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Willoughby Port victory considered major upset

Backed by Prime Minister Dean Barrow, his sister “Sista B” and area rep Hon. Anthony “Boots” Martinez, AG Michael Peyrefitte still lost

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Nov. 5, 2018– The ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) held a contested convention with four candidates who aspired to become the party’s standard bearer for the Port Loyola constituency yesterday, Sunday, and after the ballots were tallied, Philip Willoughby, the former three-term City Councilor emerged victorious over Attorney General and Senator, Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, with  Dean Samuels, a former City Councilor and A. C. Castillo trailing in the polls.

Some political observers consider the Willoughby victory a major upset, because Peyrefitte was considered the personal choice of UDP Leader/Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Dean O. Barrow, and was endorsed and supported by Port Loyola’s four-term area representative, Hon. Anthony “Boots” Martinez. Michael Peyrefitte received the full support of PM Barrow’s younger sister, Denise “Sista B,” who will replace Mr. Barrow as the UDP standard bearer in Queen’s Square, which is considered a safe UDP seat.

There had been a growing feeling that Mr. Barrow intended to have Michael Peyrefitte run for leadership of the UDP once he became the Port Loyola standard bearer.

The Attorney General was not a stranger to electoral politics, having run in the 2008 general election as the UDP candidate in the Freetown constituency. He had lost narrowly to the PUP Freetwon incumbent, Hon. Francis Fonseca, on that occasion.

Peyrefitte’s loss yesterday leaves two candidates, Hon. John Saldivar, Belmopan area representative and Hon. Patrick Faber, area representative for the Collet constituency, to face off for the UDP leadership convention, unless someone else tosses their hat into the ring.

Following his defeat, Peyrefitte in magnanimity, congratulated Willoughby, who garnered 1034 votes to his 847. Samuels picked up 144 while Castillo came up with 33 votes. Peyrefitte also pledged to assist Willoughby whenever the general elections are called.

When he was asked how come the Port Loyola area representative, Hon. Anthony “Boots” Martinez, and “Sista B” were unable to deliver victory for him, Peyrefitte said that Willoughby had the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Hon. Patrick Faber, and the Minister of National Security, Hon. John Saldivar, on his side, “and they are formidable political forces as well.”

Peyrefitte added, “There are no excuses. Some people would say too many PUPS’s voted; some people would say this and say that. But I am not like that. We felt good going in and when the votes were counted, he was victorious, so he should be congratulated.”

When Senator Peyrefitte  was asked if this is the end of the road for what his sponsors had in mind for him, he replied that none of his sponsors had told him what they had in mind. “And I kept repeating to the media, we’ll have to wait and see what happens here first,” Peyrefitte offered.

The Attorney General said that if he had won, he would have had to contemplate what was next. “I would not even contemplate anything until we get through today.”

It was suggested to Peyrefitte that he is not viable politically, so what will happen to his Attorney General’s job. “I serve at the pleasure of the Prime Minister,” Peyrefitte replied.

“It’s a disappointment; I wanted to win,” Peyrefitte said.

Philip Willoughby was sworn in as the Port Loyola standard bearer by the UDP Chairman, Alberto August.

In his victory speech he pledged to work “my endeavor best for the people of Port Loyola. You are priority; you are number one.”

Willoughby also said that the consultation in Port Loyola begins immediately. He said that he will reach out to all the young men of the Port Loyola constituency to stop the killing of each other. “I guarantee that we will find a way. I say thank you and I submit myself to the people of Port Loyola.”

Some political observers are of the view that Peyrefitte lost because he was endorsed and supported by the current area representative, Hon. Anthony “Boots” Martinez, who referred to himself as “the King of Port Loyola,” even though he was soundly defeated in the March municipal election this year.

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