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Oct 27, 2020

Prime Ministerial Debate Still on Schedule, Minus Johnny and Patrick

The prime ministerial debate, despite the absence of the leaders of both major political parties, is proceeding on Wednesday night as scheduled, according the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry.  While the organizers were hoping that the debate on national issues prior to the general elections would see the participation of all leadership candidates, including Patrick Faber and John Briceño, such is not the case.  On Monday night, the People’s United Party indicated via press release that Briceño had not agreed to participate and that its correspondence on the matter to the B.C.C.I. had gone unanswered. Faber’s stipulation required that all candidates be present in the discussion for him to participate and with Briceño not taking part, he too has dropped out of the debate.  That leaves Nancy Marin of the Belize People’s Front to face Patrick Rogers of the Belize Progressive Party—both candidates who are not necessarily favoured to win—to debate each other.  Earlier today, News Five spoke with Marissa Longsworth, President of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, one of three organizers of the planned debate.


Marissa Longsworth

Marissa Longsworth, President, B.C.C.I.

“Where we are is that we have two committed parties, political parties and their leaders, to partake in a debate and a debate is two persons.  That’s what’s the definition of a debate is; that we have the two confirmations which allow for us to have a debate on Wednesday.  I suppose the scandal and controversy that has started has to do with the major parties and their leaders.  The question becomes whether a debate such as this needs the major parties and their leaders.  The answer is no.  We do not need the major parties and their leaders to participate in order to have a debate; however, when you look at what the public has been saying about who they want to hear from on serious national issues, it has to do with the major parties because, I suppose, of the likelihood that one of those persons is going to be the next prime minister of this country. What the committee has been aiming for since its inception is to have a leadership debate, a prime ministerial debate of four participants representing the four contesting parties in this general elections.  So as I’ve said before on behalf of the committee and I say it again, the committee has been prepared for any combination of persons who might join in.  It could have been one major party leader and one minor party leader, we would have had the same approach to say that the best case scenario for this debate is to have the participation of four because that is the true representation of what the Belizean people will have to decide from when they go to the polls on November eleventh.”

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