Toledo East Bi-election Looms Following Michael Espat’s Passing

Toledo East Bi-election Looms Following Michael Espat’s Passing

While Prime Minister John Briceno says Espat did not speak about a possible succession plan last Friday, the government is now forced to hold a bi-election to select a new Toledo East Area Representative. By law, GOB must fill the vacant seat by July 23. Incidentally, even before Espat’s death, discussions were already being had to inject new and younger blood into the Toledo East division.  Even Espat was contemplating support for his son, Melhem Espat, to follow in his footsteps. But his plans were being challenged by CEO Dr. Osmond Martinez, who served under PM Briceno. Martinez stated that a constituency is not a kingdom that can be passed, indicating that he would not step aside for the younger Espat to go unchallenged. However, yesterday Espat’s brother stated that in the People’s United Party, legacy is not a word taken lightly. We asked the PM about the statements today and whether he would support Espat replacing his father in the south. But he insisted that out of respect for Espat’s family, it was too early to have that discussion.

Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “Let me start off by saying that it will be difficult to replace Mike Espat. Mike Espat was larger than life but that said I don’t think we should be discussing that at this moment. Right now we need to recognize the tremendous work and life of service of Mike Espat. We should respect the mourning period of the family. We have time to deal with all of that and as a party we will deal with that after we have put him in his resting place which will be in PG I’m told I think it will be next week Wednesday. The government planning I think it’s an unofficial funeral. I’m told that only Heads of State and Governor Generals get state funerals be it present or retired heads of state. All officials get or members of the House would get an official funeral but I think that Mike might be the only one that has died in office. You know we’ve had others that died or have already retired so he died in office but we are going to give him a proper send off that he deserves.”

Reporter: Do you believe that this may create a rift within the party because we understand that there are several persons now eyeing the position ?

Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “Let me repeat. We will deal with that after we have laid Mike Espat’s body to rest. That’s going to be after next week.”

Aside from Melhem Espat and Dr. Martinez, Ray Coleman of Punta Gorda and Senator Bevin Cal CEO have expressed interest in electoral politics in Toledo East. Most recently, Punta Gorda Mayor Carlos “Obeah” Galvez has expressed interest in throwing his hat in the political ring for Toledo East.  This morning, Galvez appeared on The Morning Show and announced that he would be willing to take a shot at the vacant seat. 

Carlos “Obeah” Galvez, Mayor, Punta Gorda: “Now it looks like it will be six or seven. I spoke to Honorable Oscar Requena’s brother and he has interest in running. So -“

Troy Gabb, Host, The Morning Show: But nothing wrong with that. That’s democracy.”

Carlos “Obeah” Galvez, Mayor, Punta Gorda: “I am one of the longest serving Mayors in that thing. Besides Mike, Mike has six elections under his belt, I have four. The Prime Minister, the boss of all bosses I call him, he calls the shots. The Prime Minister is the boss of all bosses, he is the leader, he is the Prime Minister, he is the Leader of our party and I will tell you plain I will respect the Prime Minister. But a decision has to be made and if you tell me I will run yes I am prepared to run. I have the second most victories or wins in that area. Some people don’t even run for village council. Some don’t even run for nothing and what ? They should be awarded ? That’s not the way it works.”

Troy Gabb, Host, The Morning Show: So I think the wishes is that you don’t have a problem going to a convention if that’s the case.

Carlos “Obeah” Galvez, Mayor, Punta Gorda: “No no listen. I win six, I won’t brag and boast and knock my chest, I have never lost a convention. Put me in a next convention and let us see the result.”

We’ll keep following these developments in the south.

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