Before Planned Exit At End Of 2019The House of Representatives met today for the first time since March. It was a light meeting, without much vigorous or spirited debate - more or less, it was housekeeping. We'll tell you about the business of the House Sitting later on, but first to the media's interview with the Prime Minister when the meeting was finished.
We asked him very pointedly about the timeline for him to step down - and here's how he explained that it all depends on his back:
Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"I have already agreed with the party that I will go no later than the start of 2020. Let's say the end of 2019. I do have to keep under review the possibility of going earlier. Today has been a good day. My back has not been as bad as it normally is and I am sure Jules who have an eye for these things would have remark on the fact that face was not crease in pain as it sometimes is."
"But on a serious note, I am really, I hate to - I am tired of hearing about my back, so how much more so must you the media and the public be. But it is a factor of some consequence. I quite honestly have to in order to be fair to people, to my own party and to the Belizean electorate contemplate the possibility of going earlier if it is that I begin to sense that I am not in a position to give it my all. That's all it is and I don't want for anybody to be taken by surprise, that's why I have been dropping these rather broad hints that there is a chance that I will go certainly before the end of 2019."
"I had said remember that I didn't want to go until we had sorted the superbond situation and I think that's been sorted out so, there is nothing else that I had set myself. I don't want you to, well not you - I know Jules, he will say start to behave like Alexander the Great who cried when he had no more worlds to conquer. Not that at all sir. It's just that my limited objectives and the last one that I set has now been handled, so I do feel that I am at greater liberty to make that decision. But I insist, it's not that I want to go. It's not that I have had it. It's not that I am fed up to here with politics. It really is that I have to be fair to all concern and this thing which is not getting any better, if in fact it continues to get worse and it begins to affect me mentally attitudinally as well as physically, I will have to look at the option of an earlier departure."
The Prime Minister says he is looking into experimental treatments for his back, including artificial disk technology.
P.M. Barrow Admits He Has Few Worlds Left to Conquer
According to the Prime Minister, today was a good day in terms of his back problems, but there are increasingly fewer of them. With his main goal of this term Ė a renegotiated Superbond Ė off the table, he admits there are few other things left to accomplish, canning corruption among them. So he is looking for his exit spot Ė perhaps by Independence Day of this year, or after the municipal elections next year if the U.D.P. carries another majority? We asked and he responded.
ďAre you eyeing particular milestones? I believe September, Independence Day, has been mentioned; municipal elections next year has been mentioned. Are you eyeing particular milestones in that regard?Ē
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
ďIíve said, remember, that I didnít want to go until we had sorted out the Superbond situation, and I think thatís been sorted out; so there has been nothing else that Iíve set myself Ė I donít want you to Ė well, not you, but I know Jules, he will start to say that I am behaving like Alexander the Great, who cried when he had no more worlds to conquer. Not that at all, sir Ė itís just that my limited objectives, and the last one that I set, has now been handled so I do feel that I am at greater liberty to make that decision. But I insist itís not that I want to go; itís not that I have had it; itís not that I am fed up to here with politics. It really is that I have to be fair to all concerned, and this thing which is not getting any better Ė if in fact, it continues to get worse and it begins to affect me mentally, attitudinally as well as physically, I will have to look at the option of an earlier departure.Ē
Prime Minister Barrow has served nine years in office, like predecessors Manuel Esquivel and Said Musa, but over three terms and not two. He is about two months behind Musa in terms of total time served in office.