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Jul 13, 2020

Patrick Faber is the New U.D.P. Leader Elect

Patrick Faber

Voting started at ten o’clock in the morning at the ITVET compound in Belize City; the delegates from Corozal were first to cast their votes for the new leader-elect of the United Democratic Party.  The voting continued up until one o’clock with the Belize City delegates last in line to vote.  Less than two hours later, the results came in; Patrick Faber, the Minister of Education, beat John Saldivar.  In February, at a huge and ostentatious convention, Saldivar trounced Faber by a margin of one hundred and fifteen votes; it means Faber picked up fifty-nine votes to secure the post; though the margin of victory was a narrow nineteen votes. The convention on Sunday did not have the excitement and energy of the February event; in fact, when Faber said thanks, he was only flanked by Elodio Aragon Junior, Manuel Heredia Junior and Rene Montero.  Saldivar had already made his exit and so had Minister Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington. And as they say, uneasy is the head that wears the crown, because immediately after the victory high profile resignations were announced. Here is Isani Cayetano with a report.


Patrick Faber, Party Leader Elect, U.D.P.

“It is my life’s ambition, as you know, to become the leader of this party and to be of service to this party.  Of course the only think that can make that further complete is offering my service to the country as the prime minister of this country some day and I am hoping that that is very soon with the historic victory of the U.D.P. that will be in November or whenever the general elections are called.”


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The ascension of Collet Area Representative Patrick Faber to the leadership of the United Democratic Party was a hard-fought battle, a campaign that was initially won by longtime political opponent John Saldivar on February ninth, during the previous national convention.  Saldivar’s abrupt resignation seventy-two hours later, at the height of the Lev Dermen scandal, presented another opportunity for the defeated former deputy prime minister to challenge the seat.  First, Faber had to recover from the crushing blow that was dealt at the hands of the delegates.


Patrick Faber

“It was a very difficult decision to make.  For me, there were a lot of things going on.  I had to contemplate whether this was an overall rejection.  You know that there were some difficulties with my colleagues right after that situation as well and so for me it was a very discerning process whether I wanted to continue or not.  But people wouldn’t let me say no.  Those who supported me were wide in terms of the party and in terms of the country as well and people kept saying, “Listen, you cannot give this up.”


Hugo Patt

On July twelfth, three candidates, including Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington, took part in a second convention in a bid to succeed Prime Minister Dean Barrow as the next leader of the U.D.P.  Unlike the gala affair that was the first event, Sunday’s convention was considerably barebones.  Gone were the thousands of supporters who poured into the Belize City Center under the red banner.  In their place was a neatly organized and effective mechanism to move voters in and out of the ITVET compound expeditiously.


Hugo Patt, Deputy Party Leader, U.D.P.

“My delegates were kept very abreast and very informed of the entire race itself and so it was just a matter for them to come in and cast their votes.  A decision has been made and so that’s as far as I could tell right now.”


At ten a.m., the polls were officially open for ballots to be cast.  Patiently awaiting his constituency’s turn was Belize Rural South Area Representative, Manuel Heredia Jr.  The well-known San Pedrano is an avid supporter of Patrick Faber.


Manuel Heredia Jr.

Manuel Heredia Jr., Area Rep, Belize Rural South

“The only man that can lead this party to victory is Patrick Faber.  So today, if you see, most of my delegates are over there waiting so that we walk together and go and vote for Patrick Faber.  But it is not a hundred percent because we believe in a true democracy.  There are at least four delegates, mostly from the town council, that are supporting Minister Saldivar, and they have every right.”


That democratic right was afforded to all delegates, including Lake Independence Standard Bearer Dianne Finnegan.  She has been a vocal supporter of John Saldivar, notwithstanding the scandals that plague his candidacy.


Dianne Finnegan

Dianne Finnegan, U.D.P. Standard Bearer, Lake Independence

“I’m not gonna go find nobody, he’s already there.  John Saldivar for leader.  There’s no looking anywhere.”


Ahead of Sunday’s convention questions had arisen pertaining to Saldivar’s worthiness as a candidate and whether he had been cleared to run by the U.D.P.’s ethics committee.  Outgoing Party Leader Dean Barrow spoke on Saldivar’s eligibility.


Dean Barrow

Dean Barrow, U.D.P. Leader

“I do not run a dictatorship, I might be first among equals but we’re all equal and there is a procedure and there is an organ of the party called an ethics committee.  Nobody made any complaints about any of the candidates to the ethics committee.  All candidates have already run for the party and there is a presumption in those circumstances that you’re fine.  So the onus would have been on whoever wished to challenge the eligibility of any of the candidates to make a complaint and nobody did.”


Shortly after two o’clock, an official announcement was made by Chairman Michael Peyrefitte.  When the last vote was counted, Patrick Faber had emerged victorious.


Michael Peyrefitte

Michael Peyrefitte, U.D.P. Chairman

“Five hundred and sixty-seven delegates of the U.D.P. voted today to select the new party leader elect.  Five-sixty-seven out of five-sixty-nine.  Patrick Faber received two hundred and eighty-six votes.  John Saldivar received two hundred and sixty-seven votes.  Wilfred Elrington received ten votes and there were four rejected ballots.  So the official tally, given the official tally, the Honorable Patrick Faber is the new party leader elect of the United Democratic Party.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.


While Saldivar did not stay for the counting of the ballots, this morning he congratulated Patrick Faber in a Facebook post saying, “A heartfelt thank you to all of you for your steadfast and loyal support. Against all odds we came close to a magnificent victory for the common people. We will remain in the struggle for the small man and woman and we will remain with the United Democratic Party as the best and only option through which meaningful change and progress can be achieved. I congratulate our new Leader, Hon. Patrick Faber.”

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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