On the 31st of January, 2016, a total of 2,969 persons, who are designated as convention delegates will be deciding the path that the PUP will take from now on, by choosing the person who will become the leader of their party . Of the total amount, 2,704 will come from the constituencies, with Stann Creek West (132), Toledo West, (127), Lake Independence (125), Orange Walk North (123), Cayo Central (121) and Cayo South (120) offering the largest numbers of delegates . While divisions like Mesopotamia and Queen Square get 18 and 17 respectively. The Party’s Units (Women’s Group, Youth Arm, Marshalls, O.D.S, Communications, Policy Committee) as well as the National Party Council (National Executive), the Party Leader (10 delegates), members of the House who are not members of any of the units or the NPC), a mayor and 4 Councilors comprise the other 248 voting delegates. Back during one of those regular convention bargains, the PUP amended their constitution to reflect that one delegate will represent 25 votes cast per standard bearer in the preceding election. They previously had it at one vote for 100 cast per standard bearer in the preceding election
Now what is being highlighted here is whether the PUP’s CONSTITUTION is being Democratic in regards to the way such a great decision such as choosing it’s Party’s Leader and other officials is being handled . Some apologists may argue that everybody knew what the rules were going in, so there should be no complaint. It is not just as clear cut as that though. Political parties are owned by its members on whose back the Party fortunes are built. The members are the persons who go out and pound the pavement for the Party or should we say they get the politicians elected. So the voice of the membership in every constituency must carry the same weight.
How can it be fair that the PUP supporters in Mesopotamia and Queen Square be SEVEN (7) times less than the worth of those supporters of Stann Creek West or Toledo West or any of those higher vote yielding constituencies just because of where they live? In Belize elections are won or lost based on the amount of seats a party wins at the polls and not based on a popular vote or size of the constituency. On election day each constituency carries the same value. They are all equal then and in the same way they should all be given the same powers when it comes to making such a major decision as choosing its leaders. It’s about applying the principle of one man one vote. Only in this case it’s more like each constituency EQUAL VOTES. Compare it to a shareholder of a company being told that they can’t vote at the A.G.M because they only have a small shareholding. Another sticking point must be the 10 additional delegates Francis gets to appoint based on him being leader. The other persons running don’t get to appoint 10 delegates. We think that section must only come into play when the incumbent is not seeking office. The way it is right now it is like giving a defending boxing champion a one round handicap at the start of a match based on the fact that he or she is the champion.
The supporters in the various regions are just that, Shareholders of the political party and should be treated as such. A fixed number of delegates must be set regardless of size of the constituency. It could be a constituency of smaller or larger numbers as long as each constituency has the same amount ofs delegates as the other. Doing this will also clear propping up some constituencies in order to have a larger amount of delegates in certain areas, thus allowing SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS to control the party by always having the huge numbers coming from certain quarters to sway the decisions the political party takes, thus controlling the Party , in the way the oldguard have always done. Before it is said that it is not perfect in the UDP either, let us say that all constituencies in the UDP get an equal amount of delegates who are joined by those who are delegates based on what is stipulated in the constitution. Our CONSTITUTION is a living document like it should be and we amend it from time to time to reflect our forward thinking and quest to advance with time, making changes that gives our membership a greater sense of ownership of our party . We are able to adjust those numbers by a vote to amend our constitution which would have to be carried at a National Party Conference such as that which is Scheduled for March 20, this year, when we will be hosted by our brother from another mother honourable Frank Papa Mena in Beautiful Dangriga . When and if we make such changes to our CONSTITUTION, the equal vote for each constituency would surely be applied. Any resolution that would devalue the voting power of any constituency would NEVER be entertained on this side.