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Aug 27, 2004

Barrow expects big crowd at protest

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You could say that it?s the first major event of the United Democratic Party?s 2008 election campaign…a mass protest march and rally seeking to capitalize on widespread public distrust of government?s financial management, aided and abetted by a simmering civil war in the ruling PUP cabinet. For UDP leader Dean Barrow it?s a scenario made in Opposition heaven. This morning, we joined him in Memorial Park to ask how he plans to turn what would normally be a partisan political event into a broad based movement.

Dean Barrow, Opposition Leader

?We are trying to insist that as the constitutional opposition we have a right and perhaps the duty to organise something like this. But that we are appealing to everyone and that we are saying to our followers come only with Belizean flags. Don?t fly your UDP colours and we are hoping that difficult as it is to maintain the distinction, people will feel that our motives are legitimate enough for them to be able to join in even though on a strictly partisan basis they might not otherwise have done so.?

Stewart Krohn

?These kinds of events, in evaluating them, we always talk about expectations. It?s not how many people come out; it?s how people come out compared to what you said were going to come out. What are you looking for on Saturday??

Dean Barrow

?Not less than seven thousand persons; hopefully more, but a minimum of seven thousand persons.?

But when the protesters have all gone home, the conditions they are protesting will not have gone away. According to Barrow, he is not hoping for the situation to worsen.

Dean Barrow

?The politician in me naturally, perhaps rejoices at the mess that?s being made of things by the government. But the nationalist in me is saddened by what?s happening. The realist in me also tells me that the worse things get, the messier will be the job of any incoming administration. So that while in a narrow partisan sense, I have no interest in seeing the government clean up its act. I have no interest in seeing the government get a hold of the public finances and do a rescue job. As a Belizean, I in fact would want that to happen because nobody in this country can afford a default; nobody in this country can afford the kind of collapse that seems to be looming. If the government said to me tomorrow, look there are things we need you to help on as an opposition in order to avert the crisis from actually swamping us, I would have to respond positively.?

The rally at Memorial Park is scheduled for nine Saturday morning. It will be followed by a march through the streets of Belize City.

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