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Marty Offline OP
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For the first time in its history - or the history of any mass party in Belize - the UDP is going to a recall convention on Sunday at the Bird's Isle. The party'2 500 plus delegates will be given the option to keep or kick out their Party Leader, Patrick Faber.

So which way will it go - and does it even matter? Jules Vasquez looked at Belize's first recall convention:

The UDP had two national conventions in 2020 - the one in February, before COVID - was extravagant - hundreds of thousands of dollars spent mobilizing a massive crowd for a one day event, and plastering the CIVIC in signage.

All that political combustion and capital produced a leader who hardly lasted 72 hours.

Fast forward to July 12, 2020 - in COVID times and the event at the ITVET was much smaller, maybe even a little sheepish. Instead of political ignition, there was ignominy - and the most memorable thing was a certain minister selling those salty tailgate tacos…Patrick Faber emerged victorious only to preside over the worst defeat in his party's history a few months later.

And, exactly one year later, on July 11, 2021, the same leader elected 364 days earlier now faces a recall.

520 delegates will decide their leader's fate.

The UDP constitution says for the recall to succeed, at least 66%, or, 344 of them must support the recall petition.

The question put to them will be" "Do You Want The Honourable Patrick Faber To Remain As The Leader Of The UDP? Yes Or No?"

Faber says more than 50% will say "yes"; one of the architects of his undoing, Leader fo the Opposition, Shyne Barrow says 66% will say "no."

Jules Vasquez, Host, Uncut
"Do you expect that you will get the support of more than 50% of the delayers against the recall?"

Hon. Patrick Faber, UDP Party Leader
"I am working for that very diligently, sir. And it looks very good at this point."

Jules Vasquez, Host, Uncut
"What happens on Sunday, what is going to be the count on that recall vote?"

Hon. Shyne Barrow, Leader of the Opposition
"Well, I believe we have the 365. Even if he wins, he will be spending the next couple of years or the next year or whenever until convention, trying to hold on to power, when we need somebody that will be trying to overthrow the PUP and their bad policies."

Jules Vasquez, Host, Uncut
"Would you agree that even if you manage to get around 50%, its not a good look for a mass party leader to say that well I have the support of almost 50% from the delegates."

Hon. Patrick Faber, UDP Party Leader
"Well, nothing is in the position that we are in right now. We lost the general elections terribly, we lost the municipal elections terribly - we are down and we are out."

Down and out and now going into a recall convention that is, in itself, an unprecedented embarrassment - meaning that on Sunday evening when the tally is announced - no matter what the result says, there will be no winners in the UDP.

The latest number this evening from the UDP is that there will be 521 delegates, not 520 as Shyne Barrow told us on Wednesday. The 66% threshold for the recall motion to succeed remains 344 delegates.

We note that if the petition is voted down and Faber holds on as Party Leader, the party would be required by its constitution to go to leadership convention within a year, when he could face potential challengers.

Channel 7

Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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LIVE: UDP Recall Vote:

Joined: Oct 1999
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Hon. Patrick Faber remains the leader of the UDP...
162 votes were needed for Faber to keep the job, he got 226. There were 257 votes to remove him.

Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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Faber Survives A Battle In A Long War

Patrick Faber is still leader of the UDP tonight - after he survived Belize's first ever recall convention. But, survive is all he did: The recall petition needed the support of two thirds of the delegates who voted - it did not get that, but it did get more than half.

So, Faber emerged still holding unto leadership - but with less than half of his party's delegates supporting him - which does raise credible questions of legitimacy.

But, as they say, "ugly win better than pretty lose" - and - indeed, it was not pretty, kind of like a slow motion car wreck where the damage keeps piling up. Our team was at the Bird's Isle to capture the day's events and Courtney Menzies reports:

The Bird's Isle Restaurant was a wave of red, much like we've seen at the past two UDP conventions. But this one was different - exactly one year after winning the leadership convention, Patrick Faber's position was called into question and his fate was in the hands of the 521 delegates.

But while only 483 came out to vote, he still managed to win over 1/3 of them. Faber told us earlier in the day that he had no doubts because despite the delegate list being rigged, a number of them still supported him.

