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Jul 10, 2020

2nd U.D.P. Convention is Here: Who Will Win on Sunday?

The new leader of the United Democratic Party, who will be referred to as leader elect, will be decided this Sunday. The three-man race has been narrowed down to a very confident Minister Patrick Faber, John Saldivar whose February leadership lasted three days and Foreign Minister Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington, who earlier this week, was totally deflated, but remains in the race.  The convention will be a low-keyed event and delegates will vote and leave.  Today, the Minister of Education gave a pre-convention interview, sounding confident that this round, he has the support of Prime Minister Dean Barrow.  Faber’s nemesis, John Saldivar, has remained silent.  So who will the five hundred and sixty delegates vote for? News Five’s Isani Cayetano has the following report.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The United Democratic Party is tying all remaining loose ends ahead of a second leadership convention on Sunday.  While the election to choose a new party leader will be devoid of the fanfare that was demonstrated at the previous event, there is still confidence among candidates that they will emerge victorious when the final vote is counted.  In the race this time are three aspirants, including Wilfred Elrington, John Saldivar and Patrick Faber.


Patrick Faber

Patrick Faber, Leadership Candidate, U.D.P.

“I am feeling very confident.  You know, this time around I‘ve said to the delegates that there‘s not much I can say to them in terms of selling them who I am and why it is I am fit for this position.  I think much of that work was done for the February convention and so it is at this time only to ask them again, as humbly as I can, to give me their support this time around.  I am sure that all of them understand and they agree that in fact the U.D.P. must win the next general elections which we believe will be in November of this year and in order to do that we have to put our best foot forward and for them and for others in the upper echelon of our party, but also for the base of our party.  They see me as the best candidate at this time to be in the leadership position.”


According to U.D.P. Chairman Michael Peyrefitte, the convention on July twelfth will see the implementation of new measures in light of the existing COVID-19 pandemic.  The busing in of delegates, as well as the voting process will be done expeditiously.


Michael Peyrefitte

Michael Peyrefitte, Chairman, U.D.P.

“People who attend, they will come, they will vote and they will leave.  No campaigning inside the grounds, there will not even be any posters or banners inside the grounds.  You go in, you vote and you leave.  All the campaigning and all that stuff will have to be done before and or outside.  We believe that selecting a leader elect for the party going forward is very, very important; however, there are things that are more important than that.”


Indeed there are other national issues of equal if not greater significance, but for Collet Area Representative Patrick Faber the focus for the next few days is on his candidacy.


Patrick Faber

“Clearly the last time Minister Saldivar and I were in the race, there were certain things that were unknown.  The situation was a bit different then, there might have been issues of concerns but I think after the February ninth convention and the events that followed, people are now willing to say and to be behind me in the sense that they feel that I am the better candidate to put forward.  So in terms of my approach it is just to go back to them to say I am still here and I am still willing to serve.  I still offer all the qualities that I initially said were the qualities that I had to be a good leader to push this party forward.”


On Monday, when we spoke with Pickstock Area Representative Wilfred Elrington, he was less than enthusiastic about the possible outcome of the leadership convention.


Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington

Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington, Leadership Candidate, U.D.P.

“Because I am so old and perhaps the oldest politician being active in the U.D.P. for the next election and because of the vast experience that I have had in government, I thought that the least I could do is to offer my services at the level of leadership to try to carry the country through this very difficult time. Unfortunately, because also too I am not excited about the prospect of taking on such a heavy burden; it is a tremendous burden. I have really not been doing the kind of groundwork that would be imperative for me to do for me to tell you at this point in time that yes I think I will be successful on Sunday.”


The dynamics since the last convention on February ninth have changed considerably.  The Lev Dermen scandal which saw the reset button automatically being pressed on John Saldivar’s fleeting leadership has tarnished his image.  He declined a comment with the media.


Patrick Faber

“Same list of delegates, same candidates but in a way there’s a difference in terms of the candidates.  I think that without putting too much on my opponent, I think that all now understand what happened there and whether or not, as Minister Saldivar has said that he’s innocent or guilty, the impression is there of some kind of want for a better position to be in and certainly I fit the bill.  I believe I have those qualities that people are looking for now for a leader that they can rally behind to bring victory.  So I think that’s the difference.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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