John Briceno has served as Deputy Prime Minister of Belize and is a former party leader for the People’s United Party. Briceno is now seeking the post of leadership again for the blue and white camp and today we asked him why.
“I am doing that because I love the PUP and I also love Belize. We have seen the direction that the UDP has been taking this government for the past two governments and we believe that they are going in the wrong direction. Instead of things getting better in this country it is getting worse and we need a PUP government desperately in this country and I believe I am the better person to lead the PUP into victory whenever the UDPs decide to call the next elections. I was a bit surprised (when Francis re-entered) because he had already indicated that he was going to step down and that we was going to hold on to the affairs of the party just until a new leader was elected but Francis has a right like anybody else as I’ve always said that any member of this great party should be given the opportunity if they so wish to lead our party.”
We have been telling you in past newscasts of the attacks that Briceno and Hyde have been facing on social media. Briceno says he does not encourage that kind of campaign and from the onset he had appealed to his supporters to not engage in that sort of negativity.
“Yes, I’ve been told about all these nasty posts that have been going around on Facebook. If you were to look at my Facebook way back as early as I think December 15 we have been asking everyone to run a clean campaign, all the people that support me, we have been asking them let us run a clean campaign. Let us win on my merits and the hard work I have done for the party.”
Briceno has been on a countrywide tour meeting with the almost three thousand delegates and says that the reception has been overwhelming. He also spoke on the three points he is campaigning on.
“When I meet the delegates I speak about three things; I speak about why it is that I stepped down as leader and as I pointed out to them that whilst I stepped down as leader I never left the PUP. I campaigned the length and breadth of this country along with Honorable Francis Fonseca as the party leader. I also talk to them about why I am to be elected leader; I have the experience, I have the ability, I have the national appeal across the length and breadth of this country that people know that I am a hard worker, I win elections I have been in constant communications and contact with the NGO community, with the private sector and everyone so it will be easy for me to put in a coalition, a winning coalition for us to win the next election. Also that I have a very clear vision as to where we want to take the PUP and this country and as I tell everyone we need a country where every single Belizean has an equal opportunity to take care of themselves and their family. That is what the PUP is all about, creating opportunities for everyone.”
As we mentioned Briceno has served as the PUP Party Leader and he did experience several obstacles and trials. We asked him if he is prepared to deal with those issues again.
“Your term in the PUP was not an easy one. There were a lot of challenges and other obstacles that you faced. Are you prepared to take those on again should you become the party leader?”
“Many people ask me that question. You sure you want to take that on again? Certainly the first person to ask me was my wife but on a serious note I am prepared to that because I love my party, I love my country. The biggest issue I had was that of unity and wherever I go now whenever I tell them what was happening, the rank and file would say, well you did not tell us, you need to let us know but there’s one thing that I am going to do different this time, after a time where we are working and there are certain elements within the party that do not want to unite and want to continue to undermine the party I am going to call a national party council meeting where the 31 constituencies can meet; where we can have an open discussion and if it is necessary for us to have a national convention we are going to do that because the rank and file of this party are tired about the undermining and the disunity and they are resolute on the need to unite. Whenever the party is united there is no force in this country that can defeat the People’s United Party. I am going to do everything possible, I am going to work every day and we are going to lead the PUP into victory at the next national elections.”
The Special National Convention to elect a PUP Leader is set for January 31, 2016 in Belmopan.