Johnny Briceño

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Johnny Briceño
Leader of the Opposition
In office
30 March 2008 – 18 October 2011
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor General Colville Young
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
Preceded by Said Musa
Succeeded by Francis Fonseca
Member of the Belize House of Representatives for Orange Walk Central
Assumed office
30 June 1993
Preceded by Leopoldo Briceño
Personal details
Born Juan Antonio Briceño
(1960-07-17) 17 July 1960 (age 54)
Orange Walk Town, British Honduras
(now Belize)
Political party People's United Party
Residence Orange Walk Town, Belize
Alma mater St. John's College
University of Texas

Juan Antonio Briceño, commonly known as Johnny Briceño or simply Johnny (born 17 July 1960), is a Belizean politician who served as leader of the People's United Party (PUP), as well as the Leader of the Opposition, from 2008 to 2011. Previously, he was Deputy Prime Minister from 1998 to 2007.


A native of Orange Walk Town, Briceño was first elected to the Belize House of Representatives from the Orange Walk Central constituency in 1993.[1] He was appointed as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Commerce and Industry in 1998 after the PUP returned to power in the 1998 election. 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. 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 June 5, 2007.[2]

At a national convention of the PUP in July 2007, Briceño was re-elected as one of the party's deputy leaders.[3] 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.[4]

On March 30, 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.[5]

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.[6] He was succeeded in both leadership positions by Fonseca.

2015 recording incident[edit]

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 election.

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."[7]


  1. ^ Hon. Juan Antonio (Johnny) Briceno. National Assembly (Belize). (accessed 23 September 2014)
  2. ^ "Vildo is Deputy P.M. – Florencio replaces Johnny!", Amandala Online, June 5, 2007.
  3. ^ Adele Ramos, "Musa and Ralph step down - PUP D-day March 30!", Amandala Online, February 15, 2008.
  4. ^ "Confirmed winners", Amandala Online, February 8, 2008.
  5. ^ "Johnny stuns Francis in 'Pan!", Amandala Online, April 1, 2008.
  6. ^ "Johnny Briceño steps down as Leader of the PUP", The San Pedro Sun, October 7, 2011. (accessed 23 September 2014)
  7. ^ Ali, Marion. "CONfirmation!", The Reporter, 13 March 2015. (accessed 31 March 2015)

External links[edit]