By Aaron Humes: Chairman of the United Democratic Party (UDP), Michael Peyrefitte, says the party has been here before with regard to Party Leader Patrick Faber – but the vista has never looked grimmer.
It is a matter of maintaining the party’s image with the people, he said: “The people of Belize are not going to tolerate a United Democratic Party whose leader is consistently involved in domestic violence situations. We cannot expect the people of Belize to believe in us, we cannot expect our women, our daughters, our sisters, our brothers to respect and support the UDP under these circumstances.”
On Friday, before Faber’s resignation was announced on Monday, Peyrefitte also said he personally could no longer defend his leader in the circumstances, even if it meant losing his own power and stature within the party: “I cannot, in the good conscience as the chairman of this party tell the country and tell you that I approve or would defend the actions of the party leader. I have a 17-year-old daughter – how do I face her as the chairman of an organization whose leader not once, not twice, three times involved, from what we know, in these situations?” He added that while members of the wider body of the party may privately express the view if not publicly, it was his duty to speak for them.
Per the party’s Constitution, those in senior positions who have lost support must either resign or a petition must be presented to have a national convention at which a two-thirds majority must vote for their removal. Now that Faber has resigned, first deputy Hugo Patt is the interim leader until a permanent leader is selected.
Faber’s resignation takes effect on January 31, and a leadership convention would thereafter ensue, the third in roughly two years, but Peyrefitte said he wasn’t thinking about that at the moment, only how to stanch a possibly mortal wound.