BELIZE CITY, Thurs. June 17, 2021– Today, members of the United Democratic Party filed a historic recall petition aimed at removing their leader, the Hon. Patrick Faber, from his position at the head of the party. This afternoon, Tony Herrera, who was formerly known as a prominent PUP supporter before he became the UDP’s Caucus for Change spokesperson, filed the recall petition alongside former UDP City Councilor and current UDP Port Loyola standard-bearer, Philip Willoughby at the UDP BelChina headquarters in Belize City.
Herrera told local media that within a short period of time they amassed a total of 290 signatures — about 118 more than what is required to trigger a recall under the UDP constitution. He further emphasized that those 290 delegates, from all 26 constituencies, freely gave their signatures, in an effort to see the removal of party leader Faber.
“This is a resounding answer from the delegates; this is the rank and file of the party, so for us to go over 172 means a lot for us, and so for the party it sends a clear message of where we want to go,” Herrera said.
That message, according to Herrera, is that members of the party want a UDP without Faber at the helm.
“We are not here to expose everything. We are trying to handle everything internally as best as we can, but the 290 is resounding. Obviously there is something wrong, and I’m not here to disclose what is wrong. One thing I can say: we are not happy in the way he is leading. He is not fit to lead, and that is the bottom line,” Herrera said.
Of note, signatures of delegates from the constituencies held by UDP parliamentarians were reportedly prominent in the recall petition. According to Herrera, this sends a message that Faber’s fellow UDP parliamentarians are also displeased with his performance.
Herrera said that the petition was spearheaded by the UDP’s Caucus for Change, one of whose leaders is former aspirant for the post of UDP leader, John Saldivar. While this move would seem like a venture to put control of the party back in Saldivar’s hands, Herrera insisted that their efforts have nothing to do with the former UDP Minister.
“John is a leader in our group. I will not [deny] that. Our group is comprised of about three of our four leaders, collectively the core of the Caucus for Change,” Herrera said.
He added, “This is not about John Saldivar. This is about the United Democratic Party. John has stated openly that he has no interest in leading at this time, and also you must remember that the constitution does not allow John to run for leadership of this party.”
He said that they are confident that they will get the requisite number of signatures at a national convention if necessary, given the overwhelming support seen in the signing of the petition. And while that may be the end game, no UDP member has been officially nominated to replace Faber as leader of the party if he is recalled.
Recently, area representative for Mesopotamia, Shyne Barrow, informally endorsed Albert area representative, Tracy Taegar Panton, as a suitable replacement for Faber. She promptly disassociated herself from the endorsement, saying she would let the party review the matter internally.
Herrera, a former member of the PUP, was chosen by the UDP’s Caucus for Change to file the historic recall petition along with Willoughby. Herrera said that this action started with one meeting up north.
“We are in a crisis, and you know that, so we feel happy today that we can make the history and change the course, the direction our party will go,” Herrera said.
When asked, Willoughby also indicated that he was proud to be part of the historic petition, but he refused to make any comment regarding Faber.
It is worth noting that the Chairman of the UDP, Senator Michael Peyrefitte, has not confirmed receipt by the party of a recall petition.