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Nov 4, 2019

#TheWayForward, John Saldivar Launches Leadership Bid

The man, who wants to replace Dean Barrow as leader for the U.D.P. and ultimately as Prime Minister, launched his bid on Sunday.  John Saldivar from Belmopan bussed in supporters to the Civic Center on Sunday to show his muscle.  Saldivar says he can count on the support of more than twenty standard bearers and the majority of delegates to beat Deputy Prime Minister, Patrick Faber.  In Faber’s backyard here in Belize City, four standard bearers have come out for Saldivar: the PM’s son, Shyne Barrow, and now Sister B from Queen Square, Phillip Willoughby from the Port and Dianne Finnegan from Lake I.  Now, the convention is months away in February 2020 and a lot can happen. So can Saldivar defeat Faber? Here is News Five’s Hipolito Novelo.


Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

The Way Forward, John Saldivar on Sunday amassed thousands of party supporters at the Civic in Belize City where he officially launched his campaign to lead the ruling United Democratic Party. Saldivar’s goal it to defeat opponent Patrick Faber on February ninth and ultimately become Prime Minister when Dean Barrow steps down in 2020.


John Saldivar

John Saldivar, Candidate, Leader, U.D.P.

“Let the event today be the clear and resonant voice of our United Democratic Party, all the way to the next general elections.  We can take back Belize City. We can take Corozal Town. We can even take back Orange Walk Town from the current leader of the People’s United Party. To continue to win we must male plain our intention to choose wisely for the Belizean people. We can continue to win with the right leadership, leaders who build consensus, leaders who bring people together like today.”


Team Saldivar is comprised of Hugo Patt and Beverly Williams who are running for the post of first deputy leader and second deputy leader respectively. Belmopan Mayor Khalid Belisle is seeking to replace Chairman Alberto August under Saldivar’s banner.  Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte is also running for the post.


Hugo Patt

Hugo Patt, Candidate, 1st Deputy Leader, U.D.P.

“This is not about any one person. This is about electing a team that will best represent the interest of the United Democratic Party. It is also to elect a team that is best able to govern this jewel of ours and continue the trajectory upon which our great leader has catapulted this nation.”


Beverly Williams

Beverly Williams, Candidate, 2nd Deputy Leader, U.D.P.

“Ultimately John has the support of the vast majority of his colleagues because we believe that he is the right man for the job. We believe and I certainly believe that he will get things done and get them done well. His economic background affords him the ability to make logical and appropriate decision that will be in the best interest of all Belizeans.”


Khalid Belisle

Khalid Belisle, Candidate, Chairman, U.D.P.

“Those of you who have spent time around him have probably have occasions to see him sitting on a chair with one leg bouncing and a distance gaze on his face. N, the man wasn’t nervous. I assure that it was in these moments that he was deepest in thoughts, trying to figure around the next corner and plotting the way forward regarding the issue at hand.”


Exuding confidence, Saldivar reportedly enjoys the support of twenty-two UDP standard bearers and several members of the central executive and city and town councilors. His supporters include Pablo Marin, Edmund Castro, Denny Grijalva, Erwin Contreras, Rene Montero, and Doctor Angel Campos, Phillip Willoughby, John August, Sister B, and Gaspar Vega who has re-emerged and is seen as crucial to Saldivar’s campaign.


Saldivar’s confidence grew at the site of Mesopotamia Area Representative, Michael Finnegan who joined the team on stage.


John Saldivar

“I am very humble by the fact that the second longest serving member of this party beside only the Prime Minister has come out publicly now to show his support to me. It means a lot to me. It means a lot to my campaign. It will give a good boost to my campaign and I believe it is a harbinger of things to come.”


Shyne Barrow

Shyne Barrow, U.D.P. Standard Bearer, Mesopotamia

“No one is entitled to be the leader of the U.D.P.  No one has the right to succession. The next leader of the U.D.P. has to have humility and has to work arduously to build the trust and confidence of the majority of us. The next leader of the U.D.P. must be on the ground in the trenches shoulder to should with our soldiers and generals working hand in hand not head in the clouds foolishly convinced of some entitlement to lead as if ordained by some divine decree that ignores the majority of the United Democratic Party.  Team Saldivar is not about one person. It is about all of us. We all have a voice, we all have a say. This is the type of leadership that we need to continue the progress, inclusive, balance and just. Not malicious, vindictive, victimizing and petty. Today the soul of the U.D.P. is at stake. We cannot afford to squander the unprecedented gains.”


Frank Mena

Frank Mena, U.D.P. Standard Bearer, Dangriga

“This country yearns for a unifier. This country cannot deal with nobody who is petty, vindictive and personal and all of that.  We need somebody, we need some energy to unify not only the sweetness of our party and the love that we have but the entire country. So without the shadow of a doubt, I told John where I stand at. But we need at this point in time in the country we need somebody who can lead with that energy with that spiritual vibe to connect us.”


John Saldivar

“I feel very good we have put it our work and I have the support of many of my colleagues. This is the production; this is what happens when you have a majority of your colleagues with you.”


Undoubtedly the crowd on Sunday was larger than Faber’s crowd but it is all symbolic really. The decision to choose the next leader will fall on five hundred and sixty persons, Saldivar is confident that more than three hundred would vote for him.


John Saldivar

John Saldivar

“It is a little bit premature to do the numbers. What I can imagine with twenty two constituency leaders giving their commitment to team Saldivar that is around where we might be. We can add a few more from the councils around the country but it looks good at this point.”



“Is Patrick Faber’s only hope to run a guerrilla campaign to snipe off the delegates?”


John Saldivar

“That might be his only hope but I am not too sure that will work this time around.”


In 2016 Saldivar was defeated by Faber for the post of first deputy leader, so what the difference this time around?


John Saldivar

“All I can say that the last time it was about the Deputy Leadership, this time it is about the leadership.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Hipolito Novelo.

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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