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Jun 22, 2021

Shyne Barrow is the New Leader of the Opposition in the House

It is not the proverbial white smoke that heralds the selection of a new pope, but on Monday evening, Shyne Barrow declared himself as the new Leader of the Opposition in the House.  For now, Patrick Faber retains his seat as leader of the U.D.P., despite a move from within to have him recalled during a special convention of the United Democratic Party.  It is a significant development that has unfolded overnight.  Nonetheless, according to the Mesopotamia Area Representative, it has been months in the making.  The latest round of scandal, says Barrow, reflects poor leadership on Faber’s part to unite the party since last year’s second leadership convention.  Earlier today, News Five’s Isani Cayetano sat down for a one-on-one with Barrow, following a meeting with the new Governor General to declare his leadership.  U.D.P. Chairman Michael Peyrefitte also weighs in on the change in leadership.  Here’s our first story.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The United Democratic Party is once again at a turning point.  Despite being elected as leader last year, a move is afoot internally to recall Patrick Faber, following the release of a video which purports to show him charging in the direction of the mother of his two-year-old daughter.  In the last twenty-four hours, we have seen the emergence of a new Leader of the Opposition from among five elected parliamentarians in the House of Representatives.  Shyne Barrow, the Member for Mesopotamia, has been elevated to that post, completing another phase in what is described as a palace coup.


Shyne Barrow

Shyne Barrow, Leader of the Opposition

“I am not operating in a vacuum.  It is not Shyne Barrow that wrote the Governor General.  It is the Honorable Hugo Patt, deputy leader of the U.D.P., Honorable Denise Barrow, the member of parliament for Queen Square, after deliberations with the constituency leaders who got together three hundred delegates to recall the Honorable Patrick Faber and after deliberations with the members of the House who, although the member from Albert did not sign, initially she was onboard and she believed that the actions of Patrick Faber warranted such an extreme response.”


The decision to write to Governor General Froyla Tzalam comes hard on the heels of a campaign that was recently launched by members of the party to garner as many signatures to trigger a recall convention.  Last Thursday, the results of the petition were delivered to the office of the chairman at the U.D.P. secretariat.  While those numbers surpassed the threshold, Faber still holds on to his seat pending the outcome of a recall convention.


Michael Peyrefitte

Michael Peyrefitte, Chairman, United Democratic Party

“I was informed yesterday that a majority of the five UDP members in the House decided to inform the Governor General that the Honorable Shyne Barrow would be the new leader of opposition business in the house.  As leader of opposition business in the house, under the constitution that is allowed but the Honorable Patrick Faber is still the leader of the United Democratic Party.”


In the House of Representatives, however, the reins will be handed over to Barrow following a few formalities in the days ahead.


Shyne Barrow

“As a matter of technicality, you know, the Governor General would call me in and swear me in and issue some instrument making it a technicality, but as a matter of practicality the constitution says clearly that the Leader of the Opposition shall be he or she who enjoys the majority support of the opposition members.”


From the outside looking in, almost one year after Faber was elected leader in the second national convention following the Lev Dermen fiasco that rocked the party, the UDP continues to implode.  But what does this mean for the once powerful party?


Michael Peyrefitte

“As you know, we have a recall petition in place and we believe that more than the required amount of people have signed that petition to proceed with a recall convention and we will be meeting this Thursday with the Central Executive Committee of the party to chart the specifics of that convention going forward.”


For Shyne, it is more about preserving the integrity of the organization than it is about safeguarding Faber’s image.


Shyne Barrow

“It is not a matter of, well the video is not incriminating to the extent of filing criminal charges.  It is clear what we saw in that video, there was a violent, there was a back and forth and a contemplation, then a violent surge towards a mother and her child. So we as an institution have to make a decision, do we protect Patrick Faber or do we protect the institution and our credibility and our quest to re-engage the public and to restore their trust and confidence in us so that we can be the alternative to what is happening now.”


U.D.P. Chairman Michael Peyrefitte outlines the course of action once the recall convention is successful.


Michael Peyrefitte

“Well I think the Honorable Hugo Patt as the first deputy leader of the party and the Member for Corozal North, he would be the one to take over the interim leadership and once he takes over the interim leadership, the U.D.P. constitution says that within three months there must be a convention for the new, so to speak, full-time party leader.”


The move towards recalling the party leader, says Barrow, has not been an easy one.  This would only be the second time in the party’s history when a party leader is removed via a palace revolution.


Shyne Barrow

“This was not an easy call but it was almost an instant, obvious clear-cut direction that we needed to decide whether or not we’re going to show the people that we are serious about change, that we are a new U.D.P. or we are going to do what has been done for the past forty years, oh that wahn blow over like wahn lee breeze, noh worry bout that.”


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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