The silence in the People’s United Party has been broken today surrounding the upcoming leadership convention. When we last spoke to several PUP Parliamentarians, namely, Cordel Hyde and John Briceno, we were told that they were in discussions with their families and friends and that there was a strong possibility that they would be submitting their names for leader. As the PUP Chairman indicated some weeks ago, an applicant need not be an elected official and on that token, even Lisa Shoman had expressed interest in running for the PUP leader. When we say the silence has been broken, it is because once Hyde and Briceno had expressed interest, there was nothing more coming out of the blue and white camps and so, now with the deadline of December 15 fastly approaching, there is some news tonight following a meeting of seven parliamentarians and other standard bearers that took place today. Out of the meeting came the agreement that Francis Fonseca who recently threw in the leadership towel on November 5, is going at it again. Deputy Party Leader, Julius Espat spoke to us via phone this evening following their two hour meeting.
“Well a group of us from the south and the west and we had a small delegation from the north and Dolores was here and the Party Leader was here; we asked him to come to the meeting because we believe that he is the best option for us as leader of the People’s United Party. We admire him and so we have urged him to consider putting in his name. We believe that we have enough delegates to be able to make sure that happens and we showed him the numbers and we had a good discussion and I believe in the end he agreed.”
As we mentioned, directly after the November 4 General Elections, Fonseca announced his resignation as party leader and added that this term would be his last as an Area Representative. So, what has changed in the last month that now brings on this decision? Well according to Espat, he believes that the decision to step down was an emotional one and maintains that Fonseca is the fittest for the job.
“He did what he did because at the time he believed it was the best thing for the party, it was, in my opinion a humble decision that he made at the time but also it is my opinion that it was an emotional decision and so we showed him all the reasons why we believed that he should remain and he listened to us; it was a long meeting, it took maybe over two hours; he listened to all of us. It was eleven constituencies present so I believe we convinced him and well he agreed here tentatively that he would put in his name on Tuesday. Present at the meeting you had Honorable Espat, Oscar Requena, Rodwell Ferguson, myself, Florencio Marin, Francis was there of course, Honorable Landy Habet and joining us was Dolores Balderamos, Patrick Andrews and a couple other delegates from other constituencies but not standard bearers. We think at this time the best person for the job is the Honorable Francis Fonseca.”
Fonseca had been serving as the PUP’s Party Leader since November 2011. Since then there have been four elections that the opposition party has been unable to win. Many were blaming the leadership of the party for those losses at the polls and just a few weeks before the last general elections, several Standard Bearers, dubbed the G-11 had begun clamouring for a national convention. Fonseca had agreed to the national convention but then the Prime Minister had called the General Elections before the PUP could have carried out their internal processes for the convention. Aside from losing at the polls, there was also the historic resignation of Cayo North Area Representative, Joseph Mahmud followed by the resignation of the Dangriga Area Representative, Ivan Ramos. Both Mahmud and Ramos had cited internal problems with the leadership as one of the reasons for their departure. Despite all these things, Fonseca has agreed to try again. As for Cordel Hyde, we were unable to reach him today and when we spoke with John Briceno, who is Fonseca’s predecessor, he assured that, he is still in the race and come next week he will be submitting his application. The National Convention comes up on January 31, 2016 at a venue to be announced.