Thursday, November 5 saw the Party Leader for the People’s United Party announce his resignation after his party lost several elections under his stewardship. Francis Fonseca did not only announce his giving up of the Party Leader seat but he also told the media that he would not be seeking a re-election in the Freetown Division. Such a move has left the party’s supporters, members and even some sections of the public debating on who would be the next qualified person to fill the soon to be vacant seat. Some names being thrown out are Florencio Marin Jr., Cordel Hyde, Kareem Musa, John Briceno and Julius Espat. While Marin, Hyde or Musa have never expressed a desire for the leader’s seat, Briceno has been there and Espat has made many strides in the party since he came on-board in 2011. We had been hearing that Espat may be making a run for the seat but today, when we spoke with him via telephone, he told us that he has no such intention or desire but rather, his desire is to get the party organized.
“I have a desire to make sure that the People’s United Party can unite. I have a desire to participate to make sure that happens and I have a desire that we find the person that can do all those things and organize the party to secure a victory in the future. That is my desire. At this point in time I am not seeking leadership.”
Espat went on to speak on the process the party will have to undergo in order to elect a new Party Leader.
“There are basic things that have to happen; we have to have a National Executive meeting to be able to make proposals but respective of that to be able to pick a leader you have to have people that are willing to fill the post, after that then you need to go to a National Convention and present the People’s United Party for the people who the PUP represents to select their leader. That’s a process and that is the democratic process that should and will be followed.”
Credible sources have told Love News that John Briceno is in discussions with family members on submitting his name for the leadership seat. But while many supporters and PUP friends have been lobbying for Briceno via social media, Espat says he is looking beyond the names and has not decided to back anyone just yet.
“I haven’t made a decision on who I will support as yet but I believe that we have to look forward, we have to look at new people, we have to look at energy, qualifications; we have to look at many things so I don’t want to be bogged down with just the names that we know. We have to be open, if we are going to win the next General Elections. We have to attract more people and so I have not pledged any support to anybody. The only support I am giving is to two institutions, one is the People’s United Party and two is to the constituency of Cayo South.”
55-year-old, Briceno has been a sitting member of the House of Representatives under the People’s United Party since 1993. He has since served as the Deputy Prime Minister of Belize for the period, 1998 to 2007. In 2008, he became the Leader of the Opposition following the resignation of Said Musa. He served in that capacity up until 2011 when he was succeeded by Francis Fonseca. Briceno was recently re-elected as the Area Representative for Orange Walk Central last week for the sixth consecutive General Elections