We now shift gears to some politics. As we reported yesterday, the United Democratic Party is preparing for another convention on its calendar. This is to choose not a standard bearer, but rather a caretaker representative and an executive committee. It comes at a critical juncture as the party continues to navigate through what many see as a leadership crisis. News Editor, Dale McDougall tells us more.
The eyes of the nation is on the constituency of Belmopan because as we reported on Tuesday the political atmosphere is getting exciting. On August 15 the UDP will choosing a caretaker representative and an executive committee. In these types of conventions we must point out that often times the caretaker becomes the party’s standard bearer in a general election. Essentially eligible voters vetted by the party will chose from between the long time area representative and former minister John Salidvar or Khalid Belisle who was the mayor of the city of Belmopan up until this past March. What makes this particular convention, and we suspect similar conventions in the coming weeks and months, very interesting is because of the internal jostling for power each one presents. It is seen as opportunities for party leader Patrick Faber to shore up support or for his detractors to weaken his leadership. The former Minister of National Security suggested as much in his Facebook post on Tuesday when he said that “There is a battle for the leadership of the UDP still taking place and it is going to play out in these constituency conventions.” Saldivar believes that while party leader Patrick Faber survived a recall vote two weeks ago comfortably Faber did not secure at least fifty percent of the four hundred eighty three delegates who participated in the recall vote. And that alone he posits puts Faber in an untenable position. Belisle considered a former Saldivar protégé will directly his former mentor and that is being translated as a move to upstage Saldivar, a man who has called for Faber’s removal. Saldivar says “The implication of this moving forward is that at any future Leadership Convention where only fifty percent plus one of the delegates is needed, Faber would more than likely lose the leadership. In order for Faber to retain the leadership next July, he either has to change the minds of his colleagues who to this point are against him, or change his colleagues at these Constituency Conventions. Faber has obviously opted to change his colleagues so there is now an all out war in the UDP starting with the Belmopan Constituency Convention which has pitted former student against former mentor.” In Saldivar’s preferred method of communications these days he also argues that he is the right candidate because voters now have buyers remorse after electing Oscar Mira. More than that he’s calling for the party to undergo serious introspection adding that the UDP will “forever be blaming the wrong things and the wrong persons.” adding “the vibes out on the street is that people really bought into the promise of better that was being offered by the PUP at a time when the government of the day was bogged down in bureaucracy trying to figure out how to get relief to those in need.” He concludes by saying that his party “obviously failed miserably at giving the people the help they wanted and they went for todos ganamos. Now, the cry on the street is for a return of the UDP and here in Belmopan for a return of John Saldivar.” Party voters will decide whether they want redemption and experience or whether they want someone youthful and if you ask Khalid Belisle it’s the latter. We’ll certainly continue to follow developments.