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January 25, 2022

Chairman of UDP says he takes no gratification from Faber exit

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Posted: Tuesday, January 25, 2022. 9:54 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: While he awaits official confirmation, Chairman of the United Democratic Party Michael Peyrefitte says the exit of Patrick Faber as leader of the party and of the Opposition offers no personal gratification – more a mourning of what could have been.

“There is no gratification for me in what’s going on; we as a Party had just come off the bruising from dealing with the attempt at recall; I believe we were picking up, had picked up most of the pieces and we were moving along, just as we wanted. I believe that we were bringing the issues to the Belizean people. Now all of a sudden, Johnny [Briceno] doesn’t have to explain what happened to the 15 million and what he is going to do with it; all of a sudden, we are not talking about [mandatory insurance] any more; we are not talking about the sugar industry any more; we have a major issue at the Port, we are not really talking about it anymore,” Peyrefitte told reporters, listing the major issues the party was bringing to the forefront before being derailed by Faber’s misstep. He added that the party had been looking to build a head of steam going into the 2024 municipal elections with Faber in the lead.

Therefore, he said, rather than play it cagily as some have, he applied how he handles the sins of the ruling People’s United Party to what happened inside the UDP. As for Faber’s response that he is a “jankrow circling to feast on a carcass,” Peyrefitte claims he’s been called worse, and expected things to be worse. Politics is a “full-contact sport,” he said, and internal fights are worse than having to fight Queen Street “with one hand tied behind my back and standing on my head.”

And Peyrefitte takes nothing for granted – with days to go, “a lifetime in politics” in his words, Faber could change his mind, and then what he said on Friday applies – he would pressure the party for his removal, and if the party somehow kept him, seriously consider his place within it.

But if things go to plan, and Faber goes next week, then Hugo Patt as first deputy leader becomes interim leader and sets the schedule for a full convention within 90 days per the party constitution. Two candidates have already emerged in Tracey Taegar-Panton, vying to become the first woman to lead a major political party, and Moses “Shyne” Barrow, seeking to again become Leader of the Opposition and party leader to boot.

But as Peyrefitte also pointed out, the two posts can be separated as they were between May and September last year when Barrow was Leader of the Opposition and Faber leader of the UDP, and the former is solely under the control of the five members of the House of Representatives that the party holds.

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