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Jun 5, 2018

P.U.P. Leader Hits Andrews, Saldivar for Commitment to Party

Arthur Saldivar & Patrick Andrews

Leader of the Opposition People’s United Party, John Briceño, today hosted a press briefing at Independence Hall covering a multitude of national issues. But the party is presently experiencing some internal turmoil over its ongoing vetting process for candidates to contest the upcoming general elections. In Belmopan, three candidates are vying, but two more well-known contestants, past standard bearer Patrick Andrews of Belmopan and former Belize Rural North standard bearer and native Belmopanese Arthur Saldivar, have been ruled out. According to Briceño, the question the party could not get an answer from either man on is what they had done in the interest of the party. Andrews had abandoned the party after the 2015 election, while Saldivar was suspended two years earlier. That suspension was lifted, but he is now on probation as to his conduct in the party. In response to the particularly tough charges from Saldivar that he has not been a good party leader and that Saldivar was frozen out for not supporting Briceño in his challenge for party leader two years ago, Briceño said that while there were many who did not support him then, he has no hard feelings.

 

John Briceño

John Briceño, Leader, P.U.P.

“The recommendations have been, when it comes to Mr. Andrews is that they believe he needs to do more work for the party. After the elections, Mr. Andrews, for whatever reason, decided to leave the country, and then just came back just before a convention. And if he was so interested in the work of the party and wanting to promote the work of the party, he should have stayed here and worked with the local executive in Belmopan. And that is the main – one of the reasons that he was not recommended. As for Mr. Saldivar, the vetting committee brought to our attention that in 2015, Mr. Saldivar was suspended from the party, and as such, they had no authority to review his application. That application was sent directly to the National Executive, and we agreed that we can remove the suspension. But we want to give him a probationary period of two years to see what kind of work he does for the party, how engaged he is and how he is working in the party and in his community. And so in two years’ time, if we believe that he has met all that we have asked of him, then he is welcome to run anywhere in this party, including for the leader of the party.”

 

Reporter

“Can you assure us that there was no sort of victimization?”

 

John Briceño

“There is absolutely no truth to that, for that matter. For those who know me, I don’t hold grudges; if he supported me or not, there’s no hard feelings. We had Honorable Mike Espat, Honorable Kareem [Musa], Julius Espat – I could give you a list of people who did not support me, and we have been working [together]. [Ramon] “Monchi” Cervantes from Orange Walk Town, from Orange Walk North – who is from my hometown and did not support me, and I have been supporting him all the time. And even after that, I said that he should be the man that can defeat and will defeat Gaspar Vega should he decide [to run again]. So it’s not personal, it’s a decision that the O.D.S. have made to the Executive, and the Executive accepted their recommendations.”

 

Briceño later added that neither man is permanently barred from running for the P.U.P. again.

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