Posted: Friday, October 21, 2022. 9:20 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP) and of the Opposition Moses “Shyne” Barrow wasted little time on Friday responding to the institution of a recall petition against him – and he came out swinging.
According to Barrow, many of the signatures were garnered under suspect means, and he believes it is highly unlikely that they will meet the threshold of 172 delegates, one-third of the total, once the vetting process is completed.
From a wider lens, Barrow says the movement against him “has always been engineered and sustained by external forces, whether it be PUP special interest groups who want to keep the government of the day in power – because when these things happen, all it does is distract from very serious issues.”
Barrow said he had just spoken to three people who claimed that “the reasons given them [to sign] had nothing to do with a recall” and that they were made to sign without reading, apparently, what they were given. He further pointed out that the anti-Barrow movement had just managed to clear the threshold – well short of the 253 that voted for Tracey Taegar-Panton in the leadership convention in June, or even the 290 that initiated the first-ever petition against Patrick Faber last year (226 ultimately voted for him in the subsequent convention).
And the faces of the recall movement are another story, says Barrow: He no longer considers Delroy Cuthkelvin a member of the party after being expelled for his public attacks on him a few months ago, a ruling Cuthkelvin has said he will ignore; while Alberto August, who appeared before the Ethics Committee of the Party just this week, saw that matter settled with an agreement to remove anti-leadership posts (August declined to comment when asked about it earlier today). And he has done everything he can, he says, to reconcile with fellow parliamentarians Taegar-Panton and Faber.
But, he made clear, “I cannot stop and the party cannot be held hostage by two or three people. It doesn’t matter how senior they are; it doesn’t matter how many times they’ve won their seat. The party belongs to all of us.”
As a further example of the fault lines within the UDP, we were today sent a letter addressing the party secretariat from Carol Jones-Swaso, the former chair of the Collet Constituency Committee – Faber’s constituency. She allegedly resigned as chair because she was being pressured to support the recall, but refused to do so. She also happens to be the mother of the man tipped to either challenge Faber in the constituency, or succeed him if his application continues to be rejected for standard bearer – Ian Jones.
And that is why Barrow says he is more worried about what the petition and instability are doing and will do to a party that August says has suffered enough. While both sides appear to agree on that, however, there is precious little else they appear to agree on at this point.
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