Posted: Wednesday, February 5, 2020. 10:27 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: The upcoming leadership convention for the United Democratic Party is only five days away and Patrick Faber and John Saldivar are going toe to toe in the race to replace current leader Dean Barrow.
Because of the support of a majority of his Cabinet colleagues, Saldivar is seen as the front runner. Faber, however, maintains he enjoys the support of the majority of the delegates – “the base” as he refers to them: “As in any political race you will have those who support you and those who don’t; the idea is to get the majority of people who can cast a ballot to vote for you and I believe at this point I am comfortable to say we have that majority…in terms of support I am not the underdog; in fact, I continue to maintain the support of the majority of those delegates – in my view, the people that really matter, the base, is my support…”
570 delegates can vote – 16 from each constituency; an additional three, one each for Queen’s Square, Port Loyola and Mesopotamia, whose area representatives are not running for office again; the 21 members of the Central Executive Committee; six Senators; 41 elected municipal officers, the Speaker of the House and the heads of the Youth Popular Front and National Organization for Women.
In fact, Faber was confident enough to predict that he has swayed those who have come out publicly for his rival to vote for him instead. And should he win on Sunday, he will move immediately to address the gaping divisions in the party left by the result.
Going into Sunday’s convention the governing party faces many scandals: the question now is whether or not those scandals will sway the decision of delegates. Faber says there are some things he will not speak about publicly for the benefit of the party, but he is banking on his personal record as someone who has started from the bottom – street captain – and is currently first deputy leader and now arriving at the summit.
Faber added that he has tried to keep his nose clean and taking care of the portfolios and party assignments offered him.
And finally, the words used to describe Faber in some quarters are “petty and vindictive,” but he says he would describe himself as “passionate” and “feisty” about what he believes in and looking forward to self-improvement. He takes that criticism well but notes that he is younger than most politicians and some opinions of him have stuck from a while ago, making note that he would not these days run from Police as he did during the 2005 protests. He asks his opponents to take a closer look at his record as Minister of Education, that “a good job has been done” in that portfolio despite challenges and that he has been a good leader and has potential to be better.
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