Reliable sources have confirmed that the requisite number of UDP delegates (172) have signed a petition geared at triggering a recall convention for the removal of the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Moses “Shyne” Barrow, from his position as UDP leader. Hon. Barrow is calling the purported effort to oust him nothing but a big bluff.
by Marco Lopez
BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Oct. 20, 2022
Today, AMANDALA confirmed through reliable sources high in the UDP chain of command that an effort is underway to remove the current Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Moses “Shyne” Barrow, from his position as leader of the UDP, and that following the gathering of sufficient signatures on a recall petition, a recall convention at which such a removal could take place is possibly looming. We’ve been told that more than the minimum number of UDP delegates required to trigger such a convention (172) have signed the recall convention petition, a document that calls for the removal of Hon. Barrow as party leader under Article 9(7) of the UDP constitution.
Six reasons are laid out for his removal—highlighting mainly what the petitioners are classifying as a failed leadership. Hon. Barrow took up the Opposition Leader position in June 2021, in the midst of an effort, ironically, to recall the previous UDP leader, Hon. Patrick Faber, after the surfacing of video footage of a domestic dispute in which Hon. Faber was allegedly involved. Hon. Faber had briefly reclaimed his position in the House of Representatives as Opposition Leader later in the year before he was accused once more of domestic assault—which resulted in his resignation and Hon. Barrow’s return to the Opposition Leader post. Hon. Barrow would later cement his position at the helm of the Opposition when he was elected leader of the UDP at a convention held in March 2022, when he garnered three more votes than his opponent, Albert area rep Hon. Tracy Panton, in a 257-254 victory.
Notably, despite the garnering of 290 signatures to trigger a recall convention to oust Hon. Faber in June 2021, that effort by the UDP’s “Caucus for Change” failed when on July 11, 2021, only 257 of the 483 delegates (53%) who voted at the convention triggered by that petition indicated support of the recall—less than the two thirds of the delegates that was needed in order for the recall effort to succeed. Hon. Faber’s leadership would later end as a result of a police report of domestic assault by his fiancé—which led to his forced resignation. Since the change of leadership, however, there has been incessant infighting within the opposition party—mainly between Hon. Faber (who, along with his supporters such as Delroy Cuthkelvin, a former UDP central executive member, have posted online comments and videos critical of the decisions being made in the party), and current leader, Hon. Barrow.
Interestingly, point four of the petition states that Hon. Barrow failed to “unite and consult with the party’s active elected parliamentarians”—alluding to every growing rift seen in the Opposition at each sitting at the House of Representatives. Reports from local media are that the area representative for the Albert division, Hon. Tracy Panton, and Albert August, former UDP chairman (considered the party chairman emeritus), are, like Hon. Faber, supporting this recall petition, and are anticipating the submission of the petition shortly.
We spoke to Hon. Barrow off the record today, but he refused to comment on the matter directly — aside from calling the purported petition effort a bluff by Hon. Faber and his supporters and categorizing reports made by 7News as rumors and hearsay.
While we have confirmed that the Faber camp has gathered the number of signatures needed to trigger the recall—which Barrow has said is not indeed the case —it is not yet known how many signatures were gathered or when exactly the submission to the party secretariat will take place. Reports are, however, that the petition signatures will be submitted on Friday.
If that does occur on that date, a process of verifying the signatures would then take place, and if one-third of registered delegates are found to have signed the petition, a recall convention for the removal of Hon. Barrow will take place. There are reports, however, that the Barrow faction of the party is suggesting that persons who signed the petition are no longer supporting the recall.