Posted: Friday, December 31, 2021. 8:19 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Who’s the man? Shyne’s the man!
Moses “Shyne” Barrow, area representative for Mesopotamia and former Leader of the Opposition, is Breaking Belize News’ choice for Man of the Year 2021.
The newsroom voted on five choices and two honorable mentions, keeping in mind that these awards are normally based on and recognize the level of impact and importance that their efforts in whatever walk of life have had over the course of the year.
After being elected in last November’s general election to succeed uncle Michael Finnegan, Barrow took hold of an office he had zero experience with, asking tough questions of the powers-that-be in a lopsided parliament and consistently bringing issues in his constituency and nationally to the forefront. Of the multiple questions to Ministers in this year’s Parliament, he was responsible for most of them. He became the first parliamentarian to make use of the Personal Explanations item of House Business for his maiden speech as Opposition Leader.
And speaking of that… after Patrick Faber’s personal troubles surfaced, a majority of members of the Opposition side of the House of Representatives voted him into Leader of the Opposition, as opposed to leader of the United Democratic Party, a post that Faber retained after a narrow victory at a first-ever recall convention. In his altogether-brief time at the top, Barrow became an inspirational figure and statesman, transforming his image from literal ‘bad boy’ to internationally recognized figure, culminating in a triumphant return to the United States where he visited with multiple politicians and influential figures, from Jay-Z to Maxine Waters.
Faber’s resumption of the Leader of the Opposition role has not dented Shyne’s steel any as he continues to be an advocate and activist, scoring a coup in November with the brokering of multiple deals with talented Belizean artists including Supa G Martinez.
In a statement to BBN, Shyne said, “I am extremely honored, humbled, and inspired by this recognition. This honor drives me to work even harder in 2022 to serve the people of Mesopotamia and the entire Nation of Belize. A heartfelt thank you to BBN and everyone who has wished me well. The overwhelming support that I have received from Belizeans all across the Country and diaspora fuels the engine that drives my service to advance Belize domestically and globally. Happy New Year to everyone!”
The rest of the ballot is as follows: fourth-runner-up or 5th place goes to artist Alex Sanker for a defiant stand after it came to light that CEO in the office of the Prime Minister, Narda Garcia, was suing him for an unflattering depiction, a matter that came to the attention of the United States Embassy; third-runner-up or fourth place to Evan “Mose” Hyde, president of the Christian Workers’ Union (CWU), for his forthright leadership and guidance as staff members of the Port of Belize Limited (PBL) signed a historic collective bargaining agreement and stevedores worked toward being compensated for the loss of sugar barge work to the Port at Big Creek; third place to Prime Minister John Briceno for shepherding along with Minister of State Christopher Coye and others the retirement of the Superbond and creation of the Blue Bonds, offset by his struggles with the trade unions and others; and second place to Minister of Agriculture Jose Mai for leading an agricultural revival, with boosted figures in production of vegetables, cattle, sugar and other major foodstuffs.
Recognized as honorable mention are 14-year-old Laddie Gillett, whose untimely death in July touched off a national conversation about the relationship between the police and the public and brought attention to the epidemic of youth and police violence; and Dr. Fernando Cuellar, who battled through his bout with COVID earlier in the year and stood as a strong and occasionally lone voice calling the Ministry of Health to account, leading to his resignation from the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital Board in October.
Obviously so many more could have been honored but each and every one are deserving and we salute them.
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