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New PUP senators to be installed in time for budget debate

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Mar. 3, 2016–Following a change in leadership of the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP), new senators are being appointed to occupy the three designated seats in Parliament when it meets again on Tuesday, March 29, 2016, the day when the new national budget is to be considered.

Opposition Leader Hon. Johnny Briceño told Amandala today that all three persons—Eamon Courtenay, SC, a former minister of Government; Valerie Woods, wife of former Attorney General Godfrey Smith; and Paul Thompson, who ran for the PUP in the Albert Division in last November’s elections—have accepted the offer. Courtenay, he said, would lead for the Opposition in the Senate.

A letter was sent to the Governor-General this morning advising him of their selection, Briceño furthermore said.

The current Senators are Lisa Shoman, SC; Anthony Sylvestre; and Patrick Andrews. Shoman was recently named to serve on the PUP’s advisory committee on Belize-Guatemala relations. Meanwhile, Sylvestre will remain as the Opposition’s legal advisor, but Andrews, who has been a strong ally of former Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca, will be on the sidelines.

In related news, the Opposition has set up a team to look at re-registration and re-districting. According to Briceño, that team will be led by Kareem Musa, who is working to set up terms of reference for the group. Briceño said that the re-registration exercise was done almost two decades ago.

Finally, Briceño has gotten the green light from the PUP’s executive to talk with Lake I area representative, Cordel Hyde, one of three candidates in the recent leadership race, to find a “meaningful” position for him in the party. Briceño has refuted reports that Hyde would be made a senior national deputy. In speaking with us today, he said that he and Hyde have met and they are just starting discussions. He told us that he has to return to the national executive with recommendations before making the decision public.

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