It has been said that the business of a political party is to win elections. But the People’s United Party (PUP) hasn’t won any since the Cayo South by-election in 2003, and on the eve of another by-election, this time in Dangriga, some in the party appear not to be sure about participating. The PUP’s national executive and standard bearers met at Independence Hall this afternoon in Belize City, amidst reports from very credible sources that one of the most senior party members had proposed to boycott the by-election. However, word is that the majority of voting members at this evening’s meeting voted in favour of the party fighting the election with Anthony Sabal as its candidate; nevertheless, many others are of the view that boycotting and not contesting is a viable option that the party can afford to take. Party Leader Francis Fonseca decided that a team should go to Dangriga and assess which option should be taken. Coming out of the meeting, the Party Leader, who is usually open to take any questions from the press, was hesitant to go into details. The following is the extent of his statement to the press downstairs of Independence Hall.
Hon. Francis Fonseca – PUP Leader
“We had an internal meeting of the party. There is no statement we are prepared to make at this time. We have some follow up meetings in Dangriga over the next day or two and when we are finish with that we will certainly brief the press on those meetings and discussions.”
Chairman of the PUP’s Southern Caucus, Toledo West area representative Oscar Requena, assured that while the party had no answers for the press or for its supporters at present, they would come in due time.
“I think the party leader made it very clear that an assesment is being done and he will be speaking to the media on that matter, in a matter of a few days.”
“It terms of a time line for that assessment. The by-elections is a month away.”
“All I can tell you is that the party is treating it with urgency and I am certain that you, the media, ill be briefed in due time.”
The by-election has been called for July 8, with nominations due June 22. If only one person – likely UDP candidate Frank “Pawpa” Mena – is nominated without a challenger, then Mena under the Representation of the People’s Act would be considered duly elected. Former PUP leader John Briceno says the PUP hasn’t given up yet.
“Is that something unprecedented, you’ve been a politician for a long time – that a party would not want to participate or maybe choose not to participate in a bye-election?”
Hon. John Briceno
“We are not saying that the party does not want to participate. I think what we are saying is that it is best to go down and to listen to our supporters there in Dangriga before we make any decision whether we move forward or not.”