By Benjamin Flowers, Staff Reporter
Today,Sunday, members and supporters of the United Democratic Party (UDP) gathered in Dangriga for the party’s National Convention.
Of a total of 706 delegates, 689 turned out to vote on matters relating to the party’s future. Among those matters, the party appointed its current Secretary General, Pearl Stuart, to the Central Executive Committee. They also gave the National Party Council special powers to delay conventions where necessary.
The special powers will allow for the NPC to delay the next convention for a date past January 1, 2020. Alberto August, returning party chairman explained that the convention was due in late 2015; however, with several by-elections, the general, and municipal elections all falling within that year, the party had no choice but to delay.
The convention also served to endorse the party’s leadership and executive for the next four years. Endorsed positions in the party include: Party Leader, Dean Barrow; the Second Deputy Leader, Erwin Contreras; the Party Chairman Alberto August; and the Deputy Party Chair Fern Gutierrez.
The only position which was not filled at the convention was the post of first deputy leader, the post recently vacated by Gaspar Vega. Vega had announced just weeks before the convention that not only would he vacate the post, but would also retire from party politics.
Now competing for the post are John Saldivar, Belmopan Area Representative, and Patrick Faber, Collet Representative. Erwin Contreras, who once expressed a desire to contest for the post, announced this week that he will not do so.
The NPC has yet to announce the date for that next convention.