The People’s United Party has been in the news almost every night last week over reports of disunity within the party allegedly evidenced by boycotts of meetings and the organization of secret meetings minus PUP executives. Yesterday, we reported on the petition that was submitted to the Party Leader yesterday and on the statement made by PUP Standard Bearer for Cayo Central Dan Silva. In the statement , Silva says that 40% of the standard Bearers of the Peoples United party, met without the party executives and drafted the petition. The statement says, and we quote, “We cannot continue as we have, pretending as if though all is well when we know that something is wrong.” The release says that the Party is still vulnerable to the sins of the past making note of the controversies that rocked the government during the Musa Administration. The release goes on to say that, quote, “All 12 of us who have signed a letter we sent this morning to our party chairman and party leader agree that it is absolutely important that we call an urgent National Convention. It has been 5 years since we have gone back to the people in national Convention and that’s a very serious violation of our Party’s Constitution…People see this and wonder what will happen when we are in government if we are prepared to violate our party’s constitution like this when we are in Opposition.” The release ends by reiterating the need for a national convention and urges the party leader and executive to set a date as early as possible. Today, the People’s Untied Party leader was guest on Rise and Shine and made his first public comments regarding the signed petition he received yesterday.
” A number of our representatives or standard bearers have – It’s a letter they wrote to the Chairman and copied to me. It was a private letter but they themselves leaked it to the media, so I am therefore obliged to speak on it, and I think they have expressed specific concerns which we as a Party have been working on and addressing. There are three issues which we have been talking about and which they have raised – a National convention, the restructuring of the National Executive and the rollout of the policy agenda across the country. All of these things we have been working on for a very long time, so it is not clear to me where this is coming from now. But let me say that we will be addressing this issue. We received the letter yesterday and we will be convening a meeting on Wednesday to bring all Standard Bearers together so that we can discuss this issue in a very responsible way. All of our Standard Bearers are important to me. We want all of them to be involved and engaged in the work of the Party. So we will be fair. We will be fair, that is our approach. We will be respectful but we will also be firm. Because people want to see that we have one Party that is working towards the same objective and that is rescuing this nation from this U.D.P. government. People out there don’t have any time to be paying attention to the games that some people are playing within the P.U.P. People have very little patience for that. They don’t want to hear that. They want to hear that we are fighting together, that we are working together, that we have an agenda for change and that’s why we are here today to talk about that agenda, so I have very little patience for that. People who have good faith concerns about issues in the Party, we are absolutely prepared to discuss those – always have been. That is my style. We listen to other people. We respect the views of other people. Some say I do it too much. In that regard I am too soft because I listen too much and consult too much instead of being firm. But for me that is my approach. I don’t believe that Mr. Barrow’s approach which some people view as strong leadership which is to be rude and arrogant and petty – I don’t believe that is what Belize requires. So I will not change my style. We want everybody on board. We want them to work with us. But we have to be clear that people are operating in good faith, and that they are not bringing into the Party their own agendas fuelled by others outside of the Party who want to destabilize the PUP and make us lose the elections. And I will fight against that. I will protect the Party against that and do whatever it takes. I am prepared to work with everybody. I am willing to work with anybody but I will not allow anyone or any group of people to undermine the great legacy of this People’s United Party, no matter who they are.”
Deputy leader Western Caucus PUP and Cayo South Area representative Julius Espat was also on the programme and said that two of the three concerns stated in the petition had already been addressed.
“We stand strong with that. The first one, which is the National Convention that they have been calling about – a date has already been set. All the players that signed that knows that a date has already been set. They were a part of the agreement that we made to set that. The third concern which they have, which is the rolling out, Well, we are having the rolling out, we are having the first one in San Ignacio this weekend on Sunday. They were a part of that arrangement, The six standard bearers of the West met two weeks ago in San Ignacio and Dan Silva was a part of that meeting where we agreed that the consultation will be rolled out and we agreed to start in San Ignacio and we agreed that we would all participate in it. In reality, just to show you that the request they are making has already been addressed to a large extent and the Party leader is right. We want to sit, we want to work and at the end of the day, it is about the people that we serve.”
A meeting has been called for tomorrow for all PUP standard bearers and representatives to meet to discuss the issues facing the party.