Hon. Patrick Faber, UDP Party Leader
"All of those who signed did not intend for the recall to happen, there were various different reasons, including just doing it because they're local leaders were asking them, there were those who genuinely concerned about my personal issue and of course after my public position being made in terms of my press conference and other media appearances, they felt confident enough that that was not reason enough for me to be removed as the leader so I am counting on many of those persons who signed that position to vote in favor of keeping me as the leader today and so it's going to be a win as far as I can see."

"I don't think that if I don't win by an absolute majority today that that means that the party does not trust me. I am confident of a win, I feel at this time that it will be by more than half and the situation was that some of these delegates were not properly selected so you have to understand that that can't be a judgement on whether or not there is love and loyalty for me as leader of the party so we will have to ensure that here moving forward, which is the normal process of the party, that delegates are properly selected and the next time we come to a leadership race that it will be based on having those delegates, those executive committees properly selected for the party."

And while it was his own party and parliamentary colleagues who instigated this convention, he told us that after he won, there would be a lot of hugging up that needs to be done.

Hon. Patrick Faber, UDP Party Leader
"I love my colleagues dearly and so there is nothing that they can do to have me not like them or hate them in that way. I don't like some of what some of my colleagues have done but that is what politics is, that's the nature of this so I can't not get over that and especially as I will retain the leadership of this party today, my next goal is to hug up everybody and try to move forward, that is what is needed so no matter what the outcome, my position is open arms to my colleagues."

And those colleagues came early to cast their vote, along with former prime minister, Dean Barrow.

"Sir who did you cast your vote for this morning? Are you in support of Faber?"

Rt. Hon Dean Barrow, Former Prime Minister
"Private, sir, private, no comment."

And his son, whom many see as the person championing the recall convention, had a few words for the press as well as he chauffeured people in and out of the compound.

Hon. Shyne Barrow, Leader of the Opposition
"The two thirds have it."

"Mr Barrow, we saw you somewhat shrug off the party leader, how is your relationship…"

Hon. Shyne Barrow, Leader of the Opposition
"How did you see all of that? God bless the UDP, God bless Belize."

But Faber's parliamentary colleague, Tracy Taegar Panton, had more to say, including that she doesn't believe the fight for leadership should have hit the public domain. She was tightlipped about where she threw her support, but it should be noted she abstained from the petition. She told us why.

Hon. Tracy Taegar Panton, Area Rep, Albert
"There are legally constituted organs of the party and there's a constitution of the UDP and I believe that it was important for us to work in accordance with the legally constituted committees of the party. That is the central executive and the national party council and so for that reason I decided that I would not participate at that level."

"I believe this should be strictly an internal matter, it's unfortunate that it has gone in the public domain in my view, the party will sort itself out, we will reconcile, we will heal, we will unite and we will rebuild, whatever happens today, I would like to be a part of that team that helps to reconcile, that helps to heal, that help to unite, and helps to rebuild."

But with all that excitement early in the day, it was around three in the afternoon when it would be revealed that Faber would remain as party leader.

Michael Peyrefitte, UDP Chairman
"483 delegates cast their vote. 226 said yes they wanted the Honorable Patrick Faber to remain the leader of the UDP and 257 said no, they don't want him to remain the leader of the party. The 226 is more than the 161, 162 1/3 that was necessary for Mr Faber to remain the leader of the UDP and so therefore with those numbers, the Honorable Patrick Faber remains the leader of the UDP."

But while he managed to win, he received less than 50% of the vote, and the chairman said that those who championed the petition and lost will get another chance in the upcoming national convention.

And while that still looms over the party's head, Faber was more focused on his win and what that now means for himself as well as the UDP.

Hon. Patrick Faber, UDP Party Leader
"I am happy of course with the results, I would have hoped for a larger margin of course but it's not just the very minimum either I mean 220-something when we only needed 160-add is very convincing to me. And given that everybody knows that these odds are stacked against me because of the way the delegates were selected originally in some constituencies, I think this is a damn good showing and so I'm proud of the results and I'm happy that I get the remain leader of our great party."

Courtney Menzies:
"Sir do you expect to be reinstated as Leader of the Opposition?"

Hon. Patrick Faber, UDP Party Leader
"I will work on that, that's a matter for my parliamentary colleagues but of course I'm going to now try to ensure that that happens. I think the vast majority of people in our party, the masses, but also the wider population of Belize believes that I am the best person to be the leader of the opposition, I believe that is very clear from all that is said from the main stream but also in social media, people are not happy of the situation that was happening with the new leader of the opposition and so I'm going to do my best now that people have re-endorsed me as leader of the party to ensure that I regain my position as leader of the opposition."

