The United Democratic Party appears to be slipping into internal turmoil of late.
Over the weekend the UDP held a municipal convention in Dangriga in which current Mayor and his slate won to contest the municipal race in March. But the convention and results seem to have divided the UDP in two, and has resulted in open clashes on social media between the factions.
This became apparent to all when the UDP’s Dangriga area rep Frank “Papa” Mena took to Facebook to slam his party for the convention.
Papa Mena backed Herbert Nicasio, the candidate who lost badly. On Facebook, Papa Mena accused those who supported returning Mayoral candidate Francis Humphreys of buying votes. He posted, “it’s a shame… you have to use money to buy my people. Sad that they don’t know how you only care for your agenda and your racist needs”. Exactly who the message was geared to is unclear, but we do know that UDP Deputy Leader Patrick Faber was supportive of Humphreys’ candidacy.
To understand the divide in the UDP we have go back to the May 2016 race for Deputy Leader in the UDP, in which Patrick Faber won, defeating John Saldivar. In Saldivar’s corner were all these smiling faces seen in this picture, including Gaspar Vega and, you guessed it, Frank Papa Mena. It seems these factions are still at play, and in every political race each side backs a candidate. For example, in Corozal Town, John Saldivar’s candidate won, while here in Orange Walk Town, Faber’s candidate was endorsed.
And it appears the clashes will continue. Papa Mena followed his Facebook post with another saying, [quote] “I will continue to defend (my people) even though you think we all have a price. Kick me out if you want, it’s your party not mine” [end quote].
And that’s not the only salacious post on social media coming directly from a UDP official.
It seems the controversy resurrected former UDP area rep Mark King from the dead. King, who has been politically inactive for some time, let off some heavy steam on a near 600-word diatribe on his Facebook page about the UDP’s dismal state. King lamented that he has not been given a job nor appointment and, as he pointed out, not even a call from his Party. The former area rep expressed that he joined the UDP because of its principles against corruption, but now, he stated, the UDP is fighting the very same people who helped them win elections in 2008, referring to the teachers, unions and the Chamber of Commerce.
King was also critical that the UDP administration has become authoritarian. He states, [quote] “we dictate by running the FIU, Police, Integrity Commission and anyone who moves will be stopped by any force necessary” [end quote].
And then King slam dunks his own Party, stating that the party risks being taken over by [quote], “women beaters, criminals who were deported and spent time in US jail, [and] past corrupt Mayors” [end quote].
While King is known to be a kind of loose cannon and serial political dramatist in his Party, he does seem politically in-tune with the issues. He warns his Party of existing corruption, and cites the example of the [quote] “bloated contracts like Fabers Road” [end quote] and calls on his party to wake up.