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Johnny Briceño

Johnny Briceño
Briceño in 2022
5th Prime Minister of Belize
Assumed office
12 November 2020
MonarchsElizabeth II
Charles III
Governors‑GeneralSir Colville Young
Dame Froyla Tzalam
DeputyCordel Hyde
Preceded byDean Barrow
Leader of the Opposition
In office
31 January 2016 – 12 November 2020
Prime MinisterDean Barrow
Preceded byFrancis Fonseca
Succeeded byPatrick Faber
Member of the Belize House of Representatives for Orange Walk Central
Assumed office
30 June 1993
Preceded byLeopold Briceño
Chairman of the Caribbean Community
In office
1 January 2022 – 30 June 2022[1]
Secretary-GeneralCarla Barnett
Preceded byGaston Browne
Succeeded byChan Santokhi
Personal details
Born
John Antonio Briceño

(1960-07-17) 17 July 1960 (age 63)
Orange Walk Town, British Honduras
(now Belize)
Political partyPeople's United Party
SpouseRossana Briceño
Children3 sons
Parent
Alma materSt. John's College
University of Texas

John Antonio Briceño (born 17 July 1960) is a Belizean politician who is the fifth and current prime minister of Belize. He has been in office since 12 November 2020 and the leader of the People's United Party (PUP) since 2016. He was Leader of the Opposition from 2008 to 2011 and from 2016 to 2020.[2] From 1998 to 2007, he served as the deputy prime minister under Prime Minister Said Musa.

Early life and education

Briceño was born in Orange Walk Town, British Honduras, on 17 July 1960.[3] His father Elijio Briceño was a government minister in the 1980s, but in 1985 was convicted of conspiring to smuggle marijuana and cocaine into the United States, with the indictment naming a brother and a nephew as co-conspirators; in September 1985, his father was sentenced to seven years in prison.[4][5]

Briceño graduated from Muffles College in 1978.[6] He earned an associate degree in business administration from St. John's College in 1980, and a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Texas at Austin in 1985.[3]

In 1990, Briceño and his brother Jaime[7] founded Centaur Communications, a cable television provider which later branched out into Internet service, television news, and radio.[8]

Career

Briceño was first elected to the Belizean House of Representatives from the Orange Walk Central constituency in 1993;[9] in 1994 he successfully ran in the town council elections of Orange Walk Town.[3]

In 1994, Briceño was elected Co-Chairman of the People's United Party;[3] in 1996, he was elected Deputy Party Leader.[10] When the PUP won the 1998 elections, Briceño was appointed as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Natural Resources and the Environment.[3]

In August 2004, he led a group of ministers, known as the G-7 alliance, who made a number of reform demands, including the dismissal of Ralph Fonseca from the Cabinet. When Prime Minister Said Musa failed to meet these demands, the group resigned; however, Musa subsequently agreed to all of the demands except for the dismissal of Fonseca and the G-7 ministers remained in the Cabinet.[11] Briceño also gained an additional portfolio, the Ministry of Finance.[3] Briceño was later one of the ministers who opposed Musa's proposal to settle the country's Universal Health Services debt; as a result of this, Musa attempted to demote Briceño from his position as Deputy Prime Minister, but Briceño refused to accept the lesser posts in the Cabinet that he was offered and instead resigned from the Cabinet on 5 June 2007.[11]

At a national convention of the PUP in July 2007, Briceño was re-elected as one of the party's deputy leaders.[12] In the February 2008 general election, in which the PUP was defeated, Briceño was re-elected in his constituency of Orange Walk Central; he was one of only six successful PUP candidates.[13]

On 30 March 2008, Briceño was elected as the leader of the PUP at a party convention in Belmopan, succeeding Musa. He defeated Francis Fonseca, who was considered to be the candidate preferred by the party establishment, receiving 330 votes against 310 for Fonseca.[14]

Citing unspecified health issues, Briceño abruptly resigned as both PUP and opposition leader in October 2011 without leading the party in a general election. He retained his seat in the National Assembly.[15] He was succeeded in both leadership positions by Fonseca.[16]

2015 recording incident

In March 2015, shortly after the PUP's decisive defeat in municipal elections, a recording was made public of Briceño sharply criticizing the 1998–2008 Musa government. In the recording, Briceño accused Musa and Ralph Fonseca of stealing "millions, tens of millions of dollars", and stated, "... had this been another country they would have been in jail right now". Briceño also claimed he went deeply into debt personally as PUP leader on the party's behalf, and blamed Francis Fonseca for losing the 2012 general election and local elections. Briceño claimed the recording was made without his consent and refused to comment on it. Francis Fonseca characterized the incident as an "internal party matter".[17]

