If you watched the news on Friday, you might have seen our Jules Vasquez asking Prime Minister Dean Barrow about a mysterious special meeting he'd had on Wednesday with a majority of Cabinet Ministers. The contingent notably did not include aspirants for leader Patrick Faber and John Saldivar. We knew there was something major afoot, but, in our interview, the PM didn't let on too much - he would only say it was about next Tuesday's Cabinet meeting - which we now know, will be a game-changer.
We have learned that last Wednesday's gathering was pivotal, because it was all about how long Prime Minister Dean Barrow will remain at the helm before stepping aside and handing over to a successor. 7News has learned from multiple sources that 15 Cabinet ministers have asked the PM to stick around as long as possible, and that could mean right up to the date when he calls the 2020 election and dissolves parliament.
That's a big change from the previous position that Barrow would handover sometime after a 2019 UDP leadership convention. Now, after the events of last week, that timeline has been scratched and it doesn't look like there is even going to be a leadership convention in 2019.
Sources tell 7News that the entire Cabinet - with the exception of Patrick Faber - has appealed to Prime Minister Barrow to stay in office until possibly as late as September of 2020, two months before the November general election. And, 7News has learned, the group making the appeal includes aspirant for leader John Saldivar. And that's major - because it puts Deputy Prime Minister Faber as the odd man out - and would seem to derail his hopes of taking over as Prime Minister when Barrow steps aside before the end of the term. In fact, sources tell us that Faber loyalists may have been calling around to rally others to push for PM Barrow's early departure, but now the opposite has happened: He's not going anywhere anytime soon.
That could put Faber in a political vacuum: isolated from his Cabinet colleagues, and his Prime Ministerial ambition has gone from a fast-track to a very slow and uncertain one. And having few to no allies who would switch loyalty from the PM - the reality is that he will most likely have to accept this sudden turn - or risk further Cabinet isolation.
But while the power play intrigues, what's happening here is really a crisis of succession: a super-majority of the Cabinet realizes that if PM Barrow doesn't stick around - the party might splinter under either Saldivar or Faber, and, moreover, the UDP's hopes of winning a fourth term would go from difficult, to impossible.
This puts the PM in a position of maximum leverage - and as we understand all this will be cemented at a Cabinet meeting tomorrow. But sources tell us the Deputy PM Faber is traveling and won't be there. His reaction over the coming days and weeks should be interesting.