Prime Minister Dean Barrow is on the last leg of his political career. With elections looming for sometime in November, Barrow will be demitting office as a Parliamentarian and as the head of the United Democratic Party (UDP). Initially, the Prime Minister had indicated that once a new leader was elected he would be going into early retirement. With Covid-19 and other hiccups in his plans, the Prime Minister categorically stated that he will not be leaving office early.
Rt.Hon Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize: “Indeed sir or right up until the end of COVID-19 which ever comes first and the way COVID is behaving it sure as hell ain’t gonna come before the elections. No I’m serious committed I think we’re beginning to have great success in terms of flows from the IFI’s we just had confirmation from OFID that the $10 million US that we asked for so that the food assistance program can continue right through until the end of the year that’s been approved; I’ll go to the house if not this Friday sometime next week so that we can get the parliamentary approval. The $13 million of the twenty one from the World Bank that has now been approved there’s eight more for agriculture, there are things happening that will put me in a position – and when I say me I mean the government, the authorities- in a position to be able to do more in terms of relief for people and I absolutely want to see that through. The three gentlemen that are aspirants are extremely intelligent, bright enough to know what the constitution says and to know that legally I am in an unassailable position but you know me ever the modest fellow if it is that whoever wins would wish to come in as Prime Minister and if that person could get the support of the party for such a move I would very gladly defer. Well not very gladly because I want to be serious that I do want to see these things through in terms of the pandemic but if it comes to that no big thing I’m going in any case so if I have to go a few months early not a big deal.”
Recently elected leader-elect Patrick Faber spoke on the Prime Minister’s decision to not demit office early as was initially planned. According to Faber, he is onboard with the Prime Minister’s decision and has embraced it with appreciation.
Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports: “As you know the Prime Minister is not demitting office as either as Party Leader or as Prime Minister until the end of our government term and that’s key because I am now able to over the next few months, with my other duties understood, focus on the efforts of working on the party. It is a joy to be able to focus on the work of the party and forming the party, shaping the party in a way that you would believe would make it fighting fit. It’s a joy that opposition leaders quite often get and don’t appreciate you have a lot more time to be working on your party. When you’re in government you’re the leader of the party and the leader of the country you’re bogged down and in many respects especially in light of COVID-19 that is the situation that the UDP finds itself in so I am very very happy that I will get this opportunity over the next four months. I would have hoped for a longer time of course, more time to prepare and work but I am happy that the first task that I get to do is work on my party while preparing for government.”
Troy Gabb, Host of The Morning Show: Yesterday in our discussions we did a live coverage yesterday of course we had people like Melvin Hulse and Ann Marie Williams on the panel and we did a full coverage from beginning to end yesterday and one of the areas that kept popping up is what had occurred on February 9th and the week after. Could we have found ourselves in a constitutional crisis under the circumstance of Honorable John Saldivar decided that he wasn’t going to resign as leader. Could he have put us in a constitutional crisis at that point in time?
Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports: “Constitutional crisis, the party’s constitution or the country’s constitution ?”
Troy Gabb, Host of The Morning Show: From him saying that I am the leader and I want to be the Prime Minister and possibly getting the support of sixteen persons.
Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports: “No I don’t think – that wasn’t a possibility. I think people from my understanding and my read of the constitution misunderstands, it says the Governor General will appoint when there is occasion. We have a Prime Minister now so we won’t have an occasion until an election is held for the Governor General to appoint a new Prime Minister. So for me that is very clear the Honorable Dean Barrow remains as Prime Minister until he decides unless he decides otherwise or until the term ends.”