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Feb 6, 2020

U.D.P. Leadership Convention to Limited Media Access on Feb. 9th

The executive of the United Democratic Party, following a meeting of its National Party Council last Saturday, has decided to limit access to the local media in covering the upcoming leadership convention.  On the contrary, we understand that an observer from the United States Embassy’s political office has been granted full access to the day’s events.  Historically, the media has been allowed the freedom to cover the event in its entirety, save for the actual casting of votes by delegates.  This time, however, things will be a lot different since the convention which is billed as a two-in-one event will include the election of a new party leader, as well as the administration of the party’s business.  That decision will severely restrain the media’s ability to bring to its audience up-to-the-minute reports of this much anticipated race. The restrictions represent a step backward as to timely reporting.   News Five spoke by phone with outgoing chairman Alberto August.


On the Phone: Alberto August, Chairman, United Democratic Party

“The United Democratic Party is governed by the instructions coming out of the various arms of the party.  In this instance we are talking about the National Party Council which met last week Saturday at our headquarters in Belize City.  When the item came up about the media wanting to participate in the coverage of our national convention, the question was put to the council and the council, after deliberating on the matter, agreed that yes the media will be allowed to cover certain aspects, certain parts of our national convention.  This is a unique situation, for the first time we’re having our national convention inside of a closed area where the voting is going to be happening simultaneously with the conduct of the party’s business.  Previously what we had had was conventions, or the voting on one side and then the conducting of the various aspects of the party’s business in another area.  Under those circumstances the media was invited to cover the party’s convention, but in terms of the voting, we always continue to maintain the secrecy of the ballot and for that purpose, inside of this current situation at the Belize City Center, it is in one confined location and then therefore the voting and the party business will be happening in one area.  Therefore, the National Party Council agreed that we should not have the media inside of the station while delegates of our party are voting, for the simple reason that there are some delegates who prefer not to be so exposed and that is the reason.”

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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