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Feb 1, 2016

John Briceño is the New P.U.P. Leader

The People’s United Party held its leadership Convention on Sunday in Belmopan. Three candidates were vying for the post – Francis Fonseca, John Briceño and Cordel Hyde. The winner would be selected through a historic process where two thousand, nine hundred and seventy-three delegates from thirty-one constituencies would be afforded the chance to vote. In the end, past Party Leader John Briceño was returned to office with one thousand one hundred and twenty-two votes. Tonight we have comprehensive coverage of the Convention which opened at nine in the morning and closed a little over eleven hours after, starting with the leadership race. Mike Rudon has that story.


Mike Rudon, Reporting

The Ring Road in Belmopan just in front of the Belmopan Comprehensive School was awash in blue – thousands of delegates and supporters of the People’s United Party brought in from all over the country for the very serious business of selecting a new leader. This is the finish line for the candidates, in a six week long race to meet and win the hearts of almost three thousand delegates.


John Briceño

John Briceño, P.U.P. Leadership Candidate

“I met certainly over two thousand. There were a few constituencies where the former Standard Bearers and the representatives refused to cooperate with us, so that required more effort. But in a way it was better because it allowed me to go into the individual villages and meet four five delegates at a time, and allowed me to better connect with them when I was talking about the message – a message of hope, a message of unity, a message of bringing the P.U.P. back into its winning ways.”


Cordel Hyde, P.U.P. Leadership Candidate

“It took a lot because you’re looking at almost three thousand delegates spread over…we have two hundred villages in this country – I won’t say they come from all villages but some of our delegates were in very remote areas. We had to dig deep. We had instances where a lot of our Standard Bearers were not as supportive as we expected them to be, so we had to find delegates on our own. It was exhausting but rewarding, gratifying. I say that because I learned a lot of things on this journey.”


Francis Fonseca

Francis Fonseca, P.U.P. Leadership Candidate

“We have had the good fortune of having tremendous support across the country from Standard Bearers, representatives, so that has helped us in terms of our machinery…north to south, east to west. And as you know like the other candidates we have been travelling across the country meeting with delegates. We’ve had meetings with delegates as a group and we have had smaller meetings with individual families, so it’s been comprehensive machinery and we feel very good and comfortable with what we’re doing today and what we’re going to execute today.”


The process of election is a time-honored tradition, but in the P.U.P. there is an undercurrent of bitterness, hostility and division which has ravaged this once great Party. That negativity was alive and well in the campaign up to the Convention, and whoever becomes leader will need to do what hasn’t been done in over ten years…unite the P.U.P.


Anthony Sylvestre

Anthony Sylvestre, Former Cabinet Secretary

“After this my concern is to put aside the acrimony because let’s not fool ourselves…as the old man would say the mango of discord has been sown within our Party. I am not blaming anybody for sowing it. I am saying it has been sown. It is time to eradicate that and come together and to remember the purpose for which the Party was formed…to lift the standard of living of the ordinary Belizean because when the P.U.P. is not in power, it’s not the leaders of the P.U.P. that suffer, it’s the rank and file.”


John Briceño

“There will be unity in the Party. I think that the supporters have had enough of this. They are demanding that we unite. In every meeting that I had, meeting the delegates be it individual or as a group, I’ve always had a positive message that we believe that we are one family, we are all good people but I am the right person to lead at this time.”


Cordel Hyde

Cordel Hyde

“We have to my brother we have to. When we travel all over this country that’s the central thing our people want from us. They want us to come together, they want us to join hands…they want us to fight the U.D.P. so that we can form the government because the vast majority of our people know that it’s only with a P.U.P. government that things happen positive for a majority of the people in this country.”


Francis Fonseca

“It has been a negative and some would describe it as a nasty campaign. And indeed we can’t hide from that. It has in fact been that way. And I certainly regret that it has taken that tone. But I am really confident because everywhere I’ve travelled across the country people make the point at the end of every discussion that we have, as robust and vigorous as those discussions are, people say that after the thirty-first, we have to get together regardless of what the results are, we have to focus our attentions and our energies on the U.D.P. government.”


The actual voting process on Sunday was a mess, with delegates standing in line for up to three hours to cast their votes. It’s a glitch which comes with this being the first ever Convention of this size, with so many delegates involved. Polls were closed at four, with candidates cautiously optimistic about the results.


Francis Fonseca

“We feel good. We feel that we have brought out our delegates. I think it is going to be a close election, but I feel that we have done what we set out to do and executed our Convention Day plan so we feel optimistic, we feel optimistic. Our constituency reports that we have gotten back are very positive. All our people have turned out.”


Julius Espat, P.U.P. Deputy Leader

“I can’t predict just like how you can’t predict. This is a very tight race. Because it’s three candidates the formula is a little bit more difficult to analyze. But I think at the end of the day it’s a good showing for P.U.P. and that’s positive.”


John Briceño

“We put in the hard work, but as we always said at the end of the day it is the people who make the decision, the delegates. We ran a positive campaign. We ran a good campaign, an energetic campaign, and at the end of the day we just have to wait for the results.”


Cordel Hyde

“I feel good. I started the day feeling good and I’ve felt good all day. I just have maximum confidence in the people and we’ll see what happens.”


Henry Charles Usher

Two thousand seven hundred and fifty eight delegates had cast their vote when the final tally was taken. The counting took longer than it would in a general election, but by seven o’clock word had emerged that John Briceño, and his slate, had taken a commanding lead.


Henry Charles Usher

“I’ve been getting a few updates over the course of the counting, and the same updates that you’ve been getting is what I’m receiving as well, that the team of John Briceño is comfortably in the lead.”


Oscar Requeña

Oscar Requeña, P.U.P. Chairman Candidate

“I am not certain about that my brother. To be honest I’ve been getting some of the statistics from inside but it’s only for a few boxes. All indications are from what I’m hearing is that in some of the boxes Hon. John is leading.”


But by ten Sunday night, the official results were out. John Briceño had beat out Francis Fonseca and Cordel Hyde to return as leader of the People’s United Party.


Myrtle Palacio

Myrtle Palacio, Secretary-General, P.U.P.

“For Party Leader we have John Briceño…one thousand one hundred and twenty-two…hey please does this have to go in my face? I am not comfortable. I feel very crowded here…Francis Fonseca – nine hundred and seventeen, Cordel Hyde…six hundred and seventy-three. I return for Party Leader John Briceño…one thousand, one hundred and twenty two.”


John Briceño

“I want to thank all of the people that came out to vote, and certainly both Hon. Francis Fonseca and Hon. Cordel Hyde were formidable candidates, but the people have spoken. We respect that and now we need to unite, we need to work and we need to get ready to form the next government under a People’s United Party.”


When the announcement was made Briceño and his slate stood alone. Supporters of both Fonseca and Hyde were notably absent. Briceño now begins the work of unity which the Party so desperately needs. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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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2 Responses for “John Briceño is the New P.U.P. Leader”

  1. Belizean Pride says:

    congrats now he has to make the bold decision to kick out Musa and the rest of the old guard that has destroyed the party or else people will still be skeptical when election comes.

  2. carlos says:

    Congrats Johnny we stand behind your leadership. Consult with the people in what ever you need to do to fix this good party. May God guide you in all you do for the good of the People’s United Party.

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