A few days ago via a letter sent to the Party Secretariat and copied to the Prime Minister of Belize, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture Gaspar Vega informed the United Democratic Party that he would not seek re-election as the Area Representative for Orange Walk North in the next General Elections. In his letter Vega also stated that he did not want to be endorsed as the First Deputy Leader of the party in the upcoming convention set for Sunday March 20.

Vegas early retirement from politics took many by surprise and while there are many speculations surrounding his decision, they remain as that…just speculations since Vega nor the Prime Minister Dean Barrow has spoken about issue.

But while the two main men of the UDP are not talking, there are those in the party who are not keeping quite. And one of those persons is Minister of Education Patrick Faber. CTV3 News was the first to speak to Faber on the issue of Vega’s retirement last week Friday during the inauguration of a new school building at the Belize High School of Agriculture.

During the interview Faber spoke to us about his interest in the seats of First Deputy Party Leader and Deputy Prime Minister. But there are others interested in the seats also including Erwin Contreras who will be endorsed as Second Deputy Leader on March 20th.

Today in Belize City Faber spoke about Contreras’ possible candidacy for the post stating that it practically changes the game.

Honorable Patrick Faber- Minister Education Youth and Sports

“I would say that if Minister Contreras enters the race the age old argument that of course has been pulled out of or becomes a factor, Minister Saldivar and I are both of a Creole decent if you will and of course Minister Contreras is a Hispanic and so as a people know in Belize we are still quite not as that stage where it doesn’t matter what is your skin color is and so we have traditionally in the UDP tried to balance the power both ethnically and geographically and so yes his entrance would put that as a factor in the convention but you know this is a very special circumstance as well we believe that this post now of Deputy Leadership can be a good stepping stone for a new leader for the party to use and to start the work and start the familiarization if you it is not a guaranteed of course down the road when we have the convention for the other leadership positions including the party leader in 2020 there will be that kind of opportunity again but none can argue that this could be such a stepping stone and so we look at all of this and we assess everything and then we decide if we are in but I can tell you that I am in.”

While there are those who believe that the position of First Deputy Leader should automatically go Contreras since he enjoys seniority in the party, Faber begs to differ.

Honorable Patrick Faber- Minister Education Youth and Sports

“We all have our strength and our weaknesses; there are certain strength that I might bring to the table that Minister Saldivar doesn’t have there are certain strength that Minister Contreras brings to the table that he might not have that other people have so it is just presenting ourselves to the party and then to have the party make that decision as best as democratic process as we have now because of course it is not the kind of time to be changing the system so to speak and that system may prove a bit at a disadvantage for certain of us but that is the system that exist now and so I believe nobody is entitled to things when it comes to that leadership and so we all have to work and use the mechanisms that exists now to try to advance our ambitions not only for ourselves though but also for the betterment for the party.”

In 2013 Faber lost the seat of First Deputy Leader to Gaspar Vega. This time though, the Minister of Education says he has done his homework and is not contemplating a loss.

Honorable Patrick Faber- Minister Education Youth and Sports

“I am not contemplating to lose as you pointed out so rightly but if it is not my time for it to happen and if the people of the party given the mechanism that we have right now say Farber is not your time then it is not my time, I don’t know that if I will offer myself any further I don’t know but as you know my life so far has been one of service to the people, I am not a perfect man so I will be right here continuing to serve the people, the people of collet can be assured that I am not going anywhere in a hurry, I am not going to be like some of those very abstinent politicians specially my friend the Rt. Honorable member from the other side of the house who is at seventy and refuses to go practically that is not going to happen to me but certainly I am nowhere that stage and in fact I have a bright future in politics no matter what happen in this convention.”

Following the convention on Sunday, the UDP’s National Party Council will meet to decide on the procedure and timing for a special election to choose the new first deputy leader to succeed Hon. Vega. 

CTV3