BELIZE CITY, Mon. June 21, 2021– Last week, we reported on the historic recall petition against the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Patrick Faber, that was initiated by two members of the UDP, Tony Herrera (representing the UDP Caucus for Change), and Philip Willoughby (UDP Port Loyola standard bearer). During a briefing with the press today, the chairman of the United Democratic Party, Senator Michael Peyefitte, told local media that the party received a legitimate recall petition and has begun the sequence of actions that are to be taken by the party in response to such a petition. That process was triggered by the signatures of approximately 290 delegates — which exceeded the threshold necessary to validate such a petition.
Peyrefitte told the media that he has since scheduled a meeting with the central executive of the party to give them an update and to discuss the way forward.
“It is unusual. Like I said, it is not a good thing; it is never a pleasurable thing to go through, but it is provided for in the constitution, and if the petition meets the one-third figure to trigger the process, then we [go] through the process,” said Peyefitte.
Peyrefitte said that he has not had a conversation with Faber beyond a brief exchange in which he informed him of the proceeding against him, and told him of the scheduled meeting with the party executive.
“I don’t want there to be any perception that somehow I’m taking sides with either the leader or the petitioners. As the chairperson I have to remain very, very neutral in the matter to make sure the procedure takes the natural course,” Peyrefitte commented.
While the UDP Caucus for Change, represented by Herrera, garnered the signatures of a little more than the required 1/3 of UDP delegates to trigger the recall, they will have to roughly double the number of delegates whose support they’ve secured in order to ensure that the bid to unseat Faber has the support of at least 2/3 of the UDP’s total delegates — a threshold that must be reached to finalize the recall petition. If the 2/3 threshold of delegates is not met, Faber will remain leader of the UDP.
Peyrefitte denied knowing whether John Saldivar, former Belmopan area representative, was the architect behind this recall petition. He commented that even if Saldivar still had hopes of becoming the leader of the UDP, he would either have to get a parliamentary appointment in the Senate or win a seat in the House of Representatives.
Peyrefitte did not release the scheduled date for the party’s national convention but has stated that he has worked out the logistics for the holding of the event, inclusive of the venue and the questions to be asked. He said that the measures that will be necessary to safeguard against the Covid-19 virus will be hashed out within the coming days.
Peyrefitte’s comments suggested that he intends to have the process of responding to the petition, carried out in as expeditious a manner as possible. He stated that since the party’s constitution does not stipulate a specific time period within which the process is to carried out, he is of the belief that the process was intended to be carried out as soon as possible.
“I am sure that the Hon. Patrick Faber will have a word with the delegates, as much as he can, to try and convince them not to recall him, and I am sure that the people who have signed the petition or people who are sponsoring the petition are going to try to convince the delegates to vote to recall the Hon. Faber, that’s politics. And so, the delegates will have to listen to both sides, I am sure, and then at the time of polling they will have to make their decision as to what they want to do,” Peyrefitte said.
If Faber is recalled, the leadership of the UDP will be passed to the deputy leader of the party, Hugo Patt, until a leadership convention takes place. For his part, Peyrefitte said that he has no desire to lead the party at this time, despite being one of the eight persons eligible to do so. He said that he is focused on rebuilding the party in his capacity as party chairman at this time.
Last week, when asked to comment on the petition, he had described it as “another obstacle in the rebuilding of our beloved party” to local media.