For the next two years, Moses Shyne Barrow will act as the duly elected Party Leader for the United Democratic Party. His position was cemented yesterday at the Bird’s Isle in Belize City following a leadership delegate convention. The Mesopotamia Area Representative defeated his opponent from the Alberts, Tracy Taegar Panton by a razor-thin margin. Reporter Vejea Alvarez tells us more in the following report.
Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: By the skin of teeth, Leader of the Opposition, Moses “Shyne” Barrow managed to defeat his opponent from Albert, Tracy Taegar Panton, in the leadership convention by the UDP. It was a hard fought battle that began just after 10:00 on Sunday as the polls were opened to the 516 delegates. For Panton, she was sure that victory would have been hers at the end of the day.
Hon. Tracy Panton, Area Rep. Albert: “I have done my work. I have done the work. I have visited with the delegates. I have made my case and I have shown them. I have outlined to them my vision and plan for the country and for the party and I feel that is enough to get me over the edge.”
Reporter: So you feel at this point that your leadership is what the UDP needs?
Hon. Tracy Panton, Area Rep. Albert:Absolutely, 100%. It’s not only what the UDP needs. It’s what this country needs.
Reporter: Okay so at the end of the day you’re hoping to be successful.
Hon. Tracy Panton, Area Rep. Albert:I will be successful at the end of today.
Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: But unfortunately for Panton, the tide was not on her side. UDP Chairman, Michael Peyrefitte announced shortly after 4:00 that Panton had lost by a razor thin margin of only 3 votes. Because of the miniscule margin, the Panton Camp requested a recount of the ballots but that request was denied. Despite his narrow win, when all was said and done, Barrow was officially the Leader of the UDP and the second Barrow to do so. He conceded that Panton put up a valiant effort
Shyne Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “I’m extremely humbled and grateful and definitely kudos to Panton for a hard fought victory. She has proven herself as a formidable political force and we have shaken hands and we have agreed to work together for the interest of the United Democratic Party. Thank you to all the delegates that have given me their confidence today. The ugly win is a better result than a pretty lose. Michael Jordan has won championships by one basket so it’s nothing new in life. The party is a healthy reflection of democracy. I think we handled ourselves pretty well. There wasn’t a lot of mudslinging, any at all, you know, we kept it internal.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: Barrow says he will now focus on healing the large rift within the UDP which includes having to mend fences with those who did not support his leadership bid.
Shyne Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: ‘I love this party and part of democracy is you will have dissent so my position has never been to have any type of hatred towards people who were not supporting me. So, I say all that to say I’m going to sit down. We’re going to look at everything. I am more concerned about people who were just occupying positions and not working but if someone was doing an outstanding job in a particular position, just because that person may have voted for Tracy or may have been a Faber proponent, I am not, my instinct is not to get rid of anyone, that’s not how I think. I want what’s best for the party.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: And that means that Barrow will undertake a National Tour in the coming weeks. For now though, Barrow’s work may be cut out for him, a task that may be his hardest yet. Reporting for Love News, I am Vejea Alavarez.