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Aug 3, 2015

P.U.P. Launches National Tour Amid Dissention Within the Grand Old Party

The deep internal rift in the People’s United Party has been dominating the headlines for weeks. But on Sunday, at least for a few hours, the chasm was not as wide when the P.U.P. and its supporters converged for a first leg of a national tour.  P.U.P. leader, Francis Fonseca, says he is taking a five point agenda to the people in their communities. In San Ignacio, Dan Silva, one of three power houses who led a recent revolt challenging the leadership of the party, was present for the event, but has he fallen in line. News Five’s Isani Cayetano has a report.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The People’s United Party, albeit fractured by an ongoing power struggle, has embarked upon a national tour to consult with its wider membership.

 

Francis Fonseca

Francis Fonseca, Party Leader, P.U.P.

“We have gathered here today to listen to you and to hear from you what are your concerns.  What are the challenges you are facing in your daily lives?  What are the challenges facing your community?  The challenges you are facing in your families, in the community that you live.  What are the challenges that you see facing your beautiful country Belize?”

 

Belize’s oldest political organization is at a critical juncture where important decisions need to be made ahead of the upcoming General Elections.  As such, the P.U.P. is aiming to galvanize its supporters by visiting them in their respective communities with a message of unity.  This time however, the party is listening carefully to the concerns of its people.

 

Julius Espat, Deputy Leader, P.U.P.

“It is the start of what we’re going to do throughout the whole country which is consultation.  Anybody can go up there and ask their questions, make a statement and hopefully we can respond in the way that they see fit.”

 

Julius Espat

Reporter

“Talk to us about the spirit of this event, what exactly is to be achieved?”

 

Julius Espat

“Consultation.  That’s what’s to be achieved.  The complaint for all political parties and politicians has been that you don’t consult enough.  So we are taking the tour throughout the whole country and we are concentrating initially in the rural communities that don’t have access to leaders and don’t have access to have contact with them.”

 

It’s a suitable approach that is oddly set against a milieu of internal strife.  Despite the conspicuous absence of the original G12 cabal, the turnout at Sunday’s event in San Ignacio, a multitude of stalwarts from across Cayo District, was notable.

 

Julius Espat

“Well I am not concerned about problems within a party.  A party is a family and you have problems at home, I have at home, and that’s a normal part of life.  It is our responsibility at the end of the day to come together and work as a team.  That we might have differences in opinion that’s a fact, everybody has it but we are not under a dictatorial regime that forces us to come to things that we are not comfortable with.  So that’s the difference in philosophy between the People’s United Party and the present government.”

 

That being said, the party, as it stands, remains a house divided.  On one end are those that are comfortable with the status quo, on the other are at least ten standard bearers and area representatives who are wary of the present leadership.  According to Deputy Leader Julius Espat, a democratic system is in place.

 

 

Julius Espat

“Our constitution is quite clear, the national executive, the party council and the national convention.  They are three separate things, it’s like you’re having the board of directors in a company, you empower them to make decisions on behalf of the company.  We empower the national executive to make decisions ratified at the party council and then we go to a national convention based on those recommendations.  That’s exactly what we have been doing so I’m not bringing it down, at the end of the day no single politician can rule over anybody else, it is the people they represent and it’s their people that will have to decide who they want to become the next prime minister of this country through their area reps.”

 

The pecking order of the People’s United Party, as well as its rank and file, gathered at the Teodocio Ochoa Park for an afternoon of dynamic addresses.  According to Dan Silva, standard bearer for Cayo Central, the event was planned well in advance of the recent dissention to which he has subscribed.

 

Dan Silva

Dan Silva, Standard Bearer, Cayo Central

“This is an event that we planned long before anything and we were part of it and our supporters are here in big numbers to support this rally.”

 

Reporter

“So then what is the next step in terms of dealing with the issues that the twelve politicians originally started with?  Will they keep the issue alive or is it dead?  Has it been quelled by the intervention of the leader?”

 

Dan Silva

“Well, we have gotten a letter from the chairman.  We are analyzing that letter and then we’ll decide what we’ll do.  But now we will be sticking to the points that we have asked for: we want a convention, we want to discuss the issues that our people are talking about, our party needs to discuss issues and we need to restructure our party.  This would give our party a wonderful time for our leader to make the changes that he should be making.”

 

From the podium however, nothing would be mentioned of the squabble by Party Leader Francis Fonseca.  Instead, a majority of the diatribe was centered around the existing state of affairs under the present administration led by Prime Minister Dean Barrow.

 

Francis Fonseca

“The debt of our country, the noose around our necks by this U.D.P. government, he use to like talk ‘bout, yo yer ahn when ih get eena government, ih like talk ‘bout Superbond and all of this.  Well what he has borrowed mek di Superbond look like wahn small lee loan.  The debt that he has grown, now it’s over two point three billion dollars under this U.D.P. government and ih still noh pay fi B.T.L.  Ih still noh pay fi B.E.L.  These are serious matters my brothers and sisters.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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