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#512287 - 03/10/16 03:57 AM Will Deputy Prime Minister Step Down From His Post?
Marty Offline

Gaspar Vega will be stepping down as Deputy Prime Minister…..no longer wants to be the Deputy Party Leader of the United Democratic Party and he will not be seeking reelection as Area Representative for Orange Walk North in the next General Elections. Those are the unconfirmed reports coming out of the UDP camp tonight. Reports are that Vega made his decision known to the Prime Minister via a letter sent today. We understand that Vega has not been happy with his party since his portfolio was changed from Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment to Minister of Agriculture. Vegas former portfolio was awarded to Minister Godwin Hulse. It is not known what step the party will take next since Vega was to be endorsed as First Deputy Party Leader in the UDP’s upcoming convention set for March 20.

We understand that in the letter Vega did mention to the P.M that he is committed to working with his successor to ensure a smooth transition and maintained his support for his UDP. It is also uncertain whether Vega will be stripped from his position as Deputy Prime Minister.




Reports to our news center are that Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega has sent a letter to the Prime Minister indicating that he will no longer serve as the Party’s Deputy Party Leader. In his letter Vega also indicated that he will not seek re-election as area representative for Orange Walk North. He has committed to working with his successor to ensure a smooth transition and maintained his support for his UDP. It is anyone’s guess what will happen next as it is uncertain whether Vega will be stripped of the post of Deputy Prime Minister. Also of note is that the convention scheduled for Sunday March 20 would have been an endorsement of Vega as there were no challenges to his post as first deputy party leader. Will this move force the party to accept candidates to fill the post or will the post be filled by the second deputy Party Leader, Erwin Contreras? We will continue to follow this story...


#512305 - 03/10/16 01:11 PM Re: Will Deputy Prime Minister Step Down From His Post? [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

UDP confirms Vega resignation

The United Democratic Party confirms that First Deputy Party Leader Hon Gaspar Vega has, by letter dated March 8, 2016, informed the Party of his decision not to stand again for his Orange Walk North seat in the next General Elections. Hon Vega has also said that in view of this early notification of his retirement from electoral politics at the end of the current term, he feels it is right that he not continue as First Deputy Party Leader of the UDP.

Accordingly, he is no longer prepared to accept the four year endorsement as First Deputy, which endorsement would have been done at, and with effect from, the UDP Convention on March 20, 2016. In the result, the March 20 Convention will now proceed only to endorse, for the next four years, the Party Leader Rt Hon Dean Barrow; the Second Deputy Leader, Hon Erwin Contreras; the Party Chairman Alberto August; and the Deputy Party Chair Fern Gutierrez. The National Party Council of the UDP will meet shortly after the March 20 Convention to decide on the procedure and timing for a special election to choose the new First Deputy Party Leader to succeed Hon Vega.

Hon Vega has made clear that he will continue to "faithfully serve the United Democratic Party and will do whatever....in the interest of the betterment of the party". He also "will work arduously with my successor to ensure another victory for the great constituency of Orange Walk North". The United Democratic Party expresses its profound gratitude to Hon Vega for his long and successful tenure as First Deputy Leader. No one worked harder, especially in the North, to achieve the record electoral successes of the UDP, and Hon Vega is worthy of great praise and thanks.

The UDP points out that Hon Vega's decision regarding his tenure as First Deputy Party Leader, has nothing to do with his position as a Minister of Government. He therefore remains in the Cabinet of Belize.

#512307 - 03/10/16 01:40 PM Re: Will Deputy Prime Minister Step Down From His Post? [Re: Marty]
Katie Valk Offline
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#512312 - 03/11/16 05:39 AM Re: Will Deputy Prime Minister Step Down From His Post? [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Vega’s Vamoose Leaves Vacuum in UDP Executive

It's official, Gaspar Vega has resigned as Deputy Leader of the UDP - and with that he is expected to be replaced as Deputy Prime Minister.

Those are the broad strokes of a political story that caught everyone off guard yesterday. At first, there were suggestions that Vega could be making the first move to break up the Barrow Cabinet, but tonight we can report that he is simply walking away, not leading a rebellion.

7news has obtained a copy of his resignation letter to the UDP. Dated Tuesday, March 8th. and addressed to the party chairman, it thanks the party for letting him serve as Deputy Leader for the the last 8 years. It continues, quote, "this opportunity ultimately elevated me to the position of Deputy Prime Minister...for which the most gratifying accomplishment was the successful renegotiation of the Petrocaribe agreement...."

