The PUP Belmopan Convention will take place in two days with only three candidates: Weisman Patt, Oscar Mira and Michelle Rodriguez. Arthur Saldivar’s last ditch effort in court to force his Party to accept him as a candidate was a failure. Saldivar was back in court today as he continued his fight to represent the People’s United Party (PUP) in Belmopan. Saldivar brought a claim against members of the PUP, namely, Party Leader, John Briceno, Chairman, Henry Charles Usher, Secretary General, Linsford Castillo, Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay, John Bernard Wade, and Leni-Jo Usher. In the Supreme Court, Senior Courtenay Eamon Courtenay represented John Briceno and Linsford Castillo while Michel Chebat represented Eamon Courtenay and John Wade. Saldivar claimed that Leni-Jo Usher, the Chairperson of the Vetting Committee was biased towards him. Usher is out of the country. Nonetheless, Arthur Saldivar’s attorney Christophe Rodriguez requested that the court proceed in her absence and the Court accommodated the request. After hearing both sides, the Court decided that it could not make an order of bias against a party that was not present before the court and dismissed the case. The PUP Chairman spoke to the media following the dismissal.
Henry Charles Usher – PUP Chairman: “From the very beginning we believe that this claim was a spurious one, it was unsubstantiated and we are glad that Justice Abel was able to give a decision so overwhelmingly in our favor and dismiss all nine or all fourteen claims in this matter. I think it was important that justice Abel pointed out that this is really a internal political matter and the courts have no business interfering in internal political matters. It’s unfortunate and really discouraging to see a member of the party make claims against a sitting member of the National executive, a member of the ODS and of course a Chairperson of the vetting committee but it seems that they would have stopped at anything to get their ways so I am glad the court was able to see through and give us the judgment that we believe is the right one.”
When the session was ongoing in court, Eamon Courtenay addressed Saldivar’s claim that the Vetting Committee was biased towards him. Courtenay said Saldivar was given an opportunity to appear before the National Executive in early August and he received a fair hearing. Furthermore, the National Executive did not approve his application to be a candidate. The media asked Henry Usher whether or not the vetting committee of the PUP needs to be reformed.
Henry Charles Usher – PUP Chairman: “We spoken about perhaps formalizing the procedures when it comes to vetting of candidates and selection of candidates but what I can state for the record: one that the process that we use this year and we continue to use it because some conventions are still up coming; one that we have used in the past. The National executive creates a vetting committee made up of members of the National executive. That vetting committee vets all applications for all the constituencies for all applicants and indeed make recommendations to the National Executive and the National Executive decides if they are going to accept it or not. Every single application that went before the vetting committee those that we accepted and those that were rejected were then taken to the subsequent meeting of the National executive and the decisions were either gratified or not gratified. When it comes to the creation of the vetting committee it is done by National Executive. What the council for the applicant was claiming in there is that the Committee of the National party council is inaccurate and it is what it is. It is a vetting committee, it does not make final decisions on any person. That is done by the National Executive of the party.”
Despite going up against his Party and losing today, Arthur Saldivar said it was worth it.
Arthur Saldivar – Plaintiff: “We cannot win them all in terms of getting a decision in our favor and in this particular regard what must be born in mind is that there were a couple issues that prevented the outcome that I would have liked to have had: The first being given the time frame and the fact that one of the main parties to actions could not have been served. The whole issue of biased was not addressed; the court could not bring it self to address actual or apparent bias which was the main basis of my application so in that particular regard given what transpired because again we were up against it with time. We are talking about Sunday being the convention; the decision was taken to advance both issues together. That being the injunction and the claim. Here in lies; this is where the cookie crumble. We had the previous case which ended in a default judgment. The view of my Attorneys were that there was a requirement to bring a new claim as opposed attaching this application to the old one so that was done. In relation to that being done the court is saying no that it should have been a continuation of the case that we perceived to have been finished. That is where the whole duty of conduct was deemed to have been breached.”