it was done at 5:00 pm, a very relaxed looking leader Francis Fonseca – flanked up by 20 standard bearers said he called the meeting to deal with the issues raised by the dissenting dozen – but they didn’t appear to argue their points:…

Hon. Francis Fonseca - PUP Party Leader

"We immediately convened a meeting today of the national executive and standard bearers in order to fully and properly discuss and address the issues raised therein. All standard bearers and executive members were invited to this meeting and in my view there was a particular and special obligation and duty attached to those who had signed the letter, to be present and to be fully and robustly participating in the discussion and decision making. The absence of any of the signatories to this letter without a legitimately documented excuse will only further erode confidence in their good faith intentions in respect to the important issues raised in their letter."

"The letter from our colleagues was tabled as a priority issue and following a frank, honest and robust discussion, the following decisions were taken. One, a national convention - which we had agreed to from our last joint meeting of standard bearers and the national executive on March 18th. We reaffirmed and confirmed that decision which was taken on March 18th at which we had 28 of our standard bearers present and every single one of them signed off on that agreement and resolution for the holding of a national convention - at the earliest no later than the end of this year and that the post of party leader will not be opened to challenge at that national convention."

Jules Vasquez

"Sir but is there an inconsistency in terms of if the post of leader is not a challengeable post? Isn't that under minding one of the fundamental principles of the PUP, the People's United Party - that anyone can lead the PUP?"

Henry Usher - Chairman, PUP

"None what so ever. The constitution of the party says that the national executive sets policy. National executive, the majority that was here today voted in favour - in fact unanimously voted in favour of a national convention not being contested."

Hon. Francis Fonseca - PUP Party Leader

"I want to make it absolutely clear that I did this both at the last meeting - the joint meeting of the standard bearers and the national executive and today again. I want it to be absolutely clear. I'm not afraid of any convention, I have placed my leadership on the table, it is a matter of these bodies to then determine how best we move forward in the interest of our party. Not anybody else's agenda, not Mr. Barrow's agenda or anybody else's agenda. I have made it absolutely clear to everyone in the party who was here today, that my leadership is on the table, they must determine what is in the best interest of the party. If they had decided that we needed to go to a convention, a contested convention, so be it - that would have been the decision of the party. So I want to make it absolutely clear that no mischief is made, cause I know you mischievous.”

Of course, the only mischief in this case is by Fonseca’ own standard bearers - 30% of them remain alienated from the party with general election imminently on the horizon. So, will the party sanction them for their absence today? Fonseca had hinted at a hardline in earlier public pronouncements but was more circumspect today:…

Jules Vasquez

"Any sanctions that the party decided - will taking any sanctions against these person?"

Henry Usher - Chairman, PUP

"No, none of that has come up today in the meeting. The leader continues to have a good faith relationship with all of the members who signed that letter. There's no erosion of confidence there."

Jules Vasquez

"Sir I see two of the signatories here, Dr. Smith and Major Jones. I know the gentlemen can speak for themselves but with this format, is it that they are recanting, reneging on that signature? Or is it that there is now a common ground between them and the party?"

Henry Usher, Chairman - PUP

"Let me first say, I thank Dr. Smith and Major Jones for coming this afternoon and letting their positions be heard to the other members of the national executive and the other standard bearers. I think it was important for them to come and to let all us of here what their position is and why they put their signature to that letter. I believe as you said, they can answer for themselves - however, they did support the positions taken today, to hold a national convention at the earliest possible date. To hold a uncontested national convention for the party leader and also for the nation wide consultation to begin this Sunday in Cayo."

Jules Vasquez

"Sir and on that Sunday meeting in San Ignacio, in Cayo at the Theodoso Ochoa park I believe. Will there be the involvement of Mr. Silva? Who is considered a grand dean of San Ignacio."

Henry Usher, Chairman - PUP

"Well this is being organised by the western caucus and Dan Silva is a member of the western caucus."

Jules Vasquez

"Do you expect him to attend sir? He didn't attend today."

Henry Usher, Chairman - PUP

"There are a lot of things you expect and not expect Jules, I don't know what will happen on Sunday, but he is a member of the western caucus and we do expect his supporters, him committee to be there and to be assisting in the coordination this weekend.”

So the party goes to Cayo on Sunday for a rally – and we’ll see if San Ignacio General Dan Silva will make himself present. He has criticized the party’s status quo in a facebook post.

For the record, we did speak to Dr. Francis Smith who signed the letter – but went to the meeting and appeared directly behind Fonseca when he spoke. He declined or speak on camera but told us that he spoke candidly at the meeting and does not support a convention without any challenge to the leader. But he said he was outvoted and the majority rules.

Channel 7

#506297 - 07/31/15 05:45 AM Re: The Gathering Storm At The Center of The PUP [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

PUP: Fonseca Won The Battle, But Might He Lose The War?

The PUP's Rebel 12 have all but conceded defeat. Yesterday PUP Leader Francis Fonseca called a meeting of the national executive and the standard bearers where he got support from 66% of the standard bearers and 80% of the executive. In politics, that's called a majority - and that wins everytime. But, while he may have vanquished the rebellion - might it be a pyrrhic victory? We look back briefly at yesterday's events:...

Jules Vasquez reporting
When Dr. Francis Smith walked into PUP Headquarters at Independence Hall yesterday, he went to face a political firing squad - a rebel against the status quo.

While the PUP locked out the media from the vestibule yesterday. We're told the three hour meeting inside was robust and feisty - though the relaxed demeanor of this deputy leader didn't suggest it.

When it was finished leader Francis Fonseca - flanked by 20 standard bearers appeared unusually relaxed - and why not - he had just quashed a rebellion- and the dissidents were absent - too scared to face the super-majority: the absence of any of the good faith intentions

Hon. Francis Fonseca, PUP Leader
"The absence of any of the signatories to this letter without a legitimately documented excuse will only further erode confidence in their good faith intentions."

And after putting them down, Fonseca - without even blinking said that they'd get their convention, but no challenge to the leader.

Henry Usher, Chairman - PUP
"We have not had a national convention since 2010, but we will have it as soon as possible date. We don't have a fix date but we will have one in the near future."

Hon. Francis Fonseca, PUP Leader
"And that the post of party leader will not be open to challenge at that national convention."

And while Fonseca will remain unchallenged - what does the decision mean for the PUP's electability and the public perception of the party? And while these 21 stood shoulder to shoulder today, the question is how long can Fonseca keep a third of his candidates alienated - especially leading personalities from the North, Central and West? Time will answer these questions, but it must do so quickly for the PUP - because elections are coming - and time is a luxury they do not have.

Channel 7


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