BELIZE CITY, Tues. Mar. 22, 2016–Social media was abuzz on Monday, March 21, after both Patrick Faber, United Democratic Party area representative for Collet, and John Saldivar, UDP area representative for Belmopan, formally announced that they would be seeking election as the party’s deputy leader. Their announcements were made immediately after the UDP’s national convention held at the Ecumenical College in Dangriga on Sunday, March 20, and just days after Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega, UDP stalwart in the north, announced that he would demit his position as UDP deputy leader.
At Sunday’s event, four UDP leaders were endorsed to continue in their existing posts: party leader Dean Barrow, chairman Alberto August, second deputy leader Erwin Contreras, and deputy chairman Fern Gutierrez.
Vega, who was conspicuously absent from the convention, did not seek re-election as deputy leader and Contreras stood down from an earlier proposition to contend for Vega’s seat, leaving only Faber and Saldivar to face off at a future convention.
On Sunday, the UDP constitution was amended to allow for an extraordinary convention as the need arises, and furthermore, to make provisions for the appointment of the party’s secretary general, Pearl Stuart, to the Central Executive.
Guest speaker at Sunday’s event was Dr. Arlie Petters, who was appointed in 2010 to lead a council of science advisors to the Prime Minister.
In 2013, Vega defeated Faber. Gutierrez and August successfully ran on Vega’s slate. Both Barrow and Contreras were confirmed in their positions.