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Opposition United Democratic Party makes point with a protest march in Belize City: lower gas prices and cost of living, end corruption
August 23, 2022
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August 23, 2022

Can UDP fix internal issues? John Saldivar hopeful, Shyne Barrow deflects

Posted: Tuesday, August 23, 2022. 4:55 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The United Democratic Party (UDP) could count on the appearance of multiple of its Belize City standard bearers including newly elected regional leader Melvin Hewlett and second deputy leader Beverly Williams for today’s protest march in Belize City.

But conspicuous by their absence were senior parliamentarians Tracey Taegar-Panton and Patrick Faber, both of whom appear to be in open conflict with the party at the moment.

Former party leader John Saldivar discussed the organization of the protest today and the need for a strong Opposition: “When it comes to standing for the people, the people are there with us because they know that we are the ones who will be there to stand with them; and that is what today is demonstrating, that there is a need for a good, strong Opposition and that work is starting now.”

As for internal issues, Saldivar held out what turned out to be a false hope that Taegar-Panton and Faber would join (most of the march, as it turned out, passed through the latter’s constituency). “I am hoping…we chat all the time in our chat groups, I am hoping we can fix the problems but right now we are focused on this protest today…We will fix our internal problems but we are still a united and strong Opposition.”

Leader of the Opposition Moses “Shyne” Barrow, on the other hand, continuously deflected press questions about the state and level of intra-party support for the march and for his leadership during and after the protest, going back to his themes of high prices and corruption.

However, he did offer this response on the absence of Taegar-Panton and Faber, stating that in the case of the former: “You spoke to her [constituency] chairman; she sent her people out here. As a responsible Opposition, we can’t allow distractions to take away from our responsibility to advocate on behalf of the Belizean people, and that is exactly what we are doing with the Chairman, the deputy party leader and the grand leaders of the party which are our delegates and the party faithful.”

The Opposition Leader concluded, “And the Belizean people whom I serve – I serve all the Belizean people, I do not serve myself, I do not serve any particular individual – all I want is for life to improve. Every government should bring with it solutions to improve the lives of the Belizean people. When the Prime Minister goes to the House with supplementary bills, it is not his money that he is spending: it is the taxpayer dollars that he is relying on for budgetary support and those are people you see out here; those are the people who we have a responsibility to represent.”

 

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