PUP leader says absence of 12 party executives from campaign meeting is no cause for concern

By Marion V. Ali
Staff Reporter

People’s United Party (PUP) Leader, Francis Fonseca, says the absence of 12 of his party’s area representatives and standard bearers from a National Executive meeting to discuss general election campaign matters is of no worry to him.

The party called its meeting for Tuesday afternoon at its Queen Street Headquarters in Belize City, but there were about a dozen key representatives absent at the table. 
They included big names like former leader, John Briceño, Lake I standard bearer, Cordel Hyde, Daniel Silva and Michel Chebat from Cayo, along with several others from the Belize District and the northern caucus.

While street talk has attributed the “no show” to a not-so-subtle display of lack of confidence in Fonseca’s leadership, based on the poll results of the last three elections, he and his supporters have diwn-played that theory as no cause for worry.  

“What is this talk of a boycott? I don’t know what you are talking about. There is nothing; no such boycott. …At many meetings we don’t have full attendance so there is absolutely nothing to be read into that at all about any boycott”, Fonseca exclaimed. 
Fonseca would go on to later ask the media to “stop engaging in Mr Barrow’s game of trying to undermine the leadership” of the PUP.
The PUP leader explained that Briceño was out of the country with his son on a medical trip, and that “a number of standard bearers had funerals”.  Orlando Habet, who also did not make it from Cayo was tied up in a board meeting, Fonseca said, and Michel Chebat had a court proceeding to attend.

In like fashion, when he responded to a reporter’s question on what the absences could mean, PUP Chairman, Henry Usher said:
“I know a few of them gave us apologies as to why they couldn’t be here today. And I believe others had work-related items they had to deal with. There is nothing organized about it.”  
Usher reasoned that the majority of the area representatives and standard bearers showed up for the general meeting and that it was a good meeting, which looked at the party’s plan going forward in the coming months.

As to what the meeting entailed, Fonseca said that because the party believes the general elections will be called very early, they met to discuss the foundation of their manifesto, a national tour which they have dubbed “Power to the People”, which Fonseca said will start in the west and move southwards, and other line items such as voter registration.  
Fonseca did not speak of a replacement for newly-departed National Campaign Manager, Godfrey Smith. 

He denied that he, or anyone on his behalf, has approached former PUP Senator/minister, Eamon Courtenay to fill the void. Instead, he said the party is taking a more structured approach, which will have regional coordinators at its helm.  

Meanwhile, Fonseca has reportedly denied that reports of a photograph which has surfaced showing him meeting with Lord Michael Ashcroft at the Radisson Fort George, was taken as recently as this year.

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