BELIZE CITY. Mon. July 12, 2021– On Sunday, the United Democratic Party held a gathering of delegates, each of which submitted a vote to indicate whether they supported a recall petition aimed at ending UDP leader Patrick Faber’s headship of the party. The voting took place at the Bird’s Isle compound in Belize City, and at the end of the day, the embattled UDP leader was able to hold on to his position at the helm of the party. To the surprise of many, he garnered 226 delegate votes — 64 more votes than the minimum 162 votes (1/3 of all UDP delegates) that he needed to withstand the attempts to unseat him.
According to the Chairman of the UDP, Senator Michael Peyrefitte, a total of 483 of the party’s 521 delegates attended the event and a total of 226 of those delegates voted in favor of keeping Patrick Faber as the leader of the UDP, while 257 voted to have him removed from that position. While those numbers indicate that a slight majority were in favor of the ousting of Faber from his position as leader, the party’s constitution required that Faber secure only one-third of the votes cast by delegates at the event to retain his leadership of the party.
And thus Faber survived a formidable offensive against him — mounted by a number of high-level UDP members.
“I am happy, of course, of the results. I could have hoped for a larger margin, of course, but it’s not just the bare minimum either, you know: two hundred and twenty-something when we only required a hundred and sixty-odd, I think, is indeed very much convincing for me, and given that everybody knows that these odds are stacked against me because of the way the delegates were selected originally in some constituencies, I think this is a damn good showing, and so I’m proud of the results and I’m happy that I get to continue to be the leader of our great party,” a jubilant Faber told local reporters after the results were tallied.
He said that the next frontier will be his efforts to regain his seat as Leader of the Opposition. When questioned about those efforts by local media, he said, “Well, I’ll work on that, that’s a matter for my parliamentary colleagues, but of course I’m going to now try to ensure that [that] happens. I think the vast majority of people in our party — the masses, but also the wider population of Belize, believe that I am the best person to be the Leader of the Opposition.”
Faber stated that he will also be focused on the rebuilding and rehabilitation of the party, but he noted that those members of the party who do not welcome his efforts at unity and who are incapable of accepting his leadership may have to walk away.
“We will have to work at the unity, and I want people to be clear that unity means that we are going to work with those who, of course, are interested in working in unity. You know, there are some who may feel that my victory today will cause them to not want to move on, and if they absolutely feel that they can’t work with me, I’d hope that they walk away, “Faber commented.
After the outcome of the recall efforts became known, Leader of the Opposition Hon. Shyne Barrow took to social media, not to congratulate Faber, but to call on the UDP leader to resign, due to the fact that he did not get the support of 50% of the delegates.
“Any self-respecting leader who cannot get 50% of the delegates’ votes, would resign.” Barrow wrote in the online post.
This fifty percent threshold suggested by Barrow is inconsistent with the requirements outlined in the party’s constitution. As noted by the UDP chairman, Michael Peyefitte, Faber only needed about 162 of the delegates to withstand the recall petition.
Peyrefitte told local media, “Whatever the situation is, we have to be an only unified party going into the next General Elections, and if it so that you have one leader in the House and one leader of the party, that’s what it was in 1984, and we won by a landslide.”
He added, “Time will tell, but I think that today will mark the day when it signals the beginning of a process.”