I knew that from the time John Briceno became the new party leader, Anthony Sabal will not remain the standard bearer for the People’s United Party (PUP) in Dangriga. This is because he was placed there at the urging of his friend and former leader of the PUP Francis Fonseca. Together they worked to get rid of their then sitting Representative Ivan Ramos the brother of now aspiring candidate Anthony Ramos. Anthony Sabal also lost twice so the PUP are looking for a fresh face.
John Briceno is looking for loyalty to him as the leader of the People’s United Party like most leaders. He is going to encourage people whosupports him to run in all these conventions. If he can avoid conventions, he will recommend that the party do endorsements, because he too shall have a party leadership convention. Luckily, for him in the last Municipal Elections, People’s United Party made some significant gains by winning Belize City and Corozal. He has to be careful with these endorsements because they can further splinter his party and make it difficult for his candidates to win in the next General Election.
I am against endorsements when there are other candidates available to run. I am also against paying off declared candidates to discontinue their race because the leader or members of the party favors another candidate. I have heard from some reliable sources, that these actions have occurred in the past and may still be occurring. Let all the candidates run so that the people can decide who they want as their representative so that democracy can prevail.
This convention is setup for Dr. Louis Zabaneh to win. Why? Because his family has always been and still is, major financial contributors to the People’s United Party. None of the other candidates have the money to go up against him. Then, among themselves they will be splitting the votes to make it easier for him to win. My cousin Anthony Ramos will suffer the consequences for the actions of his brother Ivan Ramos when he resigned as a PUP sitting Representative.
He is only allowed to run to make look as if all is fine with the PUP and the Ramos family in Dangriga. Both Joseph Sampson and Anthony Ramos are my close cousins and Joseph Sampson is also related to Anthony Ramos from his grandmother Rhys. Sampson looked at this race carefully and he came to the conclusion that it will be an uphill battle for him to win. The only way for the other candidates can decrease Dr. Louis Zabaneh’s chances from winning this race, is for some of them to drop out and support one candidate.
I know Dr. Zabaneh personally when I met him at his graduation from Clemson University in South Carolina. He is a sociable person, intelligent and loves his district Stann Creek and his country Belize. With all his credentials the people of Dangriga still want a person from Dangriga who is like them to represent them. Why? Because they are suffering from the Allan Arthurs Syndrome. When he was Dangriga’s representative and minister in the 1960’s and 70’s, his family was calling us Kerob and Kerobee. Dangriga people made a commitment not to ever let that happen again by another non-Garifuna person. His father Eugene Zabaneh tried politics but it did not work for him back then and he is the most liked Zabaneh in Dangriga that I know. His back is against the wall with this but he should be commended for giving it a shot.