BELIZE CITY, Mon. July 12, 2021– When he was interviewed by reporters on Sunday, UDP leader and area representative of the Collet Division, Hon. Patrick Faber, said that he not yet taken, on behalf of the party, a position on the 11th amendment, and that he intends to consult with the party base before making known such a stance.
The 11th Amendment Bill was presented by members of the ruling PUP at the most recent sitting of the House of Representatives two weeks ago. The Bill is aimed at barring ex-cons and persons who have served more than 1 year in prison anywhere in the world from sitting in the Belize National Assembly.
The presentation of the bill in the House took place while a movement within the UDP to expel Faber was in full swing, and it was noted by many members of the public that a primary architect of the offensive against Faber, Leader of the Opposition Hon. Shyne Barrow, appeared at the time to be the primary target of the new piece of legislation.
As is widely known, Hon. Shyne Barrow was convicted for a violent offense and served almost 10 years in a US prison. This means that if the eleventh amendment were passed, he would not be able to run in a future election, or may even be subject to the retroactive effect of the law, which could lead to his expulsion from the National Assembly.
Some think that such an outcome might probably not cause Faber much grief. He is the most experienced UDP parliamentarian who has been replaced as Opposition Leader by the rookie area rep as a result of a sudden, deft, and in some eyes, disloyal, move by his fellow UDP House reps.
As mentioned, Faber has not taken a position on the Bill that could lead to the end of Barrow’s young political career, but he has publicly said that he is not pleased that Barrow has presented his (Hon. Barrow’s) personal response to his own plight as an official party position.
“I am not thrilled at all that the Leader of the Opposition has used his individual position to say that the party’s position, even if it is the position of other parliamentarians, is not necessarily the position of the UDP, and we have not really put that to a test just yet,” Faber remarked.
Faber informed local media that he will use the legally mandated 90-day consultation period to ascertain the position of the base of his party so that he can formulate a collective position, which will also be his, after the process is completed.
“I have heard my colleagues say that I am the only one who supports the 11th amendment, and to be honest with you, my position has been that I have not taken a position. As you know, there is a 90-day mandatory waiting period that allows us to do consultations. As the leader of this party, I intend to consult fully with the membership of this party,” Faber said.
Hon. Shyne, however, has said that Faber is “weaponizing” the eleventh amendment and that Faber has openly told him that he believes a convicted criminal should not be in Parliament. He remarked to local reporters, “He is offering an olive branch with one hand and sticking you in your stomach with the other hand. This is quintessential Patrick Faber, and this is why we don’t want him, the majority of us don’t want him as leader.”