He then gets on to the meat of the letter, continuing, quote, "I will not contest the position of area representative of Orange Walk North in the next general election." We note that Vega is a three-term representative - and his seat was considered the safest for the UDP in the north - and it is now in play. His letter goes on, quote, "It has been established that the party is...not having another biennial for another four years; because...I will not be a candidate n the next general election, I am convinced that the proper thing to do is to withdraw my application for Deputy Party Leader in the upcoming biennial convention to be held on March 20, 2016." So less than two weeks before the convention, the Deputy Party Leader resigns, putting the party's second most senior seat up for grabs. We'll tell you more about that hotly contested race in a second.

Vega continues, "I will continue to faithfully serve the UDP and will do whatever is asked of me in the interest of the betterment of the party. I will also work arduously with my successor to ensure another victory (in) Orange Walk North."

And following up on that "grace note", Vega concludes, quote, "I remain a proud member of our great UDP."

The letter is only copied to Party Leader Dean Barrow - it was not addressed to him and we are told by multiple sources that Vega would not even take the Prime Minister's calls after he got the letter. The Prime Minster in the end had to send an emissary directly to engage Vega. And when he did, Vega - our sources say - told the Prime Minister that he was frustrated and felt he had been disrespected. As has been widely reported, Vega was stripped of the powerful Ministry of Natural Resources after the general elections in November, 2015. At the time here's how the Prime Minister explained it:

FILE: November 9th, 2015
Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow

"From before the elections, the Deputy Prime Minister and I has spoken. He had actually asked me to be relieve of the Lands Ministry."

Hon. Gaspar Vega, Deputy Prime Minister
"I don't know Jules. Mixed emotions that that lands department has really put a toll on me. I think it has cheated me."

Jules Vasquez
"Now, have you indicated to the Prime Minister that....?"

Hon. Gaspar Vega, Deputy Prime Minister
"Yes, because at times it was just too much with the colleagues and the peer pressure of the colleagues wanting to deliver more and more and the public and then yet everybody watching at you like a hawk. So, it gets to you and there was a time that I said, you know PM, you can have this Lands Department."

But reports say that the demotion to the relatively slight Ministry of Agriculture continued to bother Vega - and as one senior parliamentarian put it to us today, he had a bad case of "macobi" for the Ministry of Natural Resources.

Vega's sudden departure leaves an immediate vacuum in the second most powerful seat in the UDP. And it also throws a wrench into the works for the party's upcoming March 20th convention. The party sent a release today saying that the convention will have to leave Vega's first deputy spot vacant - and a special convention will be held later in the year to elect a new deputy. Inside sources say that Security Minister John Saldivar is definitely interested in the job. Patrick Faber also told us he is, quote, "most definitely" interested.

And while Saldivar and Faber load up what is sure to be a hotly contested campaign, for the time being Vega hasn't gone anywhere; he's still a member of cabinet and still the deputy Prime Minister. That new Deputy Leader of the Party - whoever that is - would likely be promoted to Deputy Prime Minister - but, again, that's not happening till the middle of the year.

For now, though, Vega's departure certainly weakens the UDP because he was a major source of campaign funding for many seats, not only in the north but also in Cayo and Belize Rural.

Channel 7

#512397 - 03/15/16 05:56 AM Re: Will Deputy Prime Minister Step Down From His Post? [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Hon. Heredia Jr Discusses Vega’s Intended Exit

So, how do Gaspar Vega's colleagues feel about his unexpected exit? Over the weekend we spoke to Manuel Heredia Jr, who has a history of opposing Vega, once when Vega ran for deputy, and twice when he supported political opponent of Pablo Marin, who was backed by Vega. But when we spoke to Heredia about Vega he showed sympathy for his political colleague. He did concede that, like everyone else, he was surprised by Vega's departure.

Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism
"To me yes, because I know we are united and so, but again, I respect Mr. Vega's decision. It was a shock because I didn't expect anything to happen soon until probably when it is time to elect another leader."

"Are you sugesting that this unity is on the horizon?"

Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism
"Not really, because If I decide for some reason it can be health wise, it can be because family wise and so. We have a right to decide what to do with our lives and our future."

Emanuel Pech
"Do you see it as a betrayal to the UDP, since he was so good in his jurisdiction? He brought 5 of 8 seats in Orange Walk."

Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism
"I don't think it's a betrayal. Like is said, he has served 3 terms already and I believe he feels that he have his own personal business. He feels that probably it's time to go in is private business. I will accept and I will be supporting him in whatever he does. We are a team and as a team whatever decision each person reach, we have to respect it."

And as with all these high level changes within the political tide, there are several rumors that start cropping up. One of them is that Vega is leading the UDP version of a G7 to exact revenge on the leadership that stripped him of his Ministerial powers. We asked Heredia about this.

Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism
"Let me tell you something, that will never happen with the UDP. Not this party under the leadership of the Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow. That G1, G2 or G3 will never ever happen."

