Arthur Saldivar supporters protest his suspension

vlcsnap-2014-08-29-18h31m05s114The investigation by a four-man committee of the National Executive of the People’s United Party (PUP) into allegations against Belize Rural North standard bearer Arthur Saldivar continues, but neither the embattled politician/attorney or his supporters are taking it lying down.  Almost from the moment he was suspended by order of the Executive on Wednesday of this week, Mr Saldivar’s supporters in the division have rallied to his side, insisting that they were not duly consulted and that the party’s constitution gives no power to any of its bodies to suspend any member from campaigning for the party.

Today they descended on Independence Hall seeking an audience with Party Leader Francis Fonseca. But he was not available, so they stood outside to wait for him. We hear from protester and spokesperson Wendy Castillo.

vlcsnap-2014-08-29-18h32m15s52Wendy Castillo – Supports Arthur Saldivar

“Justice.  Justice must come.  There are many forgotten people in Belize Rural North. 

This is the fight.  The fight is againstthe UDP.  We’re asking then now to grant us an audience.  We deserve that as a committee.  Enough is enough.”.

The handful of protestors, no more than 20, loudly raised their voices in firm support of the sitting standard bearer, who they say has been doing a good job in Opposition.

vlcsnap-2014-08-29-18h29m52s154Wendy Castillo

“Enough is enough.  The champion of the people lies with Arthur Saldivar.  He is the only one that has been fighting for the people.

This is how you repay us.  Enough is enough.  No suspension.  The people’s champion.  No suspension.  The people’s champion.

At this point the group was not prepared to speak with the press, waiting to see if party top brass would respond. But by 2:00 p.m. this afternoon, it was clear that they would not. Chairwoman of the PUP’s executive committee in the division, Carol Williams, read this statement to the press.

vlcsnap-2014-08-29-18h33m31s19Carol Williams – Chairwoman PUP’s Executive Committee

“We the members of the Belize Rural North PUP Executive Committee assemble today, in front of our Party Headquarters, to request a meeting with our Party Leader.  This is a result of the National Executive’s decision to suspend our elected Standard Bearer, Arthur Saldivar, and the blatant disrespect for our Executive Committee. 

Our intention today was to make it clear that we do not recognize or acknowledge the suspension.

In a telephone conversation with me, a few minutes ago, the Party Leader informed me that he will not meet with the Executive Committee.  In light of this Party Leader’s reluctance with us today, our Committee is left with no other choice but to reconvene and determine our next move.

You, the media, will be informed of when and what that move will be.”

With that, the group dispersed, despite earlier insisting that if necessary they would sleep outside Independence Hall. But their fate, like that of their leader Arthur Saldivar, remains uncertain. The Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Dean Barrow also weighed in on the PUP protest held today.  Here is what he had to say.

vlcsnap-2014-08-29-18h32m47s109Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“I don’t know that I ought to be giving the PUP any sort of advice. I will say though, that on the basis of their pronouncements during the course of events that unfolded surrounding Penner, on the basis of the stance they took, indeed they ought to have moved far more quickly and far more forcefully with respect to Arthur Saldivar. I think they run the risk now of appearing to be hypocrites, but in that regard what else is new.”

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