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Sep 27, 2022

U.D.P.’s Tumultuous Forty-ninth Anniversary

The United Democratic Party turns forty-nine today. The milestone achievement comes at the tail end of the September Celebrations; nonetheless, members of the U.D.P. commemorated the event by paying homage to the party’s forebears.  Beyond the festivity, however, the U.D.P. is at a critical juncture as it remains a house divided almost two years after losing the general elections. We begin our coverage of the U.D.P. at forty-nine with the following story by News Five’s Isani Cayetano.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The United Democratic Party, founded as a political organization on September 27th, 1973, is today a shell of its former self, despite celebrating its forty-ninth anniversary.  The U.D.P., a fusion of various civil movements, including the National Independence Party, was established as an alliance to oppose the People’s United Party.  Almost half a century later, the political party that was initially led by Dean Lindo is struggling to find its footing and once again present itself as a viable option to the masses of voters who may be disenchanted with the existing government.


Earlier today, Party Leader Shyne Barrow issued a statement on the occasion of the U.D.P. anniversary. The expression in words goes on to say “in forty-nine years, we have had two great prime ministers: Sir Doctor Manuel Esquivel and Right Honorable Dean Barrow, with a total of twenty-three years with the U.D.P. as government”. Since being routed at the polls in the November 2020 general elections, the leadership of the United Democratic Party has changed twice in the past two years. Taking up the mantle following that crushing defeat was Collet Area Representative Patrick Faber. A five-time parliamentarian, Faber was plagued by his own personal issues that resulted in scandals that have undoubtedly changed the course of his political career.


When word got out earlier this year that the then party leader was embroiled in a domestic dispute with his fiancée that turned violent, there was great public outrage. In parliament, there was a seismic shift on the opposition bench, with Faber’s U.D.P. colleagues drawing away from him as leader. The move gave rise to Shyne Barrow, a novice politician, to take up the reins in the National Assembly.  In the echelons of the party, a decision was also taken to call a leadership convention to replace the shunned Faber. That convention would be the third selection process within a two-year period during which delegates of the United Democratic Party would vote for a new leader.  In that political race, Barrow would face Albert Area Representative Tracy Panton.


On March twenty-seventh, all roads led to Birds Isle where Barrow subsequently edged out his opponent by a razor thin margin.  In that outcome, a request by Panton for a recount of the ballots was denied by the chairman of the party.  Notwithstanding his meteoric rise to power, leadership of the party that his father held sway over for the better part of twenty-two years has been a challenge for Barrow, a musician-turned-politician. The constant bucking of heads with other forces within the party has led to the so-called expulsion of a prominent mouthpiece.  More recently, it has also resulted in the rejection of Faber’s application to run for a sixth time in Collet.  That decision was predicated on repeat offenses during which Faber flouted the U.D.P.’s constitution.  He had taken to social media on a number of occasions to voice his opinions on internal matters that clearly didn’t sit well with the leader of the party.  Sacking Faber, however, has raised many eyebrows since his seat is considered the safest in the present U.D.P. configuration.


Earlier today, Albert Area Representative Tracy Panton in commemorating the forty-ninth anniversary also weighed in on the present dilemma within the party.  She wrote, “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the classic definition of crazy. The tactic being used will not help us to move beyond the impasse. There is a place for dialogue, for a meeting of the minds, if you will, and there are opportunities for resolution in all situations of resolution is what we truly seek. Differing opinions and views are critical to a robust democracy.  As it is now, our democracy is hanging on to a thread”.

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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