During today’s National Executive meeting of the PUP, it was decided that the National Convention will take place in early 2016. That is where a new Party Leader and some posts in the National Executive will be up for election. Chairman, Henry Usher explained.
HENRY CHARLES USHER
“A National Convention which means that other posts on the National Executive will be up for election as well, not only the party leader’s post but other posts. In fact almost all of them except the ones that the Constitution says that are not elected at a National Convention, that includes Secretary General, the heads of the Marshals the different units and the heads of the Caucus chairpersons, those ones are not up for election but the rest are.”
Usher went on to explain the nominations process, who gets to nominate the candidates and the deadline for the nominations.
HENRY CHARLES USHER
“The date for the National Convention will be the 31st of January and the deadline for nominations will be the 15th of December. Those nominations have to be made in writing and it has to come from one of the units of the party. There are two different units, the governing unit and the standing unit. The governing units are like the constituency committees, the National Party Council, the Caucuses; those are all governing units of the party. Then you also have standing units, the Marshals, the UWG and so on. Any one of those units can nominate a person or a position on the Executive.”
Now, the question and discussion that has taken centre stage in many corners is, ‘who will lead the PUP?’ As we mentioned yesterday, there are several names being thrown out there including Cordel Hyde, Julius Espat, Kareem Musa, John Briceno and Florencio Marin Jr. But according to the Chairman of the Party, while it is tradition to have a parliamentarian vie for the post of Party Leader, the nominations are not limited to just elected representatives. Usher drew an analogy of when George Price was Party Leader while Florencio Marin Sr was the Leader of the Opposition.
HENRY CHARLES USHER
“It does not have to be, it can be any party member that is nominated by one of the units. Practice is that it has been a Parliamentarian but we had one instance in 1984 if you recall the leader of the party was the Rt.Honorable George Price but he lost his seat in ’83. So actually Florencio Marin was the Leader of the Opposition and Mr. Price was the leader of the party so you have had some history of having a leader that did not sit in the House. It doesn’t have to come from the House but by practice it usually does. There is not a specific Terms of Reference for a Party Leader. Of course all nominations will be vetted by the ODS, by the party for all positions not only Party Leader but certainly it has to be somebody that has the respect of the country. This is the Party Leader of the entire party but for a specific Terms of Reference, no.
The People’s United Party has seen six party leaders in its 65 years of existence. The first leader was John Smith who served from 1950 through to 1952. He was succeeded by Leigh Richardson, who served as Acting Party Leader from 1953 – 1956. From 1956 through to 1996, Leader Emeritus George Cadle Price was the head of the PUP; then came Said Musa from 1996 – 2008 then John Briceno from 2008 – 2011 and up until the end of January, the Party Leadership remains with Francis Fonseca. The National Convention will be held via delegates meaning that each constituency will be entitled to one delegate per twenty five votes or four delegates per hundred votes received in last week’s General Elections. As we mentioned yesterday, Julius Espat did tell us that he has no interest in running for the Party Leader position. Meanwhile we had been reliably informed that John Briceno is in discussion with close family and friends while social media has been buzzing that Cordel Hyde will be throwing in his hat.