On Wednesday, the main opposition People’s United Party (PUP)’s National Executive decided to remove Arthur Saldivar as its Standard Bearer for the Belize Rural North Constituency, as well as from its National Executive. Attorney Saldivar was suspended late last month, pending an investigation into allegations of misbehavior on his part.
As we have reported previously, Arthur Saldivar is accused of taking and failing to return some $900,000 from former clients Melonie and Marlene Coye, who were released from charges of money laundering following a successful criminal appeal in March.
The PUP, having received the report of a committee set up last month to investigate the alleged wrongdoings, made their decision to the dismay of Mr Saldivar’s supporters. The man himself, however, was sanguine as he came down to face reporters camped downstairs of Independence Hall after 4:00 P.M.
PUP Leader Francis Fonseca told reporters at a briefing after the decision was handed down, that the party took into account the sentiments of the Belize Rural North Executive, who believe that the PUP acted contrary to its constitution in suspending Saldivar; but the decision was weighed against what was best overall for the PUP and the country on a whole.
“Obviously this was not an easy decision for any of us. It is not ever easy for anyone to sit in judgment, if you like, of any colleague of theirs, so it was not an easy decision. It was not a decision taken lightly. We considered it very very seriously, very cautiously, very deliberately, but at the end of the day I believe, and I was supported in that view by the members of the National Executive, that it was both in the best interest of the People’s United Party, and I also believe in the best interest of Mr. Saldivar, that at this time, he not be involved in party politics, and certainly not be a standard bearer for the People’s United Party.”
Henry Charles Usher – Chairman, People’s United Party
“We looked at all matters, up to and including the first of September last week. That’s when the report was completed.”
The decision to remove Arthur Saldivar and barring him from PUP participation until the next General Elections, constitutionally due in 2017, is not sitting well with the Belize Rural North PUP executive committee who say they will consider a legal challenge to today’s decision by the party. The decision to remove Saldivar as the Belize Rural North standard bearer and as a member of the PUP executive will still have to be ratified at the next National Party Council meeting scheduled for September 28.We hear from public Relations officer for the Belize Rural North Executive Committee, Oswin Blease, who says why, if necessary, their man Arthur Saldivar will run as an “independent PUP” in the next General Elections.
“This is indeed an injustice for all of us in Belize Rural North. For one, Arthur Saldivar was not endorsed. Arthur Saldivar contested a contested convention, where he won over two other candidates.
When the committee met with us, we were informed by the committee of four that there was no information on Arthur Saldivar, that there was no information whatsoever, that the allegations against him were mere rumours, and they were about to try and put facts to it.
So that is very surprising for us right now, to hear that a position like that is taken by our National Executive.”
“Sir, you all are good PUPs. Will you all continue to support whoever is now put as the PUP candidate?”
“I was born inside the People’s United Party. From birth I’m a PUP. I will always be a PUP. But you have a thing you call independent PUPs. And let me tell you this. This is something that will be happening. I believe that Arthur Saldivar will run in Belize Rural North, because the Executive is standing behind him unanimously. The Executive is very strong and we are battle ready. And many of us will be going into other divisions and contest the divisions as PUP supporters.”
For his part, PUP Leader Francis Fonseca says while the party cannot stop such a move by the Belize Rural North Executive, the party will follow its own processes now to choose a new standard bearer and if necessary a new executive committee for the division.
“The Party Chairman will go into Belize Rural North. He will meet with the existing committee. They will indicate what they intend to do as a committee. That is yet to be seen.
We have reported to the findings and conclusion and decision of the National Executive. If that remains their position, we certainly hope that that is not their position, but if that remains their position, then the Party has a process under the constitution under which we formulate a committee.”