By Marion V. Ali
PUP leader Francis Fonseca says that his party’s national executive supports the decision to suspend Arthur Saldivar pending the outcome of investigations into alleged misconduct.
Fonseca told reporters this week that further to the suspension on Wednesday, September 17, the same body will decide what measures, if any, to take against Saldivar. Fonseca was responding to questions about Saldivar’s suspension and a subsequent protest that Saldivar’s camp staged in front of the party headquarters last Friday.
Fonseca gave an assurance that the party’s national executive will act unilaterally. “We will reconvene a meeting of the national executive on September 17th at which the report will be tabled and discussed and at which [point] a decision will be taken based on that report and the recommendations contained therein…
“We understand the Belize Rural North
committee’s…concerns, their frustration and they are absolutely entitled to support their candidate and we have no problem with that”, Fonseca continued.
The PUP leader said that his party’s national executive stands united behind the decision to suspend Saldivar.
But Saldivar’s Belize Rural North Executive Committee took to the streets last Friday to object to his suspension. Public Relations Officer for that committee, Oswin Blease, told The Reporter that they only learned of the suspension on the news and that their executive branch held a meeting and supported the protest on grounds that Saldivar’s suspension “was unconstitutional and baseless”.
“A suspension of any member can only be made via the constituency arm of the executive branch, and the national executive in our view, which is a different arm, a higher body of the PUP, does not have the authority to suspend Arthur Saldivar,” Blease argued. He maintained that a decision to suspend has to come through the constituency branch.
Blease said that had the suspension not involved their candidate and some other candidate, they would have objected anyway because the proper procedures were circumvented.
While the protest numbered fewer than 20, Blease said that the people who turned up came from Crooked Tree, Lemonal, and the Belize River Valley.
The party’s committee tasked with gathering the relevant statements and the investigation comprises the party chairman, the legal advisor and two members of the Order of Distinguished Service.
Fonseca has said that the committee is looking at a claim made by Melonie Coye, a former client of Saldivar, who alleges that he walked off with just over $900,000 of her money, as well as “a number of other issues.”