By Aaron Humes: Despite their respective shows of support, does it matter who is the next leader of the United Democratic Party? Were their opponents, the People’s United Party are concerned, not really.
With the seemingly open rift on display between the two major UDP candidates – Belmopan Area Representative John Saldivar and Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber – punctuated by the sources of support at each’s campaign launch and the sniping and jockeying for support on display, Opposition Leader John Briceno says his party refuses to be distracted.
“The only advice I would give to all Belizeans, you know, is buy your popcorn and enjoy the show. Because some of it is going to be nasty, some of it is going to be funny, but at the end of the day, whosoever the U.D.P. decides that they want to lead them to the next election, for us it does not matter. We believe that the people have decided already on his government that they are corrupt and incompetent. One of their very own said that they are corrupt. So it is not an issue of me saying that…” Briceño said.
He continued, “People want something different. People want hope. People want competence. Belizeans want people with a vision, with how we are going to make lives better for Belizeans, and I think that the People’s United Party represents that. So I am going to buy my popcorn. I am going to enjoy the show, and whosoever they decide that they want to put as leader, it is irrelevant to us…”
Briceño, who is in his second term leading the P.U.P. and has been through his own leadership troubles only recently, responded to whether he is anticipating a win by either and their chances and explained, “We really don’t care, and I wouldn’t say that ‘We got this;’ I don’t want to be disrespectful to the electorate. We are confident that we will be able to win, and it does not matter who the U.D.P. puts – that is their business. And let them do the fighting, let them throw shade, let them go after one another…”
A Saldivar win, as we have reported, would ensure a first-ever Prime Minister leading a non-Belize City constituency. (Dangriga’s Theodore Aranda and Corozal’s Florencio Marin both led their parties while in Opposition, but neither came close to being Prime Minister as the former was sacked for Manuel Esquivel in 1982, and the latter was a placeholder for George Cadle Price, who lost his seat in the 1984 election; Marin then lost a leadership convention in 1996.)
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