Former UDP leader Hon. Patrick Faber says that during his extended period of absence from the House of Representatives, he was working on becoming a “better individual”, dealing with family matters, and reenrolling in a doctorate program.
by Khaila Gentle
BELMOPAN, Fri. July 15, 2022
Area representative for the Collet constituency and former UDP leader Patrick Faber was back in the House of Representatives on Friday after several months of absence which were primarily the result of the extended time he has spent outside the country following his departure from Belize in January. According to Faber, he had made attempts to return to the country before Friday, but those attempts were derailed by factors out of his control. When he spoke with the media outside of the National Assembly building at the end of the House meeting on Friday, he explained the reasons behind his extended absence, which included a mild bout of COVID-19 and some family matters.
“I had a very mild bout of COVID—just a fever for a day and a half—but I was not able to get a negative test in time for the House meeting. And then, on another occasion, I was at my son’s graduation in the US, and I tried to get back, but there was a slew of cancellations of flights,” he said.
Faber added that his primary focus and responsibility continue to be the people residing in his constituency. He also explained that while away, he managed to remain in the loop when it came to happenings both inside and outside the party.
“I never really left the party. I kept abreast of things. We have various chat groups that keep us abreast of what is happening both in the party and inside of the Government,” he stated.
According to the former party leader, it was never his intention to be absent from the House for so long, and there were at least two occasions on which he attempted to attend a meeting but was unable to, including when he contracted COVID-19.
“But I’m happy to be back, and one thing I can tell you is, I don’t intend to be missing House meetings—that’s not me. And in fact, on one of the occasions when I was missing and had COVID, I called the Prime Minister to say just that,” he said.
While Faber had been absent from House meetings since December of last year, he departed the country on January 27, 2022—right after an interview on a local evening talk show, Uncut, during which he had taken offense to certain remarks that were made, which led to him storming off the set. Exactly two months later, the United Democratic Party would hold the most recent of several leadership conventions, and Hon. Moses “Shyne” Barrow would be selected by party delegates as the new UDP leader.
Faber stepped down from the position of party leader in late January amid calls for his resignation following a slew of domestic abuse allegations. Much of the Belizean public had become unable to ignore those allegations after a statement made by Faber’s fiancée to police was leaked earlier that month. He stood accused of assaulting his fiancée and damaging a laptop belonging to her. And though she eventually withdrew her report, the Collet area representative lost his standing in the public eye.
According to Hon. Patrick Faber, during his time out of the country he has also been working on becoming “a better individual.” That includes working towards getting a doctorate in Public Administration—which will require him to travel frequently between Belize and the US—and continuing to attend therapy sessions. He also spent time visiting his children in California and Atlanta and grieving the loss of his elder brother John who passed away in March of this year.
At the previous Sitting of the House of Representatives on June 3, only two out of five members of the Opposition were present: Hon. Tracy Panton and Opposition Leader Hon. Moses “Shyne” Barrow. With Faber’s return on Friday, the Opposition’s numbers increased by one, while Hon. Hugo Patt and Hon. Denise “Sista B” Barrow were both absent.