By Marion Ali
People’s United Party (PUP) Leader, John Briceno has replaced the party’s three Senators who were appointed under former leader, Francis Fonseca.
The new Senators-elect are Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay; former Belize Tourism Board (BTB) Director Valerie Woods, who is the Country Representative for Chukka Caribbean Adventures; and Paul Thompson, the PUP’s former standard bearer for the Albert Division.
They replace Senior Counsel Lisa Shoman, who led the PUP’s senatorial work under Fonseca’s tenure as party leader, attorney Anthony Sylvestre and former PUP Belmopan standard bearer, Patrick Andrews.
In nominating the three new senators, Briceno said it was important to find the right balance, and in placing the best people who can defend the party’s position for the country. He also felt that he needed to give other people a chance to serve.
“Our party is full of talented people; we need to be able to give opportunity to other people…I believe these three persons can represent us well and that they are going to do good work in the Senate. We expect a lot from them and we are also going to demand a lot from these three Senators,” Briceno said.
Lisa Shoman, who was able to raise issues of national concern and dissect them for the lay person to comprehend during her term in the Senate, will serve as part of the newly configured Belize/Guatemala bipartisan team, which comprises all former PUP foreign ministers.
Woods is the wife of former PUP Tourism Minister and former Foreign Minister and Attorney General, Godfrey Smith. She has served on the PUP’s Public Relations Committee and had expressed interest in serving the party under Briceno’s leadership. Briceno has described her as a respected woman in the business and tourism communities. Thompson is the president of the Belize Basketball Federation. Courtenay has served as Senator, Attorney General and Minister of Government.