As for the other 38 delegates who did not come out to vote, Chairman Michael Peyrefitte explained that they had legit reasons such as sickness, being out of the country, and in one case, giving birth.

Shyne Barrow had left the compound before the voting had ended.

Channel 7

Patrick Faber Retains Leadership of the U.D.P.

The votes are in and Patrick Faber lives to fight another day, but in the wake of a less than resounding victory at Sunday's recall convention, his detractors are still asking him to step down as U.D.P. party leader.� Faber, who was been under fire from factions inside the United Democratic Party for several weeks, met the one-third threshold that was necessary for him to retain his seat; however, there is still great division within the beleaguered political organization.� Delegates poured in from all corners of the country as the historic Bird's Isle was the venue for the first-of-its-kind recall convention.� Of the five hundred and twenty-one delegates that were eligible to participate in yesterday's vote, thirty-eight did not cast their ballots.� Likewise, of the two hundred and ninety delegates who signed the petition to trigger a recall convention, only two hundred and fifty-seven maintained their initial position on Faber's leadership, thirty-three of them either had a change of mind or opted to abstain from voting.� We begin our coverage of the convention with a comprehensive look at what transpired on Sunday afternoon.

Michael Peyrefitte, Chairman, U.D.P.

"Four hundred and eighty-three delegates cast their vote.� Two hundred and twenty-six said yes, they wanted the honorable Patrick Faber to remain the leader of the United Democratic Party and two hundred and fifty-seven said no, they don't want him to remain the leader of the party.� The two-twenty-six is more than the one-sixty-one, one-sixty-two, one-third that was necessary for Mr. Faber to remain the leader of the U.D.P. and so therefore, with those numbers the honorable Patrick Faber remains the leader of the United Democratic Party."

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Retaining his seat as leader of the United Democratic Party is one of several challenges that Collet Area Representative Patrick Faber has been faced with since assuming that office last year.� What lies ahead is perhaps the greatest feat he would have to accomplish in his political career and that is to reunite a deeply fractured U.D.P. and make it viable once again.

Patrick Faber, Party Leader, U.D.P.

"Firstly, we'll have to work at the unity and I want people to be clear that unity means that we're going to work with those who, of course, are interested in working in unity, you know.� There are some who may feel that my victory today will cause them to not want to move on and if they absolutely feel that they can't work with me, I'd hope that they'd walk away so that we are able to embrace those who are serious about rebuilding the party."

Faber's victory on Sunday is a mixed bag.� For his detractors, the new narrative being spun is that a majority of the delegates who participated in the recall convention voted against him.� On the other hand, the besieged party leader is simply content with having met the threshold to remain in a position of control.

Patrick Faber

"I would have hoped for a larger margin of course, but it's not just the bare minimum either, you know, two hundred and twenty something when we only required a hundred and sixty-odd, I think is indeed very much convincing to me.� And given that everybody knows that these odds are stacked against me because of the way the delegates were selected originally, in some constituencies is a damn good showing and so I am proud of the results and I am happy that I get to continue to be the leader of our great party."

Notwithstanding the outcome of a failed coup attempt, the growing chasm within the party still begs the question of whether or not reconciliation is at all possible.

Michael Peyrefitte

"We have one United Democratic Party and today is the beginning of the process to sort things out and come together as one unified party.� We will sort that out in the future, going forward.� Part of being retained today is bearing the responsibility to make sure that we move forward as a United Democratic Party, him along with the honorable Shyne Barrow as the Leader of the Opposition in the House."

It's a role that has, for all intents and purposes, never been bifurcated; a Leader of the Opposition who is not the head of his own party.� In this case, the ambivalence between Shyne Barrow and Patrick Faber, political leaders in their own right, certainly makes for an interesting chemistry.

Patrick Faber

"It was a disrespect for the Leader of the Opposition to put me at seat number four, below my deputy leader and below another member that clearly does not supersede me in terms of the number of years or even the margin of a vote, and I think all of you saw that.� But I am not gonna carry on, you know, I suspect that if I am able to regain the leadership of the parliament then things will change, but I don't intend to carry on a back and forth with the Leader of the Opposition now.� As I've said, we have to get along."

Channel 5

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