Editorial — 11 April 2014

Channel 7 reported on Wednesday evening that former PUP Lake Independence area representative (1998-2012) Cordel Hyde will become the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) standard bearer for the division in an endorsement convention next month. We had been hearing much the same thing for a few weeks now, but in such delicate matters one has to wait and see.

Since withdrawing from his chairmanship of PUP Lake I early in 2012 when his son became terminally ill in New York City, Cordel Hyde has worked in different capacities at Kremandala. The PUP standard bearers that we know, are holding on to their day jobs. At the point when they begin full time campaigning for general elections, things change.

Since 2009, the faction which is presently in control of the PUP has taken the position that Kremandala is in the paid employ of the Barrow UDP government. That PUP faction even published its own newspaper, called The National Perspective, for two plus years, until late 2011 when they regained control of the PUP following the resignation from leadership of Johnny Briceño.
There had been a competition for PUP leadership following the resignation of Said Musa as PUP Leader in February of 2008. In a leadership convention that March, Johnny Briceño had defeated Francis Fonseca by a narrow margin. In that convention, Cordel Hyde and Mark Espat, then the PUP Albert area representative (1998-2012), had supported Mr. Briceño.

The political fortunes of Cordel Hyde and Mark Espat, brothers-in-law, had been closely linked since the G-7 PUP Cabinet Ministers challenged the inordinate power of Finance Minister Ralph Fonseca in August of 2004. When Espat was fired from Cabinet in November of 2004, Hyde resigned from Cabinet in protest. They were returned to Cabinet in late 2005, but were removed again in 2007, around the time when Mr. Briceño also resigned from Cabinet.

The circumstances under which Mark Espat withdrew from chairmanship of the PUP Albert constituency in early 2012 were somewhat different from those of Cordel Hyde’s, and the aftermath of the Mark Espat withdrawal was more rancorous than the aftermath of Cordel Hyde’s. It is of note that Mark Espat was Interim Leader of the PUP following the Briceño resignation in October of 2011, and during that eleven-day period he was endorsed for full-time leadership by 30 of the 31 PUP constituencies. Mark Espat’s decision to decline PUP leadership was his decision.

The performance of the Francis Fonseca-led PUP in the March 2012 general elections was a stunning one. Mr. Fonseca’s PUP came within two seats of pulling a mighty upset, and everyone and his brother knew that if Mark had run in Albert and Cordel had run in Lake, those two seats would have come out blue. They had proved that in 2008 when they retained their Southside City seats at a time when the PUP were losing 25 of the 31 seats nationwide.

It was totally convenient for the PUP leadership to blame their defeat on Mark and Cordel, and the party line is the party line. If you read this newspaper’s editorials in the weeks before the general election of March 2012, nevertheless, you will see that we warned the PUP that they had treated those two individuals with great disrespect, and that it could end up costing them the election. In fact, that is how things turned out, and the PUP leadership, quite naturally, refused to accept the blame. The leadership is always right, you know. In fact, as late as the Carlos Diaz attempted candidacy, the PUP could have still won the Lake, but PUP leadership obstinately rejected Diaz and went with Martin Galvez. Insulted, Mr. Diaz ran independently and cost the PUP 223 valuable votes.

Following the election, Mark Espat established a company which was contracted by the new UDP government to lead superbond re-negotiations. The PUP poured crazy opprobrium on his head. Cordel Hyde, to repeat, went to work at Kremandala, and remained the clear favorite of the PUP Lake I Committee. It is that Committee which is responsible for his re-emergence. Check stats.

Where Cordel’s decision is concerned, he is a grown man. Family is family, and we will support him in any way we can. Kremandala is not a PUP institution. Neither have we been a UDP institution, contrary to what the present PUP leadership has been saying. Our position is: when you have been around long enough, you can ignore silly propaganda.

If the ruling party, for its part, now decides to treat us like a PUP institution, that would not be surprising. The reality has been for years now that we feature radio and television commentators, such as Ya Ya Marin Coleman, who are consistently critical of the Barrow government, while the Amandala columnist, Audrey Matura-Shepherd, pulls no punches when she analyzes UDP government policies and behavior.

In reality, not much changes for Kremandala. The PUP treat us as if we are UDP, and the UDP consider us to be troublemakers. We are the media group which allows the greatest freedom to our editors and journalists. That is because we know that when our journalists step out of line, it is the people who will put them in check.

This really should be the way that a democracy works, that the people put the politicians in check. Because of their five-year term of office, however, it is a long time before we can make ruling politicians feel our pressure. In the media business, on the other hand, every day is election day and every week is election week. The people have the power. Power to the people.

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