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Mar 28, 2008

P.U.P. leadership candidate confident of victory

Story PictureOn Sunday six hundred and fifty-three delegates of the People’s United Party will gather at the Belmopan Civic Centre to elect a new leader. The campaign has been a rollercoaster ride as initially three men offered themselves as candidates: Freetown Area Representative Francis Fonseca, Albert’s Mark Espat and John Briceño from Orange Walk Central. But after a motion to expand the delegate list failed at a meeting of the National Party Executive, both Espat and Briceño dropped out of the race. Then late last week Briceño had a change of heart and once again announced he would contest the election. But this afternoon as Briceño took time out from canvassing for votes, he made it clear the issue of who he is campaigning to is still a sticking point.

Johnny Briceño, P.U.P. Leadership Candidate
“We cannot get the final list. We still hear about certain constituencies where they are constantly trying to revise the list and we had agree in several meetings that we had that at the very latest we would have had the final list by midday today, Friday and we still can’t get it as yet.”

Janelle Chanona
“You feel this is deliberate?”

Johnny Briceño
“Certainly, because for instance, in Stann Creek West we got a copy of a list and finally we got that list yesterday late in the evening. We have had people visiting some of these persons that were suppose to be delegates and we’re starting to get some support. Now we’re told by one of the people campaigning in there that the chairman had sad that’s a different list, that they have decided to change the list again and that is totally wrong and that is contrary to what has been agreed before.”

Janelle Chanona
“John looking ahead to Sunday, which will come whether you have the list or not, what do you think, you hope would stand out above everything else that is happening about you that will make people want to vote for you?”

John Briceño
“Well, at the end of the day people want change. People want that leader that is prepared to unite this party, that can come with a clear vision as to how is it that we are going to move this party forward, how we can get this party ready to win elections. I believe that under my leadership we will be able to do that. and to remove the whole issue about where the party has been to citicentric, where we look at the decision making process through a Belize City eyes but one that can take a national look from outside, not only Belize City but also to include the districts.”

Janelle Chanona
“I think looking at the internal campaign within the P.U.P., some people might say that you are actually—the anti-Francis Fonseca ads for example, might actually be arming the U.D.P. with ads in the next election. Are you satisfied with the way things have been going, is that, how is that playing out for you?”

John Briceño
“I think I need to make something very clear. Myself nor any of my supporters have anything to do with that negative ad. I’ll be very honest with you, I haven’t even seen the ad because I’m out pretty much all day. Especially during the news time I am out visiting delegates. So I haven’t seen that ad but it’s something that I do not support because I believe at the end of the day we are one party and I believe that after I become the leader we need to have everybody to work together—even people like Francis Fonseca—should continue to work together in this party because we have one common goal, one common objective and that is to re-energise the Peoples’ United Party, to get it ready to win the confidence of the Belizean people once again so that whenever there is elections we can be victorious because it is important that we can win so that we can help our people and we can help in the development of this country.”

Our attempts to conduct a similar interview with Francis Fonseca proved futile as his advisor Godfrey Smith informed us that the candidate was inundated by the demands of the campaign.

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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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