The Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) issued a statement on Tuesday, March 13, declaring that Mark Espat and Cordel Hyde, who stepped down as standard bearers in Albert and Lake I, respectively—two of the key divisions lost by the PUP in last week’s general elections — have effectively resigned from the party, for life!
Indications are that Espat has been offered an option to serve as a key finance advisor for the Government of Belize, to help renegotiate the billion-dollar super bond. He told us that he has a meeting with Prime Minister Dean Barrow tomorrow to discuss the proposal further, and a decision should be announced shortly. For his part, Espat told us this does not mean he has become a UDP; he is done with politics, he affirmed.
The PUP said that the expulsion of Espat and his brother-in-law, Hyde, was decided at a meeting of national standard bearers held that same day at Independence Hall, Belize City, at which they “unanimously supported the motion that by their actions, Mark Espat and Cordel Hyde have effectively resigned from the People’s United Party and can no longer hold any position in the Party nor run for any seat on a PUP ticket.”
The declaration is strikingly similarly to the March 2011 statement United Democratic Party chairman Patrick Faber made to Marcel Cardona, former Orange Walk East area representative, indicating to Cardona that by his actions in Parliament, in strongly criticizing the government’s budget, he had “constructively resigned” from the UDP. Cardona was since removed from the UDP side of the House, and regarded as non-affiliated.
For his part, Hyde, who is now overseas to spend time with his ill son, had resigned as standard bearer for Lake I in February 2012, the month before early elections were called, citing his son’s illness, while Espat had soon after resigned as standard bearer, citing internal party concerns.
Amandala asked Espat for his reaction to the PUP statement, and he told us that he had already made the announcement that he is retiring from electoral politics.
He told us that he is thankful for his period of service as Albert area rep: “Hopefully, I made a difference,” he told us.
He added, “Thanks for the time of service, the opportunity to serve Belize, Albert and the party.”
Espat may very well move on to be the Barrow administration’s local point-man to work with the international advisors in the renegotiation of the billion-dollar super bond.
Espat, as a minister of government in the Musa administration of 2003-2008, had been the key person for government doing the leg work to restructure the government’s very burdensome debt, resulting in the current super bond arrangement, which has proven very difficult for the Government to service.
Espat told us, when we asked him whether Prime Minister Barrow has approached him to assist with the bond restructuring: “Yes, I have been approached and asked whether in a professional capacity I would be willing to lead that effort, and I haven’t made a decision yet.”
He said that offer came after the March 7th election, and he clarified that this would not be a political appointment, but an advisory service to the Government, to seek a reduction in the interest rate and a lengthening of the amortization period.
As for any special carve-out post within the Barrow administration for Hyde, Espat’s close comrade, he told us that he does not know of any such offer, but “I think Cordel would be—is a tremendous asset to Belize. He has a lot to contribute.”
There has been talk in public circles that he would get an ambassadorial post, but Hyde indicated to our newspaper today that he has received no offer from the Barrow administration.