Today is the deadline for UDP aspirants to submit their names to vie for the position of party leader. As it stands, there are five people in the competition. These are the three previous candidates, Patrick Faber, Omar Figueroa and John Saldivar, and two new candidates, former Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington. The latter two names were submitted between Tuesday and Wednesday and came as a surprise to many people. Yesterday, the media had a chance to ask Bradley, who is currently the president of the Senate, about the reason for his decision. He stated that he has a vision for the direction in which the party should move.
Darrell Bradley, Senate President: “It’s not something about Darrel Bradley, it’s not something about where I would want to go it’s something about where I think the United Democratic Party as a party not only wants to go but needs to go and I think it’s something about where the country needs to go and I do believe genuinely that there needs to be discussion and dialogue about who would ascend the leadership of the United Democratic Party and ultimately hopefully the leadership of this country; that’s a really significant decision and I think we should not take that lightly and I think that members of our population both in the party and in the general public should have a wealth of candidates. It’s not about us it is about the party, it is about the country of Belize and who we really feel as a party and as a nation can best represent our interest and move our party and move our country forward. It’s a very difficult decision, it is involving something that requires a lot of soul searching, there would be practical challenges because I am not an elected area representative I do not hold a seat, – there’s certain disadvantages that naturally play. People will have questions about that, how do you want to be the leader of the party and you can’t even win a seat ? That’s a legitimate thing. I would have to respond to that to those who would be delegates and I’m not mindful of the fact that that’s going to be a difficult challenge convincing individuals but I genuinely feel that I have a voice to offer and there are certain things that must be said in relation to where we want our party to go and where we want our country to go.”
As Bradley mentioned, difficulties may arise considering that he does not have a seat in the House of Representatives. However, he stated that he has always been one for taking risks and he is confident that it will pay off.
Darrell Bradley, Senate President: “I know that that would be a challenge but I’ve given some reflection to that and it would be for me to go to individual delegates and convince them that I can overcome that challenge. I do believe though that there are certain conversation points that need to be part of our deliberation as a party. We are in need of a new direction, we are in need of change, we are in need of vision, we are in need of reform. I am not really concerned with the specific numbers perhaps to my detriment because politics is really about numbers. I’m concerned with the conversation, I’m concerned with where we want out party and our country to go and I think that the numbers will work themselves out if people can be offered a vision and a direction that inspires them.”
The UDP leadership convention was previously set for April 5, but has been postponed indefinitely.