Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Jazelie Azueta removed as UDP Standard Bearer for Belize Rural South

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Following a meeting on Saturday, September 2nd by the National Party Council (NPC) of the United Democratic Party (UDP), Jazelie ‘Jaz’ Azueta was formally removed as Standard Bearer for the Belize Rural South (BRS) constituency. According to members within the party, this is the consequence of not supporting the protest held by Belize City members of the UDP in San Pedro Town on Thursday, August 31st, against the current People’s United Party (PUP) government. The decision to remove Azueta was not welcomed among UDP supporters on the island, and on Monday, September 4th, Azueta released a statement on her dismissal.

Jazelie ‘Jaz’ Azueta

Azueta noted that UDP Party Leader Honourable Dr. Moses ‘Shyne’ Barrow reportedly initiated recent events leading to her expulsion from the party. She believes his actions “have brought the party to an all-time low.” In her official statement, she states: “It has eroded the most basic core value of the party which is the democratic process. Democracy is defined as the state of society characterized by formal equality of rights and privileges, including the freedom of expression, choice of religion, and political choice. I come from a long line of supporters for the United Democratic Party. My grandmother was one of the few and staunchest supporters for the UDP on the island over 40 years ago at a time when no one had the courage to support the party. As a result of this, it was my desire to run as Standard Bearer for the UDP in order to make a difference for my community, helping to bring the rightful changes that my community deserves.”

Last Thursday, August 31st, during the Belize Investment Summit held in San Pedro, the UDP planned a demonstration. However, the Belize Police Department did not issue the required permits for such activity. The group of residents from the mainland still proceeded with the protest near the Boca del Rio bridge, demanding the resignation of the current Area Representative, Honourable Andre Perez, and better governance. Azueta and other members of the UDP from San Pedro were absent from this demonstration, issuing a release on the same day denouncing the protest and distancing themselves from the action of the Belize City UDP.
Azueta explained that when the decision was made by Party Leader Barrow and the central executive to carry out the demonstration during the Investment Summit, the majority of the BRS executive committee decided that it was not an appropriate action. “We advised our Party Leader, and he insisted that it be done, despite the relevant authority’s denial to legally do so,” Azueta noted. “We chose to disassociate ourselves from the demonstration, and the rest is history. The demonstration turned out to be one of the worst political fiascos that has ever been seen, with none other than the Party Chairman spewing out vulgarities on livestream on social media. This was far more damaging to the UDP than our disagreement with his decision to demonstrate. We, the BRS committee, had every right to disagree with him without being expelled from the party. Barrow, in the past and in this case, chose to act unchecked and to get rid of anyone who does not follow his whims and desires.” Azueta not only added that such a decision by the party leader further showcases “his way or the highway” behavior which is destroying the party.

UDP Party Leader, Shyne Barrow

In her statement, Azueta reminded the UDP NPC of its purpose to safeguard the party’s integrity and viability and keep other members, including keeping the party leader in check. Barrow’s behavior has been characterized as problematic and concerning. Azueta states, “It is problematic to imagine if he acts this way now, and he is not the supreme leader in our country, the havoc that would happen to our beautiful country of Belize. That scenario would certainly be our worst nightmare.” The statement ends with Azueta marking her staunch support for the decision not to participate in such a protest to sabotage the Investment Summit and her commitment to remain a UDP member but will not work for the party under Barrow’s leadership “unless he humbles himself and mends his ways.”
Jazelie Azueta was officially endorsed as the UDP Standard Bearer on December 10, 2022. Since then, she has been preparing to contest the area representative seat in the BRS constituency in the upcoming general election set for 2025. At this time, who will be the next UDP representative for the BRS Constituency is not known.

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