By Marion Ali
The People’s United Party (PUP) called another national executive meeting this week to discuss a request for a convention that would have seen the PUP’s leadership contested.
In what could only be described as a sustained boycott, 10 of the 12 missing representatives from the last executive meeting, decided to abstain from this week’s meeting as well.
Two of the 12 representatives made the meeting, namely the PUP’s Pickstock standard bearer, Dr. Francis Smith, and the Belize Rural North’s standard bearer, Major Lloyd Jones, for whom an endorsement convention is yet to take place.
After a three-hour-long discussion, PUP Leader Francis Fonseca emerged to announce to reporters that 78 percent of their membership took part in the meeting. The main topic of discussion he said, was a letter, signed by the 12 who abstained from the previous meeting. That letter asked that an urgent national convention take place to determine the leadership of the party.
Fonseca explained that the following decisions were taken: “One, a national convention, which we had agreed to from our last joint meeting of standard bearers and our national executive on March 18 – we reaffirmed and confirmed that decision, which was taken on March 18, at which we had 28 of our standard bearers present and every single one of them signed off on that agreement and resolution for the holding of a national convention at the earliest – no later than the end of this year, and that the post of party leader would not be open to challenge at that national convention.”
He told journalists that all proposals and recommendations for a restructuring of the national executive will be discussed fully and tabled at a meeting of the party’s national executive.
Lastly, Fonseca explained that nationwide consultations on policy issues are ongoing. “They have been ongoing since we launched the social justice agenda, since we launched the women’s agenda and the education agenda”, he stated.
PUP Chairman Henry Usher, then spoke of Smith’s and Jones’ decision to attend this week’s meeting and the letter in question. He made it clear that both men now support the positions taken – to hold the national convention as early as possible and not contest the leadership of the party. He added that consultations would take place this Sunday in Cayo.
Usher did not venture to make a guess if Daniel Silva, one of the 10 who has boycotted both executive meetings thus far, and who also signed the letter, would attend Sunday’s consultation.
But Silva’s Facebook page announced the event saying, “People’s Assembly to be held on Sunday August 2nd 2015 at the Theodocio Ochoa Park in San Ignacio. …Special Invited Guests include Party Leader Hon. Francis Fonseca and Standard bearers from the West.”