Belize Rural South will be “neutral” in UDP National Convention
Friday, February 15th, 2013
Belize Rural South Area Representative Manuel Heredia Jr says he will take a neutral position in the United Democratic Party’s (UDP) national convention scheduled to take place in Corozal Town on Sunday February 17. The main item on the agenda during the convention is the election of a Deputy leader of the UDP, Chairperson of the Party and vice Chairperson of the Party. Party members from all over Belize, including Belize Rural South, will be able to vote for one of two delegates that have decided to contest for the party’s position. The two candidates contesting the position for Deputy Leader of the UDP is the current Deputy Prime Minister of Belize, Minister of Natural Resources and Area Representative for Orange Walk North, Gaspar Vega and the current Chairman of the UDP, Minister of Education and Youth and Area Representative for the Collet division, Patrick Faber.
Political observers in Belize say that the convention will be hotly contested, since the election amounts to a challenge of a sitting Deputy Prime Minister, something not often seen especially in modern politics. For that reason the two candidates have been canvassing the country to garner as much support from the delegates that will be voting from all 31 divisions.
The biggest support that both candidates had fought to garner is that of the current leader of the UDP and Prime Minister Dean Barrow. The PM has gone on record to publicly endorse Vega who is running a campaign slogan UNITY which he used also during his reelection to office. Faber on the other also managed to get endorsements from two former UDP party leaders. Dr. Dean Lindo, uncle of PM Barrow and Rt. Hon Manuel Esquivel had gone on record to endorse Faber.
Speaking to The San Pedro Sun, Minister Heredia explained that “out of respect” to PM Barrow he will remain “neutral.” According to Heredia he will decide who to support on the day of the convention. “I have instructed my delegation that they can take the position they want. I believe that it is a democratic process and for the first time, I am not influencing my delegation as to which way to go,” said the Area Representative of Belize Rural South. Heredia elaborated that unlike other divisions, he has given the opportunities for the two major candidates to speak to his delegation.
“On Sunday we will see democracy at its best. After the convention we (as a party) will come together in a show of unity,” emphasized Heredia who said that the main thing that will influence the delegation is “how best the two ministers vying for the deputy leader’s position has served Belize. How best they have served the 31 constituencies.”
The well seasoned politician from San Pedro Town believes that the election will be closely contested.
Elections to choose a Party Chairman is being contested by former UDP Senator Roosevelt Blades of Corozal who is contesting on the slate headed by Faber. Former Elections and Boundaries Chairman Alberto August is on the slate with Vega vying for the same position. The deputy Party Chair is being contested by Roger Espejo of Belize City and Fern Gutierrez of Punta Gorda Town. The delegation from San Pedro Town and Caye Caulker Village, as part of Belize Rural South, consist of 22 people, and they be representing the approximately 2,500 voters that supported the UDP in the last general elections. Some 560 people from across the country will be able to vote in Sunday’s convention.