Prime Minister of Belize (2020–present)

Briceño (right) with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in 2022

On 11 November 2020, the People's United Party, led by Briceño, won government in the 2020 general election, defeating the United Democratic Party, led by Patrick Faber. He took office as Prime Minister of Belize on 12 November 2020. He is the first prime minister who is not from Belize City.[18]

In July 2021, Briceño's government passed legislation establishing a fixed seven-year term for the Governor-General of Belize. During the debate on the bill, he stated that Belize should begin to consider the replacement of the monarchy with a republic.[19]

Personal life

Briceño and his wife Rossana (a 1986 graduate of Muffles College)[6] have three sons.[3] On 24 November 2020, two weeks after starting his term as prime minister, he declared he was diagnosed with COVID-19 and was doing well.[20] On 1 February 2022, it was announced that Briceño tested positive for COVID-19 again.[21][needs update]

Honours

References

  1. ^ https://caricom.org/wp-content/uploads/ROTATION-SCHEDULE-HGC.pdf [bare URL PDF]
  2. ^ "Hon. John Briceño takes oath as Leader of the Opposition". The Belize Times. 14 February 2016. Archived from the original on 17 February 2017. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Cablegate: Bio -- Belize: John Briceno". www.scoop.co.nz. Scoop News. 31 March 2008. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  4. ^ "Former Government Minister Elijio Joe Briceno Dies". Love FM. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  5. ^ Warnock, Elliott (10 September 1985). "Former Belize minister gets 7 years on drug charges". UPI. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  6. ^ a b "Prime Minister's alma mater sends congratulations". Breaking Belize News. 12 November 2020. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  7. ^ "Jaime Briceno – PUP – People's United Party". www.pup.org.bz. Archived from the original on 28 November 2020. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  8. ^ "About Us – Centaur Communications". Centaur Belize. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  9. ^ Hon. Juan Antonio (Johnny) Briceno Archived 2014-09-24 at archive.today. National Assembly (Belize). (accessed 23 September 2014)
  10. ^ "From the Publisher – Amandala Newspaper". amandala.com.bz. 15 March 2015. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
  11. ^ a b "Vildo is Deputy P.M. – Florencio replaces Johnny!" Archived 2012-02-08 at the Wayback Machine, Amandala Online, June 5, 2007.
  12. ^ Adele Ramos, "Musa and Ralph step down - PUP D-day March 30!" Archived 2010-02-24 at the Wayback Machine, Amandala Online, February 15, 2008.
  13. ^ "Confirmed winners" Archived 2011-05-22 at the Wayback Machine, Amandala Online, February 8, 2008.
  14. ^ "Johnny stuns Francis in 'Pan!" Archived 2012-02-08 at the Wayback Machine, Amandala Online, April 1, 2008.
  15. ^ "Johnny Briceño steps down as Leader of the PUP" Archived 2014-10-19 at the Wayback Machine, The San Pedro Sun, October 7, 2011. (accessed 23 September 2014)
  16. ^ "Francis Fonseca is the New Leader of the PUP". The San Pedro Sun. 20 October 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  17. ^ Ali, Marion. "CONfirmation!" Archived 2016-08-17 at the Wayback Machine, The Reporter, 13 March 2015. (accessed 31 March 2015)
  18. ^ "Belize election: Opposition win brings change after 12 years". BBC News. 12 November 2020. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  19. ^ "Abandoning the realm: Republic of Belize?". Breaking Belize News. 5 July 2021. Retrieved 23 December 2021.
  20. ^ "Belize's Opposition wishes PM speedy recovery from COVID-19 | Loop St. Lucia". Archived from the original on 27 December 2020. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  21. ^ "Prime Minister Tests Positive for COVID-19". Government of Belize Press Office. 1 February 2022. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  22. ^ Yeh, Joseph (7 March 2022). "Belize prime minister to visit Taiwan, receive honor from president". Central News Agency. Retrieved 7 March 2022.
  23. ^ Teng, Pei-ju (9 March 2022). "Belize leader Briceño advocates for Taiwan's full international recognition". Central News Agency. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
Assembly seats Preceded byLeopold Briceño Member of the Belize House of Representativesfor Orange Walk Central 1993–present Incumbent Party political offices Preceded byFrancis Fonseca Leader of the People's United Party 2016–present Incumbent Political offices Preceded byFrancis Fonseca Leader of the Opposition 2016–2020 Succeeded byPatrick Faber Preceded byDean Barrow Prime Minister of Belize 2020–present Incumbent Diplomatic posts Preceded byGaston Browne Chairman of the Caribbean Community 2022 Succeeded byChan Santokhi
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Johnny Briceño
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