United Democratic Party chairman Patrick Faber and party leader, Dean Barrow, Prime Minister, had a private meeting tonight, as Amandala understands that the party chairman had threatened to resign his high-ranking party post following a dispute with Deputy Party Leader Gaspar Vega at the Orange Walk East convention on Sunday.
When Amandala contacted Faber earlier tonight, asking about the reports of his resignation, he declined comment, saying that he was going to meet with Mr. Barrow.
That meeting was held, and Faber reported to us later: “I am still the chairman.”
Reports reaching our news desk indicate that the two politicians, Vega and Faber, sparred over a disputed voter who has not been named at the Sunday convention, and the matter was brought up again at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting.
In the heat of conventions, the job of the chairman is unenviable, as passions run high, said UDP leader and Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow, to Amandala tonight. “We recognize that what is said and what happens when emotions run high will have to be apologized for, and that is exactly what is happening,” he added.
He told us that the matter was raised not in the Cabinet meeting proper, but in a meeting of caucus of UDP parliamentarians, held in advance of Tuesday’s Cabinet session and Friday’s House meeting. The intent was to discuss how they would proceed, going forward, since Sunday’s convention was only a part of a long season of political races ahead, he explained.
While Faber, who holds the Education portfolio in Cabinet, firmly declined to get into the details, he did confirm that there was conflict over voting on Sunday. He said that the person in question did get to vote after the candidates reached a consensus in agreeing with his (Faber’s) recommendation for settlement.
Vega told Amandala tonight, Thursday, that he had to plead for the voter, who he said is a known UDP but had been rejected. The candidates, said Vega, made “a mistake.” He added, however, that the matter was resolved “in reasonable time.”
Vega contends that the convention allowed for open voting.
For his part, Faber asserted, in speaking with Amandala, that as party chairman, “These conventions are run on rules, and it is my responsibility to ensure that the rules are upheld.”
“It is the chairman who runs the convention,” he added, saying that rules are rules, it does not matter who comes along.
While none of the parties we spoke with got into details to explain exactly what “rule” was allegedly breached, Faber said that all the convention rules are explained to candidates beforehand.
“When I feel that I am not getting the support, that is when I get concerned,” chairman Faber said.
The next conventions are planned for January 9 in Corozal Bay—to be contested by the current area representative, Pablo Marin; Kennard Smart; and Corozal mayor Hilberto Campos—and June 23 in Corozal South East.
Vega downplayed Sunday’s contention, saying initially when we spoke with him that there is no issue and “Everybody got to vote.”
With further explanation from us, he then confirmed that there had been a dispute over the challenged UDP voter.
Vega said, however, that he had not heard anything about a threat from Faber to resign his chairmanship post.
He described relations with Faber as “good.”