Posted: Sunday, July 11, 2021. 8:40 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Recriminations have already begun as United Democratic Party grandees absorb how close the party came to dropping Patrick Faber at today’s recall convention.
The 226 yes votes cast represent 46.8 percent of all votes cast, and the 257 no votes 53.2 percent. There were no rejected votes and according to party chairman Michael Peyrefitte, those who were absent gave their reasons such as sickness.
The recall vote was defeated by 32 votes; the threshold for recall was two-thirds of the delegate vote or 319 of 483.
So, having survived in a manner of speaking, how does Faber get his party to live up to its name – the United Democratic Party (it came from a merger of three Opposition parties in 1973 and members of a fourth, Evan X Hyde’s United Black Association for Development-Party for Freedom, Justice and Equality)?
First of all, Faber made clear that he will work with those willing to work with him, and that times and circumstances have changed.
“Unity means that we are going to work with those, of course, who are interested in working in unity; there are some who may feel that my victory today will cause them to not want to move on, and if they absolutely feel that they can’t work with me, I hope they would walk away so that we are able to embrace those who are serious about rebuilding the party,” was Faber’s blunt assessment.
It is time for a new direction, he continued, as mandated by the Belizean people, including UDP voters. “Anybody who still has their head buried in the sand, and believes that the people of this country did not send a very loud and clear message to the UDP that it needs to change, that it can’t be the same-old, same-old from pre-November (2020), they will have missed the boat.”
Faber insists he holds no hatred or malice against those who did not support him; the task now is to fight the true enemy, the governing People’s United Party. About the only thing those on both sides can agree is that the events of recent times are a distraction from the party’s role in Opposition and it is now time to focus on those ahead of the next meeting of the House of Representatives on July 21, a Wednesday.
And as to the Party’s next National Convention, Faber reminded that it was agreed at the Dangriga National Convention in March of 2016 that each subsequent convention would be held in February every other year. The next national convention after the Dangriga one was held in February of 2020 in Belize City, followed by the extraordinary national convention in July in which Faber was elected leader.
Indeed, Faber says he hasn’t completed a full year as leader – he was elected on July 12 but did not assume party leadership until the House dissolved in October, and then as Leader of the Opposition following the November elections. Even those elected in February have not completed two years, and the party needs time to elect its constituency committees and new delegates (the delegate list for today’s convention came from the two previous ones less those who lost their seats). So there is no chance, Faber concluded, that any National Convention will be held in October.
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