As we noted earlier, yesterday marked the end of the Dean Barrow era. Barrow came into power with a blaze of glory back in 2008 – yesterday, however, it could be described as a puff of smoke. His final address to his UDP supporters lacked luster and the response from those inside the civic was not as exuberant as they once were eleven years ago. Here is a snippet of the PM’s address.
Rt.Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize: “Of course for me this is a bitter sweet moment. I watched the tribute and I could feel myself tearing up. This after all is the last time I shall be addressing a UDP national convention. Naturally that is a cause for some personal regret. I have been involved with this party at the electoral level since 1983 and now I bring to a close a life in politics, a life in the UDP that has spanned almost four decades. On the other hand it has been the greatest privilege of my existence to have served the United Democratic Party and Belize and to have been the leader for two decades as a joy beyond compare.”
At this point, it is anybody’s guess how things will proceed. We can confidently tell you that Hugo Patt will be the Deputy Prime Minister. As for John Saldivar, there is the possibility that he many never get to experience the powers of Prime Minister as it is rumored that Barrow will finish out his term until the next election is called. If that is the case, it then leaves Hugo Patt in a more constitutionally powerful position than Saldivar. Love News understands that there was a meeting held today to discuss the future moves but we are yet to ascertain what those moves are. For now, many of the powers that be within the UDP agreed on one thing after the convention and that is that the party needs to be unified.
Elodio Aragon, UDP Orange Walk East: “Whoever wins here we must unite and rally behind because at the end of the day that will be the chosen person. So that is important to note because at the end of the day we need to win the next general election and how can we in another election if we go divided? We must go united so whoever wins at this convention without a doubt I am confident will bring together the party.”
Party Supporter: “We know that it’s the end of his era as far as being the Prime Minister it’s not necessarily the end of his era from being a candidate and running but of course he made the decision not contest any further election, he just can’t be Prime Minister. It is very important because I think whoever comes out as the new leader will set their plans and policies with respect to the direction of the party.”
Darrell Bradley, Senate President: A person who is elected to an office has to prove themselves to the public. When I was elected Mayor of Belize City you had to build that trust. When you are now elected one of the things I really appreciated with the Honorable John Saldivar’s presentation and speech is that he spoke of unity, he spoke of a message of wanting to build trust. He asked the Honorable Patrick Faber to join him at the podium and they embraced in a show of unity and I think that when one wins a certain office it’s incumbent on that person to recognize the people around them and to recognize their own limitations and what they need. You need people and you need a unified front in order to capture that public confidence. We have a lot of challenges facing the country and we need to deal with those challenges very seriously and the leadership needs to recognize that that we need to build that trust and confidence with the people in every action that we take so I think that while it is a moment of victory for the Honorable John Saldivar I think that any leader who wins a post like this has to be introspective, you have to reflect upon what it is that you will do right now. They always say uneasy lies the head that wears the crown, when you are the leader now of the United Democratic Party you have to realize now how will you go and the same people that you were talking to today how will you go out and convince those people that I am the right choice for the country and for the party? That remains the challenge both of the Honorable John Salidivar and of the United Democratic Party. Let’s not fool ourselves there are real issues that the party faces in relation to allegations of corruption, credibility issues, the party needs to confront these things head on and deal with them if we are able to inspire people for a fourth term of office.”