UDP Leader Defends Decision to Remove Standard Bearer
The Leader of the Opposition, Moses “Shyne” Barrow, is defending the decision of the UDP Executive Body to remove Jazelie Azueta from her post as the UDP Belize Rural South (BRS) Standard Bearer. On Saturday, the UDP’s National Party Council (NPC) met and voted to give Azueta the boot. The move came after the BRS publicly renounced the UDP protest in San Pedro last Thursday and refused to participate. Azueta was voted out but stated that the decision “has eroded the most basic core value of the party, which is the democratic process.” But, today, Barrow justified the party’s decision and said it was unacceptable for Azueta to go against the party.
Moses “Shyne” Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “Well in democracy back and forths are a reflection of a robust and healthy democracy. So that is a good thing that people are actually allowed to voice their opinions. Certainly the leader of the party should be able to voice his opinion and that’s all that was. We as a central executive, we met with the standard bearer for Belize, the former standard bearer for Belize Rural South and the current executive because she has been the only person that was removed. She was not expelled. We do have the power based on MPC resolutions to expel a person that is in violation of the resolutions and the constitution that forbids public attacks, public condemnation of the party. Just as you can’t say anything bad about Channel 7, you can’t say anything bad about KREM or Five – well no I don’t think that, 0I think there are certain guidelines that you can’t attack your organization. If that is not in place, I don’t know what organization can function. Now internally, I believe there are mechanisms by which you can present your criticisms, your dissatisfactions b0ut externally, that should never take place. And so the central executive met and we decided that it was totally outrageous and unacceptable and we recommended to the National Party Council that the standard bearer be removed because we found out that it was not the entire executive. The executive supplicate to us that they were not even aware that a public statement was being issued until it was actually issued. The secretary herself said that she wanted to cry and she asked that it immediately be retracted and it fell on deaf ears. So we ascertained that it was only the standard bearer and the chairman who resigned, her chairman resigned. And so we went to the MPC, which the MPC allows everyone the opportunity to be heard.”
While Barrow says the decision was in the best interest of his party, it did ruffle feathers within the UDP. In a leaked audio recording of the NPC meeting, Barrow is heard shouting during an argument with UDP Albert Area Representative Tracy Panton. Barrow was asked today if he felt that the argument went a bit too far given that Panton stated that her daughter was being mentioned. However, he says he didn’t call any names and was speaking generally.
Moses “Shyne” Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “I did not say anyone’s name. Ms. Panton, the member from Alberts, she’s the one that took it there. But you need to understand what my issue is. I don’t care about anyone’s personal life unless there are accusations of criminal activity or it is in conflict with what is in the best interest of the UDP. So obviously someone is undermining our objective, our agenda to take that seat, to take the municipal elections in San Pedro and Caye Caulker. That is a fact. There is no political logic. There is no political rationale or reasoning to not want to protest. There is no logic to not want to issue a condemnation, a public condemnation of André Perez and his alleged criminal behavior. He’s accused of sexual assault. There is no logic to not wanting to recall André Perez. So when my standard-bearer or the former standard-bearer is refusing to do anything about André Perez but will instead condemn the party who put her in that position, something is wrong. So we have to consider all relationships. So it was important for the NPC to understand there is a personal relationship there for someone that works for Sean Feinstein that’s what I said. The member from Alberts could say whatever she wants to say, I will speak for myself. I did not call anyone’s name, I did not refer to anyone’s gender, anyone’s daughter. There is a relationship there, a personal one, with someone that works for certain elements that we have cause to suspect may have been involved, may not have been involved, but we have a right to put that before our National Party Council for consideration because this idea that we somehow did something wrong or we somehow have miscalculated or have been ill-advised is preposterous.”