Debate of three dead horses – questions for the candidates Print E-mail
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Written by By Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 21 January 2016 00:00

In a time when the nation is ordering the People’s United Party to reform and rebuild, they present us with Francis Fonseca, Johnny Briceno and Cordel Hyde as their candidates for PUP Party Leader. This field of candidates causes one to reflect on the words of the forgotten Henry Cate VII, “The problem with political jokes is that they get elected.” This is a scary field of candidates because one of these three men, on January 31, will immediately inherit no less than a 41 percent chance of becoming the next Prime Minister of Belize (based on PUP’s worst General Elections performance to date-2008). These three men have agreed to a debate, if one can believe anything Glenn Tillett says, tentatively set for January 28. Their biggest hurdle, in getting Belizeans to support their candidacy, is convincing the masses that they are an agent of change for the PUP.  

Since 2006 the Belizean people have been sending a clear message to the once mighty People’s United Party – reform or you won’t be returned. The grand old party has not heeded this warning and as a result they have lost every single local and national election since. Political analysts say that the worst defeats came in 2015 when the PUP as Opposition actually lost political ground to an administration that has been governing for almost eight years. Even the most loyal party supporters, including the Party Leader, conceded after the election that it was time for a change. Unfortunately, this epiphany was short lived as it only took a couple weeks for the old guards to be tempted back into contention by memories of loots from the glory days.

Before these men can even be considered to lead one of the country’s main political parties, there are questions that each of them must answer. Francis Fonseca must tell the nation what made him realize on November 5 that he was not the right person to be Leader of the PUP and how has that dynamic changed? He must convince Belizeans that he will not simply be a rubber stamp for the forces that controlled the Musa administration like he was a rubber stamp as that administration’s Attorney General. He must come clean and admit that he did not read contracts such as the Accomodation Agreement, Settlement Deed and others that he signed as Attorney General for Musa. Finally, he must explain what happened between 2006 and 2010 that caused such a charismatic and engaging individual to lose the ability to look a reporter in the face or set his eyes directly into the camera – people are concerned mister pourty leader.

Johnny Briceno has some questions he must also answer. Where are the bank papers for his cable companies that he promised Jules Vasquez in September of 2011 when asked about allegations that he accepted a $3 million bribe for oil contracts? Who are the people he knows about that “stole millions and millions… tens of millions” when the PUP was in power? Where did he get the money to lend the People’s United Party millions of dollars from his personal funds while he was Party Leader from 2008 to 2012? Finally, what happened to his career threatening illness that caused him to resign as party leader a few months before national elections? Bonus, what really happened in the Marco Tulio Mendez scandal?

Cordel Hyde in all fairness shouldn’t be required to answer questions – because everyone knows why he placed his name on the ballot, think “Jerry McGuire”. Just to be fair, Cordel must tell the Belizean people what was so terrible about Francis Fonseca that he decided to sabotage the party’s chances in the 2012 General Elections just to prevent him from being Prime Minister. First; however, he must explain how many people and what was the criteria for people out of school to receive college tuition grants from his Ministry of Education. Finally, he must put a figure on the table and say how much will it cost for him to step aside?