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Is the UDP still distracted with internal problems? LOO to media: focus on national issues

 During the two-hour-long press conference hosted by the United Democratic Party today in Belize City, the party leader took questions from the media about the many internal challenges the UDP is facing. We’ve reported on the disagreements involving former Press Secretary Delroy Cuthkelvin, the bitter battle for leadership since 2020, and the public disagreement involving Party Vice Chairman Alberto August. As recently as yesterday, correspondences between Party Leader Moses “Shyne” Barrow and Party Whip Tracy Panton were leaked. It effectively shows that Panton was removed as leader of the party’s central region, which includes most of Belize City. Today we put the question to Barrow whether those internal problems plaguing the party are detracting from its message to keep the party accountable. Barrow told us there are more pressing matters than the internal challenges the party is beset by. 

Reporter: Party Leader respectfully the contentiousness of the United Democratic Party right now is a national issue simply because the perception is that in order for democracy to be able to function we have to have an effective opposition. The effectiveness of the opposition right now is by and large under question simply because we have the Honorable Tracy who was the party whip of the organization not attending press conferences, in the parliament, you have the Honorable Patrick Faber who is a seasoned debater. You were down three people in the last House sitting –

Moses “Shyne” Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “You know why I resent this line of question ? Because not withstanding the difficulties that any organization will experience in rebuilding you the media will choose to focus on that rather than all the important matters. The pressing matters. The violation of constitutional rights with your gas prices, with your food prices, with food security. With corruption, with cronyism all of these things so what will happen is now you want to distract and cause a headline for something that you laugh but it is par for course. You’re pretending as this is the first time in the history of Belize’s democracy that you have had people that lost a convention and they can’t get over it so what I don’t want to do is waste the Belizean people’s time with matters that will be handled internally and are being handled internally. You should applaud the fact that we are going out there all around the country putting up a battle in the village councils. You should applaud the fact that unlike the Prime Minister of Belize this is the fourth press conference that I have had in two months since being leader – and that is your responsibility in a constitution if you want a healthy democracy but don’t distract from the real issues and the real issues if you want to know why the Honorable Tracy Panton did not attend call her and ask her, she’s been invited to every press conference. If you want to know why Patrick Faber is in the states and doesn’t come to House meetings call him and ask him. What I don’t want to do is what other people are doing and what no organization does. Many things happen at Love FM, you are not going to go on Facebook and talk about what is happening in the internal realm of Love FM right ? And the people that do decide to do that will need to seek new employment.”

We should note that in parliament, particularly in the House, only Panton and Barrow offered interventions. That’s because neither Denise “Sista B” Barrow nor Patrick Faber have been attending meetings for some time now and Hugo Patt was absent for an emergency. Those visible absences do not bode well for the UDP to be an effective opposition and its ability to get its message out. Barrow disagreed. 

Moses “Shyne” Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “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 probably hen you are not on the ground. It is a fight. It is a war out there. People are on the battle ground,  people are giving their all but what the detractors will do is distract and I’m not accusing you of that Dale but I’m just asking you – not trying to tell you how to do your job – don’t get caught up in that. I don’t understand how within all of this you will focus on the negative but you won’t focus on the fact that I was in Orange Walk South , in San Carlos with Lupe Magana who is a known supporter of my predecessor and did not vote for me, put out a public advertisement asking people to vote for my opponent. Isn’t that unity ? I’m asking you for the sake of democracy let us not give oxygen to those who want a weak opposition. There ae those who should want a strong opposition that want a weak opposition and the party is going to take the proper measures according to the constitution to deal with those people Dale.”