BELIZE CITY–Saturday, August 30, marked the return of Cordel Hyde, the three-time People’s United Party (PUP) area representative for the Lake Independence constituency, as standard-bearer for the division.
By 4:00 p.m., the St. Martin De Porres football field on Vernon Street was teeming with people from all across the vast Lake Independence area and from many other areas of the country, for a momentous political event, as Cordel Hyde waded through crowds of supporters to take his seat with the PUP Leader Francis Fonseca, and two former Party Leaders, Rt. Hon. Said Musa and Hon. Johnny Briceño.
Also present on the stage for the endorsement convention were Deputy PUP leaders Hon. Dolores Balderamos-Garcia and Hon. Florencio Marin Jr., former PUP Agriculture Minister and Cayo Central standard-bearer Dan Silva, Orange Walk East area representative Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez, and the PUP standard-bearers for Pickstock and Orange Walk East divisions respectively, Dr. Francis Smith and Ramon “Munchie” Cervantes.
The crowd, estimated at 2,500, roared its thunderous approval as Henry Charles Usher, the PUP chairman, began the convention, which was broadcast live on KREM TV and KREM Radio.
Speaker after speaker, beginning with Silva, echoed the sentiment that “we need to take back our country.”
John Briceño, the Orange Walk Central area representative, described Cordel Hyde as “a warrior for the people of Lake Independence.”
Briceño told the ever-increasing crowd that “Cordel Hyde has seen the suffering of his people. Cordel Hyde has seen his people abandoned. Enough is enough. He is ready to fight for you in Lake Independence.”
“How can Prime Minister Barrow talk about social justice when the people of Lake I don’t have jobs, don’t have money to buy food and books for their children?” Briceno declared.
“Lake Independence needs a true leader that is going to work for you, that is going to care for you, and that leader is Cordel Hyde”, said Briceño.
Former PUP Leader Rt. Hon. Said Musa said, “Everywhere I go, people di ask me, is it true that Cordel Hyde is back?”
“Cordel didn’t return to Lake Independence; Cordel lives in Lake Independence,” said the former two-term Prime Minister.
Musa said that the return of Cordel Hyde coincides with the return of the PUP’s commitment to social justice and poverty alleviation. “The UDP talk about pro-poor policy; it’s the PUP that introduced poverty alleviation all over Belize,” said Musa.
“Under Dean Barrow and the UDP there is no peace and there is no justice”, Musa emphasized.
“It’s official – I’m coming home to stay,” Cordel Hyde said, after he was sworn in by the PUP chairman.
The crowd roared when he said: “You the people of Lake Independence made this day possible – you who told world and country that me da fu unno man and unno woulda never cheat pan fu unno man.”
“You gave me strength when I was weak; you built me up when I was down. Two years ago you made my burden a little lighter. You took care of me during some very dark days, so that today I can declare that I da no come ya. I born and raise ya. I belong ya. I live ya. I will die here,” said Hyde.
Cordel was diplomatic when he said that “two years ago very few people would have predicted this day.”
“They said we in the People’s United Party were too divided and we could never reach beyond the issues of the past. Well, let it be said that on this blessed day, Saturday, August 30, we came together in support of a greater cause. Let it be said that the cause of the people is greater than any issue that divides us,” Cordel went on to declare.
Cordel thanked his colleagues for believing that “together we can make people’s lives better, and that ultimately we can be true to Mr. Price’s social justice creed – that we will take care of the people who need our help the most, that we will put the majority of the people first.”
“I’m here to put the government on notice: they better tame the beast, because poor people fed up,” Cordel said, and added, “too many of our people have been left behind.”
Party Leader Francis Fonseca said that his job was to thank the people of Lake Independence for bringing back Cordel.
“As you walk into the St. Martin De Porres field you can feel the love and the energy,” Fonseca said.
“So I want to say to Cordel Hyde, welcome home. It is good to have you home, my brother,” said Fonseca.
Fonseca said that one of the most difficult days that he has had as PUP leader was in 2012 when he and Cordel spoke, and Cordel told him about the very serious condition of his son. Fonseca said, “I could see that he was very conflicted. He was very concerned about the condition of his son’s health. But he also had a deep and strong commitment to the people of Lake Independence and the People’s United Party.”
“I never doubted for one second that today would come, that this day would come, when Cordel Hyde would be reunited with his family – his People’s United Party family,” said Fonseca.