By Marion Ali
While the internal wranglings in the opposition People’s United Party (PUP) over the party’s leadership have subsided, the issues of contention between the “G-11” and the party remain on the discussion table.
On Tuesday of this week, the two persons selected to represent the group of 11, Johnny Briceño and Josue Carballo, attended and participated fully in a parliamentary caucus preceding Wednesday’s House meeting. Prior to that, last Thursday, two other members of the group, Dr. Francis Smith and Paul Thompson met with representatives of the party to solidify a unified stance, heading into what many believe will be early general elections.
Deputy Party Leader, Julius Espat told The Reporter this week: “This is a continuous process. We will remain in dialogue.”
Espat said that while a final decision and a venue have not yet been set, both sides have proposed that the PUP’s National Convention should be held on September 27th, to coincide with the party’s 65th anniversary.
Espat in an earlier conversation with this newspaper, explained that the PUP has decided the party’s leadership will not be contested in the convention. This was one of the points of contention that the 11 had taken issue with, because they felt that the party’s leadership, in light of the last three election results, lacks the strength to face off with the ruling party in the big race. This newspaper has since learned that the party has given early elections as the reason for not allowing a challenge for the leadership, given what would be a short time-frame before elections.
The group of 11 had brought up a number of other concerns which they are currently discussing with the party.
For instance, they felt that there should have been some type of consultation with the entire 31 standard bearers on something as major as having a convention at which the leadership would not be challenged.
But in an earlier conversation withthe Reporter , Espat said that the 11 members and, in fact, all 31 members had indeed unanimously voted at a meeting of all executive members earlier this year to keep Francis Fonseca as their leader.
The 11 are also of the view that while the area representatives and the executive council should be unified in the decision-making process, they should operate independently of each other.
Additionally, they feel that the party’s policies should be more rigid and equipped with better checks and balances. These are all matters, however, that are being discussed with a view to striking some common ground.
Meanwhile, John Briceño is scheduled to be one of the key speakers at this Sunday’s Power to the People Rally in Sand Hill Village. Rallies of this nature are expected to be held in all six districts before general elections are held.