The young aspiring Prime Minister, Patrick Faber flew solo today as he called a press conference at the UDP Secretariat. The 43-year-old was recently unseated as the Leader of the Opposition and was replaced by Area Representative Moses Shyne Barrow. While there is no fight being put up for the opposition leader’s seat, Faber says he is prepared to fight for to retain his position as the UDP Party Leader. But before we get into the devil and the details, we take a look at how we got here in the first place. It was a political undercurrent that started some weeks ago to have Faber removed via a no-confidence motion that was presented to the Governor General earlier this week. Faber says he was made aware of the movements whilst he was out of the country, and was only given a notice from the Governor General a few hours before Barrow was sworn in as the new Leader of the Opposition.
Patrick Faber, Party Leader, United Democratic Party: “As far as I have been able to follow nothing has been done that is against the laws of Belize. So what has happened is allowable by our constitution and so I fully yield to what has happened. People who are wondering whether or not I will sit beside the new Leader of the Opposition and work for my party absolutely. Absolutely. I am elected by the people of the Collet constituency, I serve the United Democratic Party and there is nobody who will stop me from arriving in that house God willing to represent the people of Collet and to represent the people of this nation who have been duped by the People’s United Party so greatly on November 20th of Last year. I learnt of course of the decision of three of my colleagues to sign a letter of no confidence while I was away travelling home on Monday afternoon. I had been of the opinion that at least one of those colleagues did not intend to sign the letter of petition to the Governor General or instruction to the Governor General and I was saddened by that. I will not tell you otherwise. I will tell you as well that I have never been in communication with the Honorable Barrow, he has never approached me. We’ve never had a discussion so that I was not aware when it happened that it was about to happen. He had made these points before that this was the case and when I checked with the colleagues all except Sista B they said that they did not intend to sign and so I was comforted by that position. I think the change came when Honorable Hugo Patt decided to sign the letter. I sought to speak with him for days and I did not get a response until I think it was maybe Wednesday night that he finally returned a call to me and he confirmed indeed that he had signed the letter. He said that he did so because members of his constituency, in particular the delegates of his committee were insisting that he do so. He intimated to me that it was not necessarily something ideal for him and that he wished for a better outcome and that he would go back and talk to his delegates but I got no response further to that. On Thursday I was summoned to the Governor General’s office where she advised me that she was in receipt of the letter by way of email that came late one evening after office hours, I think she said Tuesday if I’m not mistaken and she confirmed to me that she had not at that point received an original letter with original signatures but that she felt that it was a legitimate intent on the part of my colleagues and she shared with me that she intended to sign a proclamation to remove my as Leader of the Opposition to which I said to her I had no difficulty, I understood the role that she played. Subsequent to that an hour or two later the Honorable Shyne Barrow was sworn in much to the dismay of many Belizeans. You people run the media you see all the negative comments but as I’ve said I will not take that on any further, it will be left up to the delegates of this party to decide.”
It is a humbling experience for Faber, but despite the challenges he now faces in his political career, he is not ready to give up. He made it clear today that he will not be stepping down nor is he giving up even though he feels that he was stabbed in the back and betrayed. Furthermore he noted that with the Recall Mechanism within the UDP now activated, he will fight to continue being the Party Leader but he is unsuccessful he will support the new leader. The Recall Mechanism is an available option within the party to change the UDP’s Party Leader.
Patrick Faber, Party Leader, United Democratic Party: “I will humbly yield to what the party, through the right process, dishes out. And so if I am not successful in terms of my bid to remain as the leader in this recall convention you’ve heard me say, I’ll say it again just for the avoidance of doubt that I will remain the humble servant of the United Democratic Party in whatever capacity I am able to serve after that I will certainly be then a member of the Central Executive and the National Party Council. I will always be a member of the National Convention as a former leader if that pans out to be the case and I have nowhere to go. I am not going to join any third party or form any third party I am a UDP, I have given my life in service to this party and I aint got nowhere to go. In terms of bringing unity maybe a bit of insight into what has happened so far may be helpful to you and to other members of the media. Firstly as I said in my statement at no point upon my proceeding with the leadership of the party after the outcome of the general elections did I say to any of my colleagues ‘You are banished from this party, you cannot run for this party.’ if that message was communicated it could only be to one person who lost three general elections and the constitution sent that message to him not me. In fact it is the opposite and some have said that it may be the reason why I find myself in these troubled waters because I was not stern and sift enough to say to some of them this party doesn’t need you. What I did instead was to ask them to give me an opportunity via my appointments in the parliament, via my working with members of the House of Representatives in particular in parliamentary caucuses to prepare and to help them.”
One party member who has been bringing the pressures on Faber is former Minister John Saldivar who has said that the best thing Faber could do is to step down and make thing easier for the UDP. Faber, in response, noted that unlike Saldivar, he (Faber) still enjoys support from thousands of voters. He added that Saldivar’s actions now are merely a repeat of history.
Patrick Faber, Party Leader, United Democratic Party: “I will say to Mr.Saldivar via this press conference as well that if it were for my own personal reasons and if it was truly a decision that I could make on my own and that I would make on my own that wouldn’t affect the wider party and the wider nation of Belize I would walk away. I would walk away. The burden of having your colleagues, shoot you, stab you in your back, torment you is not an easy burden when it is you have done nothing to your colleagues in the party. If you had done something then fine that warrants that but honestly I don’t think I deserve the treatment of being stabbed in the back especially in light of the office that I hold in this party. So if it were for me alone I will tell you honestly that’s a heavy burden to carry and I would walk away. But there are thousands of supporters in this party who message me on a daily basis with great concerns that if I don’t hold the fort in this party , that if I don’t continue to try to forge the kind of change that Belizeans demanded, sent a lout signal to us on November 11th that we want change, that we want to clearly define a new party, we don’t want a corrupted version of the party and that was a very very real message. If it were that we were stronger in the parliament and that my participation in there would not mean as much, if it were that I had the confidence in people like my colleague John Saldivar who of course has his own agenda – he cannot run again because there are three elections that he’s lost the constitution says you can’t run again unless there is special dispensation from the NPC so desperate people do desperate things. I’m not quarreling but I am trying to paint the picture of the agenda that is behind there. No doubt Mr.Saldivar’s views as well and his feelings I mean it is plain that this is a drive for him. Long before the incident of the video happened Mr.Saldivar was going around the country, he was going around the country preaching gloom and doom and trying to instigate a change against my leadership which is not something that is new to him by the way. The name Caucus for Change incase you don’t remember originated back in the late 1990’s I’d say, 1999 to 2000 headed by the same John Saldivar trying to form a coup to depose the Honorable Dean Oliver Barrow. Strange how politics for strange bedfellows now.”