Politics — 28 November 2008 — by Aaron Humes
Joseph Ellis, ordered by the People’s United Party National Executive to step down as chair of the Corozal Southeast Constituency Branch Committee for holding a standard bearer convention Sunday in defiance of an order by the Executive not to do so, told Amandala today from his home in San Joaquin, Corozal District, that he would not fight the decision made on Tuesday by the PUP’s national executive to expel him as chair of the branch committee and suspend the committee itself.
Ellis made it clear to us, however, that he and his fellow committee members still believe they did the right thing.
“We followed the party’s constitution in organizing the convention, and for us in Corozal, this way works,” Ellis argued.
Ellis confirmed a statement made by Toledo East’s Mike Espat, present at Sunday’s convention, in a Tuesday press release that Corozal Southeast has had a long-established practice of holding standard-bearer conventions early.
Corozal Southeast (and its predecessor, Corozal South) was represented in the House of Representatives from 1965 to 2008 by the same man – Hon. Florencio Marin, Sr. His son, Hon. Florencio Marin, Jr., who currently holds the seat, was selected to replace him in 2007 and elected by 16 votes in the February 2008 general elections over the UDP’s Servando Samos.
Ellis says Sunday’s convention was entirely the work of his committee, and not held in an effort to shore up popular support for the younger Marin.
“We did not stop anyone from running… if 10 people wanted to run, they could have. We believe in democracy, and the way we handle things in Corozal Southeast has worked for the People’s United Party – has won elections for the Party. The only way we would change is if we started to lose Corozal Southeast as a PUP constituency,” Ellis emphasized.
And Ellis says he has no plans to change parties any time soon, despite the current impasse with the Johnny Briceño leadership.
Mike Espat reported to Amandala this afternoon that he is weighing his options after formally being replaced last night as chair of the Southern Caucus by former PUP representative for Stann Creek West, Rodwell Ferguson.
At press time this evening, during a paid political advertisement aired at another media house, Freetown area representative Hon. Francis Fonseca, who also attended Sunday’s convention at the request of Hon. Marin, claimed that his parliamentary colleague felt “targeted” by the National Executive because the Corozal Southeast rep had supported Fonseca’s narrowly failed bid for Party Leader against Hon. Briceño in March.
Hon. Fonseca said that as Freetown representative, neither he nor his constituency chairperson was informed of the meeting at Independence Hall on Tuesday, which, he said, was open only to “selected chairpersons.”
Hon. Fonseca further charged that “those who in the past had spoken up for their rights under the principle of natural justice,” – a thinly-veiled reference to the current leadership’s ties to the 2004 G-7 rebellion effort against then Prime Minister Said Musa and his chief financial guru, Hon. Ralph Fonseca, Minister of Finance – were now “regrettably” seeking to deny that right to himself and Hon. Marin, among others.
Nevertheless, Hon. Fonseca closed the advertisement promising to work with the new leadership, as many of his constituents, he claimed, were feeling pressure from the now ruling UDP.