Veteran politicians Anthony ‘Boots’ Martinez and Michael Finnegan have both indicated that this term is likely their last. It is also the last in which Dean Barrow will serve as Prime Minister of Belize, since the Constitution limits him to three terms in that capacity. With elections just days past, Barrow told us that demitting office is far in the future, and until that time he will remain in the driver’s seat.
Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
“The Constitution says that nobody can be Prime Minister for more than three terms – it didn’t say two terms and a half, or two terms and three quarters. As long as God gives me health and strength, there ain’t going to be any more early elections. We really have to manage the transition, and we’re getting way ahead of ourselves…but we will have to manage the transition so that at the last possible moment that will not disadvantage my successor, I would expect to resign so that in fact whoever the party chooses as my successor can become Prime Minister at least for a number of months and take the Party into the next general elections as Prime Minister. But up until that point in time Sir I expect to remain fully and firmly in control. I believe I have the support of all my colleagues and so I do not anticipate any trouble on that score at all.”
At his press conference on Thursday the Prime Minister revealed that of all the results, he is most surprised by Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley’s loss.
Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
“That is democracy…you know that in every election surprises are going to be thrown out. I perhaps was most shocked by the loss in Caribbean Shores. I’ll tell you that quite frankly. I did not expect that with Darrell Bradley’s absolutely outstanding record. I didn’t see how that happened. I had been hearing reports that his opponent was gaining ground but I simply thought that in the end that sort of record which is unequalled would have carried him through. So that was the biggest shock. With Omar, Papa Mena…people like that…there clearly was never going to be the same margin of victory in a general election when it’s for all the marbles, than there was in a bi-election when people knew that the result was not going to make any difference to the configuration of the government – was not going to change the administration. Clearly the PUPs and their supporters were energized at the possibility of being able now to actually gain control of the government. So we always knew that those huge margins…except of course in those constituencies like Collet, Mesopotamia and Sister B…we always knew that things would have narrowed. In Cayo North it tightened rather more than I would have anticipated…in Dangriga just about where I figured we would be.”