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Unprecedented UDP National Convention gets underway this morning in Belize City

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Posted: Sunday, February 9, 2020. 9:13 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: By the end of this momentous Sunday in Belizean politics, one man’s journey will end, and another’s will begin.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow, United Democratic Party leader for 22 years, will have officially, if not formally, ceded the reins of power.

His has been inarguably one of the most successful political careers in Belizean history – a City Councilor, defeating Ralph Fonseca in Queens Square, a high profile in two administrations of Manuel Esquivel, taking over after the 1998 election debacle, wandering through the wilderness of the Said Musa era, then seizing his time in 2008 and becoming the first three-time Prime Minister and building his own legacy.

The men hoping to succeed him have made good friends, but perhaps better enemies.

John Saldivar enters Sunday under a cloud, his accomplishments in sports and National Security seemingly tainted by the criminal actions of two former associates. Can he convince the slim electorate that no more shenanigans will taint the party as it prepares to fight for a fourth term in office?

In the other corner is a youth in political annals who has not hidden his ambitions, who has a winning track record, and is now so close to the goal he can practically taste it. Will Patrick Faber be denied his moment of glory, or will he fulfill the promise his boss made him seven years ago, that he is the future of the UDP? Is this his time?

There are other subplots. Hugo Patt can take another step toward filling the Gaspar Vega-sized vacuum in the North. Manuel Heredia Jr. can bring the islanders into the political discussion in a serious way. And after years of none, the party could welcome two women into its inner circle – Tracey Taegar Panton and Beverly Williams. Michael Peyrefitte will be installed as chairman, and his take-no-prisoners style will face some adaptation to his new role.

Will the party address political reform, crime, the economy, social issues? Can it commit to once again being the breath of fresh air it promised in 2008? Will we get a firm election date? Will the press be treated fairly on the convention ground?

Whatever happens, when it happens, BBN will have it all for you. Watch this space throughout the day for continuing updates from start to finish.

 

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