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May 30, 2018

The Belmopan P.U.P. Race in Turmoil: Arthur Saldivar, Patrick Andrews Out

A series of contested conventions for the People’s United Party standard bearers are turning out to be thorny.  Of five persons, two candidates have been disqualified from putting their names on the P.U.P. ticket in the upcoming convention for the Belmopan division. Patrick Andrews who had relocated overseas and then returned to Belize, as well as Arthur Saldivar, who was on suspension from the party, was turned down from running.  The decision was taken by a vetting committee of the P.U.P., which found that both political aspirants did not make the cut. Andrews and Saldivar are now openly lashing out at the P.U.P. leadership. News Five’s Andrea Polanco reports.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Five persons submitted applications to contest the P.U.P. Convention in Belmopan in July. Those persons are Arthur Saldivar, Michele Rodriguez, Oscar Mira, Patrick Andrews and Weizsman Pat. But Saldivar and Andrews were rejected. Andrews, who has served as the previous PUP standard bearer and Senator, was taken aback by the Party’s decision.

 

Patrick Andrews

Patrick Andrews, Disqualified

“Of course, it came as a shock to me because I don’t have a criminal record. I have thief anybody’s money. I have not smuggled no money to no other country and so it came as a shock because I knew that I had applied in 2013-2014 and I was accepted. I know that I am not the first one to reapply again to contest a second election. So, I was hoping for a fair opportunity.”

 

But Andrews was denied that opportunity when his application was rejected. He explains the grounds of that rejection – and goes on to point out that there may be victimization in the P.U.P. – which he lays squarely on the shoulders of the Party Leader.

 

John Saldivar

Patrick Andrews

“It’s a very frivolous matter because what they are saying is that after the elections I had abandoned the party. This is true. I was out of the country for six to seven months. I couldn’t find a job in this country. As a P.U.P. personality, everybody knew me and I couldn’t find a job. So, I left the country for that period of time.  The only logical reason, the only grounds that Johnny Briceño could have said, ‘ I won’t allow you to run for the P.U.P. Patrick  is because you didn’t support me in my bid for the leadership of the P.U.P. and you supported Francis and because of that I won’t allow you to run. And that is the only logical reason. It is very hurtful to be honest. As a P.U.P., you expect to be victimized by the U.D.P. Government, but when your own party victimize you or treat you like this, it is a very hurtful thing. But I believe in the philosophy of the P.U.P. and I still believe that the P.U.P. is the best alternative in this country and I think we need a change. I will continue supporting the P.U.P. and yes the grievances and wrongs done to me is not a nice feeling and I am disappointed.”

 

According to Andrews, the P.U.P. has all but declared its winner. He says the process is set up to ensure that Oscar Mira wins – Mira, according to Andrews, appears to be Briceño’s pick for the Belmopan seat.

 

Patrick Andrews

“It is no secret that Mister Moises Cal has been going around Belmopan long time telling our campaigners that Johnny Briceño wants Oscar Mira to run in Belmopan. But Oscar Mira run in a convention against me and he barely got a little over two hundred votes the last time. I beat him over six hundred votes the last time in the convention. He ran two months ago for the chairman for the P.U.P. in the Belmopan and he couldn’t win that. That is after Johnny Briceño made him the head of the steering committee for the municipal election. So, clearly they are pushing somebody that has lost a previous convention and I mean it was only nine people for the voting body of the executive and for him to run after being appointed by Johnny in Belmopan and to lose that speaks volumes. Honestly, as me and Mister Saldivar have our differences. I could tell you that this upcoming convention would have been between me and Arthur. Oscar Mira had no chance of winning this convention and that is why I believe they took out the two strongest candidates to favour their chosen individual.”

 

And what did Oscar Mira have to say to these claims? He denies being the “chosen one”. He says he has put in the work and followed the process.

 

Oscar Mira, P.U.P. Aspirant, Belmopan Standard Bearer

“I didn’t know that I was the chosen one. But if he knows that I make no apologies. My work says it all. I have been working here for the party since I retired from the B.D.F.  During the municipal elections, I was the chairman for the steering committee in Belmopan. I have worked tirelessly for this party, not only myself but my younger brother as well. So, we have contributed tremendously to Belmopan and we have contributed to this party.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, you don’t see in any way that the Party is favouring you over your opponents?”

 

Oscar Mira

Oscar Mira

“No. I don’t. Actually, when I decided to run, I put in my application just as the others. There is a process. There are people of integrity who comprise the vetting committee. They made a decision. They made a recommendation and it was later ratified by the national executive. In all their wisdom, they decided, not as a one-man show, that I am able to run for the P.U.P.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Do you think you can unseat John Saldivar here in Belmopan?”

 

Oscar Mira

“If I did not believe I have what it takes to unseat John Saldivar in Belmopan, I would not have put in my name and I would not be contesting this convention.”

 

So, in July Oscar Mira, Michele Rodriguez and Wiezsman Pat will face off in the P.U.P. convention. The winner will then challenge the U.D.P.’s incumbent John Saldivar in the next General Elections. Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

 

Andrews, who lost to Belmopan area rep John Saldivar in the 2015 General Elections, says he is meeting with his team to figure out any next possible steps, but remains committed to the P.U.P.

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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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1 Response for “The Belmopan P.U.P. Race in Turmoil: Arthur Saldivar, Patrick Andrews Out”

  1. Stephen Sweasy says:

    What a shame Jonny need to stop and let the people choose, there is no need to start a division amomg the party be a leader and not a boss let the people choose. Any PUP should run and Patrick is right he can not stay here without money he seek job outside and he have a family not all of us have money to kick back and wait five years for a job. All the party is doing now is making noise so that others see the stupid fight among the party. A leader need to listen to the people and let a democratic process take place.

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