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Barrow, Briceño trade barbs, well wishes in final showdown

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Posted: Monday, September 23, 2019. 7:59 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: While absent from his speech proper, there was some discussion of the end of a great political career starting to wind down – that of Prime Minister Dean Barrow.

As has been previously reported, the P.M. is standing down from the leadership of the United Democratic Party sometime next year as well as Prime Minister and member of the House of Representatives for Queen’s Square.

And while no one yet knows for sure whether Barrow will give another Independence Day address, the Opposition is only too happy to see him off.

In his address, Leader of the Opposition John Briceño mentioned his “cordial friendship” with the Prime Minister over the years, which did not stop their disagreement on policy issues and political issues generally.

Quipping this might get him in trouble with his “party hawks,” Briceño said, “Dean my friend, I can’t say I will miss you in the House, but I can say this, you have inflicted an ample dose of your verbal blows but you have also withstood a fair amount of verbal assaults from those of us on the other side. In the end no partisan difference will change what I believe, and that is that we – you and I, Prime Minister – share a deep and abiding love for this nation,” lines which received laughter and applause.

Never one to be upstaged, the Prime Minister hit back, first commending his rival for his complete recovery from his traffic accident in August, stating, “I’m here to tell you that there is no doubt that full recovery there has been,” to laughter.

Gently complaining that his praises were sandwiched between a “general election campaign declaration…savaging me and my Government,” PM Barrow conceded that it was “brilliantly done.”

But he would have the last laugh, telling Briceño’s wife Rossana near the end of his speech, when exhorting Belizeans to enjoy the holiday weekend, to make sure John got some rest and did not exert himself too much.

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