Headline — 30 November 2012
Francis and Florencio bow to “Papas” and Johnny!

“Papas” Garcia may make bid for chairman of the PUP Corozal Bay committee

Trouble has been brewing up north inside Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. Over two weeks ago on Saturday, November 10, the PUP’s 2012 standard-bearer for Corozal Bay, Gregorio “Papas” Garcia, Jr., was not allowed to enter a hastily convened convention to elect an executive committee for the constituency.

“Papas” Garcia, who lost by 148 votes in the March 7 general elections, and who is considered by some to be an emerging young leader in the party, had expected that there would have been a contested convention sometime before the end of January – the deadline set by the party’s Northern Caucus for branch conventions for the 8 northern constituencies.

But days before November 10, Garcia got wind that the present chairman of the committee, Roberto Pasos, was making arrangements to have a closed-door convention without the participation of Garcia and his supporters inside the existing executive and the wider PUP community. Pasos, our sources say, was claiming that he was acting on directives from the party’s leadership.

Garcia and former PUP leader and Orange Walk PUP boss, John Briceño, complained to party leader Francis Fonseca, but to no avail. On Saturday, November 10, reportedly at the home of PUP Corozal Southeast area representative Florencio Marin, Jr., Pasos and his cohorts went ahead with a convention, denying entry to Garcia and a number of his would-be supporters.

Elected on that new branch executive for Corozal Bay were at least two of the three Corozal Bay politicians Garcia had in fact beaten to become standard-bearer for the constituency in January 2011.

It is known that Florencio Marin, Jr. and John Briceño have not always gotten along, and with Marin recently promoted to deputy leader under PUP leader Francis Fonseca, whom he had actively supported in Fonseca’s failed leadership bid against Briceño in 2008, the move to ice Garcia was seen by some as an attempt to shift the balance of power in the north, where Briceño has maintained control for much of the last 15 years.

But Briceño, Garcia and their allies did not take it lying down. Our reports are that last night in Belize City at a meeting with Fonseca, the Northern Caucus executive delivered a letter to him insisting that a new convention be held.

After some exchange, the PUP leader relented, and a date in January will be set for a new Corozal Bay executive convention – in keeping with the PUP Constitution that calls for branch committee conventions to be held every two years with at least 30 days notice being given before the convention can be held.

Our sources say that Garcia will now likely make a bid himself for the post of chairman of the PUP Corozal Bay committee.

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