Johnny Briceño

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Juan Antonio Briceño
John Briceño (cropped).jpg
5th Prime Minister of Belize
Assumed office
12 November 2020
MonarchElizabeth II
Governor GeneralSir Colville Young
DeputyCordel Hyde (2020–present)
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
Personal details
Juan Antonio Briceño

(1960-07-17) 17 July 1960 (age 60)
Orange Walk Town, British Honduras
(now Belize)
Political partyPeople's United Party
Spouse(s)Rossana Briceño
Alma materSt. John's College
University of Texas

Juan Antonio Briceño, commonly known as Johnny Briceño (born 17 July 1960), is a Belizean politician who is also the prime minister of Belize 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.[1] From 1998 to 2007, he served as Deputy Prime Minister under Prime Minister Said Musa.

Early life and education[edit]

Briceño was born in Orange Walk Town on 17 July 1960.[2] His father, Elijio Joe Briceño (1938-2016), was Chairman of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association, and later served as the Minister of Energy and Communications.[3]

Briceño graduated from Muffles College in 1978.[4] 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.[2]

In 1990, Briceño and his brother Jaime[5] founded Centaur Communications, a cable television provider which later branched out into Internet service, television news, and radio.[6]


Briceño was first elected to the Belize House of Representatives from the Orange Walk Central constituency in 1993;[7] in 1994 he successfully ran in the town council elections of Orange Walk Town.[2]

In 1994, Briceño was elected Co-Chairman of the People’s United Party;[2] in 1996, he was elected Deputy Party Leader.[8] When the PUP won the 1998 elections, Briceño was appointed as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Natural Resources and the Environment.[2]

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.[9] Briceño also gained an additional portfolio, the Ministry of Finance.[2] 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.[9]

At a national convention of the PUP in July 2007, Briceño was re-elected as one of the party's deputy leaders.[10] 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.[11]

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.[12]

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.[13] He was succeeded in both leadership positions by Fonseca.[14]

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 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."[15]

Prime Minister of Belize (2020–present)[edit]

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.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Briceño and his wife Rossana (a 1986 graduate of Muffles College)[4] have three sons.[2]


  1. ^ "Hon. John Briceño takes oath as Leader of the Opposition". The Belize Times. February 14, 2016. Archived from the original on February 17, 2017. Retrieved February 15, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Monday; March 2008, 31; WikileaksRef: 08BELMOPAN188, 10:12 pm Cable:. "Cablegate: Bio -- Belize: John Briceno, | Scoop News". Retrieved 2020-11-13.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ "Former Government Minister Elijio Joe Briceno Dies – Love FM | Belize News and Music Power". Love FM | News & Music Power. Retrieved 2020-11-13.
  4. ^ a b "Prime Minister's alma mater sends congratulations". Breaking Belize News. 2020-11-12. Retrieved 2020-11-13.
  5. ^ "Jaime Briceno – PUP – People's United Party". Retrieved 2020-11-13.
  6. ^ "About Us | Centaur Communications". Centaur Belize. Retrieved 2020-11-13.
  7. ^ Hon. Juan Antonio (Johnny) Briceno Archived 2014-09-24 at National Assembly (Belize). (accessed 23 September 2014)
  8. ^ "From the Publisher | Amandala Newspaper". 15 March 2015. Retrieved 2020-11-15.
  9. ^ a b "Vildo is Deputy P.M. – Florencio replaces Johnny!" Archived 2012-02-08 at the Wayback Machine, Amandala Online, June 5, 2007.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ "Confirmed winners" Archived 2011-05-22 at the Wayback Machine, Amandala Online, February 8, 2008.
  12. ^ "Johnny stuns Francis in 'Pan!" Archived 2012-02-08 at the Wayback Machine, Amandala Online, April 1, 2008.
  13. ^ "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)
  14. ^ "Francis Fonseca is the New Leader of the PUP". The San Pedro Sun. 2011-10-20. Retrieved 2020-11-13.
  15. ^ Ali, Marion. "CONfirmation!" Archived 2016-08-17 at the Wayback Machine, The Reporter, 13 March 2015. (accessed 31 March 2015)
  16. ^ "Belize election: Opposition win brings change after 12 years". BBC News. 12 November 2020. Retrieved 13 November 2020.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Francis Fonseca
Leader of the People's United Party
Political offices
Preceded by
Francis Fonseca
Leader of the Opposition
Succeeded by
Patrick Faber
Preceded by
Dean Barrow
Prime Minister of Belize