Editorial — 20 March 2015
PUP politics

There are leaders inside the People’s United Party who believe the Prime Minister may well call general elections within the next 12 months. They know that the honourable Prime Minister has no responsibility to wait until the Opposition is ready for the elections to be called, notwithstanding his public comments that he won’t pull the trigger within this calendar year. The Constitution of the land gives the Maximum Leader the prerogative to call it when he thinks his party has the best chance of winning.

But the Opposition has not been acting as if though they are gearing up for early general elections. At least, that is our considered opinion as they jostle for power and go at each other inside the public’s domain – and that is in the wake of a most devastating defeat in the Municipal Elections two weeks ago.

In their seventh year in central government, the United Democratic Party was able to return to their 2006 glory, winning 62 of the 67 seats contested countrywide, winning every municipality save one, and trashing the PUP in some constituencies by 2 to 1, 3 to 1, even 4 to 1 margins.

And as you well know by now, less than a week after the PUP’s Municipal Elections debacle, a tape was leaked to the local media which featured former PUP Leader John Briceño in a private conversation with two persons he thought were his Party comrades, delineating at length any number of corruption schemes inside the Musa/Fonseca administration of 1998-2008.

The PUP argue that the allegations are old material, a lot of stuff that has been ventilated in the public sphere before, but what the secret recording does is that it keeps the grand old party in a crouched position and reminds the independent voters just how corrupt the last PUP administration had become.

Meanwhile, the ruling party gets a free pass of sorts, with the public’s headlights focused on the malfeasances and excesses of the past administration.

And while the leaked tape may well raise the stock of Briceño in the public at large, inside the PUP is another matter – at least inside the membership that includes the Opposition standard-bearers, the National Executive and the parliamentarians. As we said, in our midweek editorial, on the floor of the Party’s national convention, which would feature an unprecedented 2,200 rank-and-file members, Briceño may well have proven popular – possibly more popular than current leader Hon. Francis Fonseca, who lost to Briceño in a leadership convention in March of 2008.

But all that is academic now, or so it seems, as the PUP leadership moved quickly on Wednesday of this week to have the abovementioned body of standard-bearers, National Executive members and parliamentarians vote on whether they were going to have a contested national convention for leadership or whether they were going to stand by the leader who had just led them to a most bruising defeat.

Briceño was a no-show at Wednesday’s meeting, having conceded that he did not have the numbers inside the abovementioned group. And so it was that even his staunchest of supporters had to pledge allegiance to Hon. Fonseca.

Our sources say that inside those momentous meetings, things can get very tense and even overwhelming, especially for young and/or inexperienced persons, but one thing is for sure: no one wants to be on the wrong end of the vote. To so do could mean permanent exile.

We said earlier that all that is academic now – or so it seems – because our sources say that the PUP Constitution does not prevent rank-and-file members from nominating persons for leadership on the national convention floor.

And that, we are told, may be the reason why PUP National Campaign Manager Godfrey Smith could not firmly commit to a national convention in talking to the media on Wednesday, even though the Party has not had a national convention since 2010, in flagrant violation of its own Constitution, and even though it was the overwhelming view of those present at their Wednesday meeting that the current leader should be endorsed.

At this newspaper, we have an undying faith in the power and the wisdom of the people, and so we cannot countenance when the masses of the people are sidestepped.

But what we do know is, no one elected us, and the two mass parties do this sort of thing all the time – that is, ignore the rule of the people, especially when it suits the Big Boys. What we do know as well is that the current PUP leadership will need to move quickly to close ranks with the Hon. Briceño. He is, after all, the five-time area representative of Orange Walk Central and in 2012, he was able to deliver three out of four Orange Walk seats in the backyard of Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega.

And from where they are crouched right now, every winning seat will be important for the Opposition PUP.

And one other observation: since Independence, the People’s United Party has not won a general election without winning more than one Southside seat. The recent Municipal Elections leave many questions concerning their Southside roster. Just food for thought…It is written.

Power to the people. Power in the struggle.

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