For the third time in six months, the People’s United Party (PUP) has lost an election. And while the result is closer than the others were, yesterday’s defeat in Dangriga is no less crushing – or so you would believe. But in defeat, the PUP showed a self-confidence and poise, even a braggadocio, that it has been sorely lacking for some time now. And that is the main takeaway the party has from its performance, as explained by party leader Francis Fonseca at a short-order press briefing in Belize City this afternoon.
Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of The Opposition – “Of course we will do a full and proper assessment of the results Jules, without a doubt. What we have been saying – nobody is saying we are encouraged by the results in terms of the numbers. What we are saying is we are encourage by the show of unity in our party – the fighting spirit. That is where it begins. That is where you begin to turn around the numbers. It has to begin with that. It has to begin with us understanding and appreciating that if we fight together, if we stand together – that is how we turn these elections around. So that is what is encouraging to us.”
As the party reviews its performance, it says it continues to support defeated candidate Anthony Sabal. Fonseca praised his determination and hard work and says the party needs more of the same despite its many obstacles.
Hon. Francis Fonseca – “So, if you’re going to assess it, as we intend to, you have to assess it fully and properly not selectively saying okay these are our figures, that Papa Mena got this and that but not assessing the context in which it occurred and that’s all we’re saying. We are certainly proud of our candidate, we’re proud of the effort he put forward and we believe that if he had more time that he would’ve been able to win elections and we believe that now, we don’t know what might be happening for general elections but he will hit the ground and I know Mr. Saba, he will be on the ground by weekend, reaching out to the people and that is what is encouraging for us. That fighting spirit. That willingness to take the fight to the United Democratic Party, which some have accused us of and rightly so in some cases that the fire wasn’t embedded and we weren’t putting up that fight. We will do so moving forward.”
And Fonseca says that the loss must be put in its proper context – a lack of time to prepare against a financially strapped rival machinery.
Hon. Francis Fonseca –“The problem is that we have a very good candidate who did not have the proper time to mount a full campaign in Dangriga and if he had that opportunity to campaign for months, he would have won those elections. I am absolutely confident of that. So, these are elections being orchestrated by Mr. Barrow and the UDP for the very purpose of trying to undermine the People’s United Party and so yes, both these elections were held over a period of a month or so and we are confident. We have every confidence that we have to work on all of those elements that I talked about. We have a good candidate. We have to be better organized. We need even more resources. We need to fine tune our message and make that effective and deliver it in a more effective way. I don’t think we should be overstating what took us there it was an election called within a very short period of time for a man who had never run for electoral politics and competing with millions of dollars to spend on the ground in Dangriga, Sarawee, and Hope Creek. That is the reality of what happened and in that context, we are encouraged by the way our party performed.”
The party’s internal review is expected to commence shortly.