"Do you hear anything about that?"

Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism
"I have not heard and it will never happen."

Of course the internal dynamics within the UDP are now swirling and the race for first deputy got a lot more complicated when Erwin Contreras made it official that he is interested in the first deputy post. As the second deputy with more than a decade in that post he has seniority. More than that he is mestizo so it would preserve the racial balance in the leadership tandem. But whether his appearance will be enough to make Patrick Faber and John Saldivar stand down and save the party a bloodbath is left to be seen.

Channel 7

What does Manny H Have to Say About Gapi's Resignation

#512603 - 03/24/16 04:42 PM Re: Will Deputy Prime Minister Step Down From His Post? [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Vega Says Blame Monchi, Not Barrow

Finally, tonight, 15 days after he penned an unexpected letter of resignation as UDP Deputy Leader, Gaspar Vega spoke to the press. The media caught him outside the House Meeting in Belmopan where he had just supported the Barrow Budget and spoken up for his constituency of Orange Walk North. You’ll hear those remarks later, but first to the burning question: why did he resign?. Here’s his explanation:

Mike Rudon - Channel 5 News

"Let's start first of all with the thought that went into your decision to resign as first deputy leader."

Hon. Gaspar Vega - Former UDP Deputy Party Leader

"A long thought difficult decision, one of the most difficult ones I've done in my life but I knew that I would never be area representative forever, the time had to come. I thought that it was the best thing to do so that I could give the people of Belize both most importantly the people in Orange Walk North; those that whole heartedly supported me to give them enough time so that together we can search for the most appropriate candidate to take over my position. I think it would have been and it’s not within my character to mislead the people that I'll be running next general election and 6 months prior to elections; so I thought this was the most appropriate and most decent and mature thing to do."

"My political life has put a toll on my life, on my family's life; especially my wife, my kids and the last year and a half has been really difficult for us. You know with this stupidity of the charge that they made on my character and it was really rough, a lot of people I don't think realise how bad it is, it's just that I'm not a cry baby and I try to handle things the in the most mature manner."

Mike Rudon - Channel 5 News

"There is some speculation of course that it had something to do with lands, it was the obvious thought that came to everybody that had to do with sour grapes. The prime minister took away lands and gave it to Godwin Hulse, could you speak to that?"

Hon. Gaspar Vega - Former UDP Deputy Party Leader

"Whatever I say, it will create other speculations so I rather say that what I put on the letter was the essence of what I meant."

Daniel Ortiz

"You didn't give a direct response and so it leaves room for interpretation, can you just address it directly sir so that there is no doubt as to if that played a roll or not in your decision to step down."

Hon. Gaspar Vega - Former UDP Deputy Party Leader

"You know it's so funny, you guys always pick what you want. I said it clear, the most important factor for my decision was the last year and a half that I've lived as a politician and in truth that is the reason. I have a young family, I have two kids, one is 15 and one is 13. I haven't been spending time with my kids for how long and I'm going to continue, it's not like I'm leaving my people, I am going to continue working for them, I'm going to continue delivering for them."

Just before he granted that interview in the house, Vega declared his support for the 2016-2017 budget. At the end of the presentation, he took the opportunity to thank the voters of Orange Walk North for allowing him to represent them for the last eight years.

Hon. Gaspar Vega - Former UDP Deputy Party Leader

"I will also Mister Speaker like to ask to say a few words to the people in Orange Walk North. I know some of them are saddening by my decision. Some of them understand but I want to tell the people of Orange Walk North that I am not abandoning them. I will be working for them for the next 4 years or the rest of this term and I will do as much as I've done in the past 8 years. I will ensure that the school in San Luis is built; I will continue lobbying for a water system for San Pablo. Continue lobbying for a school in Santa Cruz and I will do everything within my power to ensure that Orange Walk North never again makes that mistake of electing a PUP representative."

"I want to thank the people or Orange Walk North, the people that have allowed me in their homes. Quiero dar gracias a las San Jose, de San Pablo, de San Juan, de Douglas, de San Luis, de San Roman, de San Antonio, de Santa Cruz, Otro Benque, de Trail Farm, de Corazon, gracias por la abrir sus casas, su lugares para mi. I will forever be greatful to the great people of Orange Walk North for the opportunity that they have given me in representing them. I sincerely believe that I did a very good in job in representing them and I wouldn't want to cheat them to stay just because I want power. I cannot deliver what I think I should then it's time for a younger person or someone else more vibrant with more energy that I had maybe 10 years ago; that's what we want."

And while that was the most anticipated presentation of the day – there was a lot of sparring across the house floor – and we’ll have all that for you later on in the news

Channel 7


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