BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Oct. 15, 2020– After two decades, the United Democratic Party has bade farewell to their old party leader and welcomed a new one. On Thursday, during a virtual convention, former Prime Minister Dean Barrow made good his retirement and handed over the party to Hon. Patrick Faber, who hopes to lead the UDP to a fourth consecutive term in government.
Although the rally did not see its usual turnout of massive crowds and collective cheer from party supporters, the former party leader and the newly appointed UDP leader both delivered messages of hope and support in the face of the upcoming general elections.
Barrow also delivered a message of gratitude to all those who have served under him since 1998 when he was originally elected leader of the party:
“I first off need to say what a tremendous privilege it has been to serve my party as leader over these last twenty-plus years. I thank all those with whom I worked, and I especially thank the rank and file, the soldiers of our party, the devoted women and men throughout the length and breadth of this country who sacrificed every live-long day for our party, who do all for our party, who would give their very lives for our party. Theirs is the glory, and I declare that experiencing their hard work, being a part of their solidarity, their fervent passionate love for the U.D.P. has been the most uplifting feature of my political life,” said Barrow.
Surprisingly, Barrow also shared warm sentiments of confidence in the new leader of the party, which is contrary to the two’s contentious relationship during his administration:
“With highest confidence, with surest conviction, I now cede the mantle of the United Democratic Party leadership to the Hon. Patrick Faber, the lion of Collet, the greatest Minister of Education this country has ever seen and the new political champion of all the people of Belize,” said Barrow.
These did not appear to be the former Prime Minister’s feelings toward his former deputy party leader in the previous years. On numerous occasions, there have been tales of contention between the two under Barrow’s leadership, which other stalwarts of the party were well aware of.
In fact, at the UDP leadership convention held on February 9, 2020, it was strongly suggested that Barrow was in full support of Hon. John Saldivar, who contended for the role and won, but was subsequently made to resign less than 72 hours later due to his controversial relationship with international felon Lev Dermen.
Nonetheless, Faber took the reins from Barrow and expressed his faith in his constituents as they head to the polls on November 11:
“As we prepare for our fourth term in office, I humbly accept the honor of serving you, our loyal members, and our great nation as we roll on to victory on November eleventh. Before I go any further though, my friends, please allow me to salute my own constituency, the Collet constituency, whom I believe to be among some of the smartest voters in this country. They have elected me time and time again and they have demonstrated their love for me and I want you to know, guys, I love you back. I am counting on you once again to deliver for the United Democratic Party,” he said.
Hon. Patrick Faber has won four consecutive terms as area representative in the Collet Division (2003, 2008, 2012, and 2015) and was elected Deputy Party Leader of the UDP and Deputy Prime Minister in 2016.