The People’s United Party (PUP) was searching for common cause following last Wednesday’s landslide defeat in the municipal elections and the release of a secret recording of a conversation between former leader and Orange Walk Central area representative John Briceno and two trusted party operatives in which he ran down the former leadership for a litany of past errors and mistakes and questioned openly the leadership of current head Francis Fonseca. But today at a joint National Executive and Parliamentary Caucus meeting held by the party at its headquarters at Independence Hall where the party built on the tentative expressions of support given by members in the wake of the elections defeat. Party Leader Francis Fonseca had a message both for party faithful and the public at large which looks to the PUP as an alternative to the current administration
Francis Fonceca , Leader of the People’s United Party
“Well we have discussed it, we had a discussion about it. It’s an internal party matter. We have discussed it, we are dealing with it in that way – as I said from the very beginning. We will deal with it in a responsible way, in brotherly way and we believe we are on the way to resolve what ever differences exist among us. What we are focused on, as you have heard here today, is moving forward…. moving forward united, working forward in working together for the good of the people of this country. People are expecting a lot from the People’s United Party, the results from the municipal elections show very clearly that we have a lot of work to do… I understand that as the leader. We are all in the process of self examination. The entire party is in that process of self examination and we’re going to fix it. I want to say to all our supporters out there and all the Belizean people out there – we know that especially our supporters are feeling demoralize, they feel let down, feeling down, we are saying to them that the leadership of your party has today has met. We understand the challenges and problems that exists in our party and we are going to fix those problems and challenges and are going to move forward. And we believe you will see a much more vibrant, a much more dynamic, a much more united People’s United Party.”
According to Fonseca, the party’s self-examination process continues and none will be spared.The airing of the conversation between Orange Walk Central representative and former PUP leader John Briceno and two confidants in which he aired many grievances with the past administration is a confirmation for some of the PUP’s internal divisions being possibly too great to overcome and for others an unfortunate betrayal at the worst possible time for the party. Briceno can be counted among the latter, as yesterday he sent out a short statement lamenting the invasion of his privacy. He briefly expanded on that today in what he says will be his only public comments on the matter.
Hon. John Briceno, Area Representative – Orange Walk Central
“A few weeks ago, a tape was made of a private conversation that I had with somebody – that I thought, that I trusted. Somebody that I knew for decades and I never thought that, that person would have betrayed my trust by recording what I was speaking to him privately. Yesterday I took out a short statement, making it clear that I will not discuss what I have said privately with those individuals. We need to look forward- we need to organize the party, as the party leader said. There is a lot of work to be done, there is a lot of reorganization of the party, there is a lot of energy that we have to bring back in the party. We are the party of hope and it is only the People’s United Party that can bring hope, development and opportunity for the people of Belize. “
Former PUP leader and Prime Minister Said Musa took the opportunity to both refute Briceno’s charges against him and chastise the media for paying what he believes is too much attention to the issue.
SAID MUSA, Former PUP leader and Prime Minister.
Rt. Hon. Said Musa, Area Representative – Fort George
“I find it amazing that the media has been preoccupied with this tape of John Briceno – when in fact there is a tape making serious allegations of murder against the deputy prime minister of this country. And not a question has been asked by the media to the prime minister about that.”
“That’s been so ventilated sir. Every second of that tape has been played.”
Rt. Hon. Said Musa
“None at all.”
“Just because we done get an answer you don’t like doesn’t mean it’s not there.”
Rt. Hon. Said Musa
“I never heard the answer. What has Dean Barrow said about it?”
“He has said the same thing, he said it’s fraudulent, what can we do beyond that? We’ve aired every second of that tape sir. We have plumbed it at great depths. How do you feel about what Mr. Briceno said about you?”
Rt. Hon. Said Musa
“Well I feel like all he said was false and I know it was false. Now, what was his state of mind was? I don’t know. But I can tell you that we discussed it fully today and I’m satisfied that we have a way to move forward now.”