Albert Area Representative and Interim leader of the People's United Party Mark Espat has declined to offer himself for the vacant post of party leader. He continues to be interim leader until a convention is held the first week of November.
He sent out the following press release:
“Today, I informed members of the National Executive and the Standard Bearers of the People’s United Party of my final decision not to seek the post of Party Leader.
I am profoundly grateful for the numerous expressions of support for my leadership from Standard Bearers, Party branches, Party members and from the general citizenry of Belize.
Deserving of my infinite gratitude for the opportunity to serve Belize and the PUP are my constituents, and particularly the members of the Albert Campaign and Action Committees whose exceptional labor, commitment and loyalty for the causes of change and justice in our country buoyed me during the many stormy times.
Working along with our Deputy Leaders and National Executive and in conformity with our Constitution, the Party will proceed with the election of a substantive Party Leader in the shortest possible timeframe.”
MARK A. ESPAT
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
UPDATE: PUP Without a Leader!!!
The PUP finds itself in a huge problem days after it its 61st anniversary. John Briceño officially stepped down on Tuesday, October 18, as leader of the opposition in the House and on the eve of the deadline for the leadership of the party the interim leader, Mark Espat, decided he will not be running for leader even though he had overwhelming support from 30 of 31 constituencies.
Espat, who was named interim leader when Briceñno resigned on October 7, told party officials that the demands on him are too much to assume the leadership at this critical time. Primarily, he has not been able to secure financing for a multi-million dollar plan for party operations between now and the next general elections.
So why did Espat walk way? Well according to Belize City Media, MONEY!!! The PUP owes over five million dollars and would need another eight to ten million dollars to run the next two campaigns in 17 months.
So the big question is who will take up the post as leader of the opposition? But whoever takes up the mantle of leadership - they'll have more than just money problems to contend with as Espat warned that the very culture of the party is in jeopardy. He said, and we quote, "the Party needs, more than anything else, to bridge the alarming chasm between the priorities of big donors, on the one hand, and those of its supporters, on the other…"
Briceno has written to the Governor General saying that he is stepping down as the Parliamentary Leader of the Opposition. The country is without a leader of the opposition, which is a dire state in any democracy and it is the very first time in Belize's Parliamentary history that a leader of the opposition has unilaterally stepped down - with no immediate successor in place.
The deadline for nominations for leadership of the party is 5 p.m. on Wednesday, October 19, 2011, and the only man so far whose name appears on the nominations list is Arthur Saldivar, an attorney and PUP aspirant for Belize Rural North. During Wednesday’s nominations, names will also be offered for new members of the United Women’s Group, the Belize Youth Movement, and the Marshalls, which are all branches of the PUP.