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Opposition Leader reluctant to discuss UDP internal turmoil

Posted: Wednesday, June 15, 2022. 2:13 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Insisting that Belizeans care more about the issues affecting them than the latest bout of infighting within the United Democratic Party Opposition Leader Moses “Shyne” Barrow suggested that the press was being used to “distract” from the national crises that are ongoing.

But that internal friction has been well-documented – from the sidelining of Delroy Cuthkelvin, whose open attacks on party grandees have landed him before the party’s ethics committee and could lead to his ejection from the UDP; to the dropping of former opponent and erstwhile regional leader of the central region, parliamentarian Tracey Taegar-Panton, amid reports that Barrow wants the regional caucuses to elect new leaders.

There are also the twin shadows of Patrick Faber and the Party Leader’s own aunt, Denise Barrow, who have retreated to the political sidelines, the former forced out by scandal, the latter apparently by choice.

But Barrow told Channel 5 News’ Paul Lopez when he attempted to bring up these matters, “Unlike other people, the party’s constitution prevents discussion of internal party matters. So, while there have been others who have chosen to go public, with distortions and lies, I, as party leader, and no one at this table would engage in any public disclosure of our internal matters.”

To Channel 7 News’ Daniel Ortiz, who tried to interject a question on whether the party is headed for another rift, he was dismissive, comparing his plight to previous new leaders of both major parties: “There is no current rift. There is rebuilding. This is what rebuilding looks like… Maybe you weren’t there when Prime Minister Briceno went through the exact same thing. Said Musa went through it. Francis Fonseca. So then, you know that this is par for the course. It has been 60 days, you know. Come to me 12 months from now. There is an internal process and mechanism that deals with internal issues. We are here to discuss national issues, which we have done.”

And Barrow tied the party’s fortunes to those of the ongoing village council elections, counting coup on new gains it has made: “We started at zero in these village councils, at zero. Now, we have won about 40 villages. I’ll tell you. San Jose, in Orange Walk North, with almost 3,000 people that had never before been red – or hasn’t been red in at least three elections, went red. If all that you were saying was true, and the large population was so concerned, we would not be winning anything. We would see a repeat of the municipal elections where we only won two councilors, not two municipalities, two councilors. If you think it is not probable, then you are not on the ground. It is a fight. It is a war out there. People on the battleground; people are giving it their all.”

The party will move on to internal constituency conventions ahead of another National Convention, due in 2023.


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