Turmoil ends, new PUP leader chosen

BELMOPAN, Belize, Friday October 21, 2011 – Former Attorney General Francis Fonseca has been unanimously chosen as leader of People’s United Party (PUP) ending a crisis within the
61-year-old political institution.

However, former prime minister Said Musa will act as Leader of the Opposition pending Fonseca’s endorsement at the National Party Council next week Saturday.

“Francis Fonseca said in the meeting that he would prefer for the process to completed, for the endorsement to be finished for him to be the party leader, before he assumes leader of the opposition,” Party Chairman Henry Charles Usher told the media.

“It was then recommended by the national executive that the senior Member of Parliament, the member of Fort George, be the leader of the opposition,”

The party was thrown into a tailspin after John Briceño officially resigned as Opposition Leader Tuesday, two weeks after he stepped down as party leader.

Interim leader Mark Espat said he too would relinquish his post.

On Thursday, Fonseca got the nod by the National Executive after three candidates – Julius Espat, Mike Espat and Arthur Saldivar – withdrew from the race.

Fonseca said he was asked to contest the post by the family of George Price, one of the party’s founding members and the Father of The Nation.

“It was a difficult decision I made to submit my acceptance to the nomination for the post of party leader. It was a long thought out decision but I thought it was in the best interest of the party and I feel as I did years ago when I first offered myself for party leader that I have a contribution to make to the P.U.P. and to the country of Belize,” he explained.

“It won’t be easy,” he said of the challenge ahead.

“A change in leadership does not mean there is suddenly a new wave of support for the PUP.  Obviously that is not the case.

“I will have to go out every day as the leader of this party and prove to the Belizean people that we are a credible and viable alternative to the United Democratic Party and I am prepared to do that job with the support of the other thirty representatives of the PUP and the member of the national executive, the member and supporters of the PUP,” Fonseca added. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)