12 PUP heavyweights call for National Convention; leadership tested

By Marion Ali
Staff Reporter

Twelve standard bearers of the People’s United Party (PUP), some of whom are considered senior members, have written to PUP Leader Francis Fonseca and Chairman Henry Usher, calling for an urgent national party convention, exposing their discontent and lack of confidence in the leadership of the party.

The 12, including former ministers and former leader, John Briceño, Cordel Hyde and Dan Silva, met last Friday, according to a public statement on Silva’s Facebook page, “to discuss the state of affairs” in the PUP, during which they concluded that “something has to happen.”

In very explicit language, Silva went on to share his and comrades’ view that “in three straight elections during the last six months, starting with the Cayo North bye-election in January, the people have been very clear with every chance they have gotten. They are not impressed with our party. Something is not right with us. We are still vulnerable to the labels of the past.”

Silva explained that even in the recent by-election in Dangriga, where the PUP’s Anthony Sabal, whom he described as someone of stalwart character and “whose respect and standing in the Dangriga community is practically unparalleled”, that individual was rejected by record margins because “people still have very deep concerns about us as a Party.”

The PUP, the 12 argue, has not held a national convention in almost five years, which contravenes its constitution because the party, according to Silva, has always held a national convention every two years in the month of November.  
“People see this and wonder what will happen when we are in government, if we are prepared to violate our party’s constitution like this when we are in opposition”, Silva charged.

To counter the contents of the signed letter and Silva’s public statement, the party released a commercial in which Briceño endorses Fonseca as party leader, but that endorsement came prior to the Dangriga by-elections.

Silva ends his comments by saying, “It doesn’t matter when Barrow will call elections. What matters is that we are in the best fighting form possible when that day comes.”
Silva has planned a People’s Assembly in his Cayo Central constituency for this coming Sunday – an event to which he has publicly invited Fonseca to attend.

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