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PUP battles PUP in court

Attorney Arthur Saldivar was rejected by his party in his application to be a candidate in the Belmopan constituency convention

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. June 28, 2018– In Belmopan, five persons had applied to contest the People’s United Party’s Belmopan constituency convention, but the applications of two of the applicants, Patrick Andrews and attorney Arthur Saldivar, were rejected by the PUP’s vetting committee.

The vetting committee gave the nod to retired military officer Oscar Mira, who is reportedly a favorite of PUP leader, Hon. John Briceño, and two other candidates, Weizsman Pat, a former public officer and Michelle Rodriguez, a newcomer to the PUP’s camp who has been rumored to be the “significant other” of Melvin “Flippin” Hulse, the former UDP Stann Creek West area representative.

The convention was scheduled to take place this coming Sunday, July 1, but that date has been pushed back by a week, to Sunday, July 8, by the PUP in court this morning, due to the legal challenge from Saldivar, whose fixed date claim came up in the Supreme Court of Justice Shona Griffith.

Saldivar had filed a claim against the core members of the PUP executive: party leader Hon. John Briceño; party chairman, Henry Charles Usher; secretary general, Linsford Castillo; legal advisor, Eamon Courtenay; and the Belmopan PUP chairman, John Wade. All five officers are named as defendants in the lawsuit.

In court, attorney Andrew Marshalleck, S.C., is defending Secretary General Castillo, and Belmopan chairman John Wade, while attorney Hon. Said Musa, S.C., is defending Chairman Henry Charles Usher, and attorney Eamon Courtenay, S.C., is defending Hon. John Briceño. Legal advisor Eamon Courtenay is being defended by attorney Gavin Courtenay, his son.

This morning, the court engaged in some house-cleaning matters as far as the case is concerned: dates for written submission were agreed on by the two sides and a list of the authorities to be cited by Saldivar’s attorney, Kristoff Rodriguez, was handed over to the defendants’ attorneys. The case is expected to be argued next Friday, July 6, after all the agreed necessary paperwork, including skeleton arguments, has been filed and submitted.

Saldivar arrived at court this morning on a bus that was loaded with his supporters, who stayed on the Regent Street side of Battlefield Park, overlooking the court building.

And as the hearing came to an end, Saldivar went back to where his supporters were gathered and spoke to reporters.

Asked what it was that he wanted, Saldivar said he wants to get the chance to vie for the position of standard bearer in the Belmopan constituency and be able to “represent my people, and to be given a chance to run against anybody in Belmopan.”

Saldivar explained that there are serious issues to be dealt with in Belmopan and Belize. He cited the cost of living and the high crime rate plaguing the country.

Saldivar was asked whether he would want to run as an independent candidate or form his own party.

Saldivar responded by saying, “I am a PUP.”

When it was suggested to him that he should have just gone away after his candidacy was rejected, Saldivar replied: “This is not a futile effort. If it were; I would have been laughed out of court.”

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