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Aug 14, 2001

Espat gives up PUP chair after challenge from Vildo

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We open tonight’s newscast with a development on the political front. That news is the imminent election of a new PUP party chairman. It’s an occurrence that the Opposition will proclaim reflects a major rift in the ruling party’s hierarchy, while die-hard PUPs will sluff it off as just more evidence of the party’s vibrant democracy. However you see it, the decision by current chairman Jorge Espat not to seek re-election is at the very least, an embarrassing blow to any claims he may have to a political constituency beyond the confines of his Freetown Division. Espat made the announcement in the form of a short press release, which said he would not be seeking a position on his party’s Central Executive at the PUP national convention on September ninth. What the release did not say, was that Corozal Bay representative Vildo Marin had been quietly campaigning for the post of chairman, held by Espat since 1996, and in a meeting of party backbenchers on Monday had received a strong endorsement from his peers. Espat did some counting and figured that it was better to leave with his dignity intact than risk serious political damage in a fight he was likely to lose. Party insiders speaking to News 5 were emphatic in insisting that Espat’s departure is not related to criticism of police and B.D.F. handling of rioters at Tower Hill Bridge, nor is it related to recent complaints from the Espat camp of alleged preferential treatment given to the so-called Partridge Street faction of the PUP by Prime Minister Said Musa. The PUP convention, held every two years, will take place at the Belize City Centre.

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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