BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Oct. 1, 2020– If it materializes, a debate between the candidates who will be leading the country’s major political parties into the upcoming general elections would be a first in the Belizean political/media landscape. It has been announced that indeed, plans for such a debate are now underway. A joint press release from the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), Galen University and RSV Media Limited (Love FM/TV) stated that they (referred to as “the organizers”) “have partnered to plan the Prime Ministerial Debate 2020 under the theme ‘Achieving Sustainable Development in Belize.’”
For many months, the third parties – the Belize Progressive Party (BPP) and Belize People’s Front (BPF), as well as independent candidate, the late Murphy Nedal “Jihad” Mclaren —had challenged the two major parties (the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) and the opposition People’s United Party (PUP)) to participate in a public debate on issues relevant to the upcoming general elections.
So far, those challenges have been mostly ignored.
But according to yesterday’s release, “the Organizers have formally invited the leaders of the four contesting parties (United Democratic Party – Hon. Patrick Faber), the People’s United Party – Hon. Johnny Briceño), the Belize Progressive Party – Patrick Rogers), and the Belize People’s Front – Nancy Marin) and have received positive responses so far,” which indicates that “political leaders are taking seriously their responsibility to inform the electorate of their plans for advancing Belize’s sustainable development…”
The release did not give details on the “positive responses,” but stated, “the Organizers’ view that, more than at any other point in our young country’s history, these discussions are especially crucial.”
Since, at the time of the issuance of the release, no official date had been announced for the general elections, the release stated that “the planning committee has agreed that the event will be scheduled for a date two weeks prior to Election Day.”
Of course, if this Prime Ministerial Debate does take place as planned, it is not expected that Hon. Dean Barrow, who will remain Prime Minister up until Election Day, would represent the UDP in the debate. That task would fall upon the new UDP party leader and aspiring prime minister, Hon. Patrick Faber.