Johnny Briceño back in the race for PUP Party Leader

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 18, No. 13            March 27, 2008

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Johnny Briceño met with San Pedro delegates during his visit on Wednesday

The People’s United Party (PUP) received one of the worse defeat in its 57 years of existence on February 7th General Election. According to political pundits, their loss at the polls can be attributed to the wide public acquisition of corruption by the Musa-Fonseca administration. Shortly after the disappointing results at the polls, defeated Party Leader Right Honorable Said Musa announced his resignation as the PUP Party Leader. At his announcement, three candidates clearly indicated their intension to enter into a bid for Party Leadership. The three included the then Party Chairman and Freetown Area Representative Francis Fonseca, one of the three Deputy Party Leader and Chairman of the Northern Cacaos and Area Representative of Orange Walk Central Johnny Briceño and Albert’s Area Representative Mark Espat. Briceno had previously made an announcement on March 13th that he was stepping out of the race leaving an open race for Mark Espat and Francis Fonseca.

    Following a very tense Central Party Council meeting where several proposals were dismissed by the Central Party Council, Espat also decided to step out of the race. Espat announced his decision in a recorded statement where he criticized the Party of “crowning” and “carving out” Francis Fonseca as the new Party Leader. Following Espat’s statement, the chairman of the Order of Distinguish Services Right Honorable George Price recommended Espat’s expulsion out of the party. That by itself caused political uproar within members of the PUP. That was last week and on Tuesday Briceño said he was back in the race. Rumors broke out over the weekend but an official announcement was made to a pack audience at the Banquitas Square in Orange Walk Town on Tuesday morning.

    On Wednesday, March 26th, Briceño visited San Pedro Ambergris Caye where he met with most of the delegates who will be casting their votes for the convention. In speaking with The San Pedro Sun Briceño said that, “I have been getting calls from all over the country encouraging me to stay in the struggle to take over the Party.” He added that, “I am very concerned of what will happen to this party if we stand and don’t do anything. As I said before, injustice prevails when good men and women do nothing.”

    When asked if it’s a case of flip-flopping, Briceño commented that, “It is beyond that, it has nothing to do with flip-flopping. As I said the easiest thing for me was to stay out. I have already done my share in serving my country my community and this country but I am concern as to what will happen to this country.”

    Briceño said that his message to the delegates of Belize Rural South is one of hope to the people. “My message is one of hope; that there is still hope with in the party. It is one of inclusion within the party and that this party belongs to the 47 thousand plus supporters; one that this party believes in the true philosophy of serving the people.”

    Briceño was accompanied by PUP standard Bearer for Orange Walk South Jose Abelardo Mai and Belize Youth Movement President David Castillo. The convention will take place on Sunday, March 30th, at the George Price Center in Belmopan City.

    Almost 700 delegates will be legible to vote in Sunday’s convention. According to the PUP constitution, for every one hundred votes that a PUP candidate received in the last general elections, the constituency gets one delegate. In addition, each constituency also automatically gets three people to vote; these people consist of the Standard Bearer of the constituency, the Party Chairman in the division and the Party’s campaign manager in the division.
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