History was put into motion on Thursday at the United Democratic Headquarters in Belize City when just after midday several UDP representatives hand-delivered a petition signed by a resounding number of UDP delegates to unseat Patrick Faber as the Leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP).
Former UDP Candidate Tony Herrera handed in the results of the petition
The near 300 votes came from UDP delegates who hail from 26 different constituencies and who apparently no longer have any faith in Hon. Patrick Faber as their Party Leader. The handing in of the documents was done by former UDP candidate Tony Herrera, who was backed up by Phillip Willoughby.
After emerging from the UDP headquarters Herrera met the media outside, and commented, “Today we brought in the recall petition. I must inform you that the recall petition that the [UDP’s] constitution calls for [only asks for a minimum of] 172 votes; we got 290 signatures … and this is mainly to recall the Party Leader of our party. This is a resounding answer from the delegates …it sends a clear message as to where we want to go as a party.”
Reportedly, the move was triggered several weeks ago by a team referring to themselves as the UDP Caucus for Change (“the Caucus”) headed by Hon. John Saldivar and consisting of 22 other aspiring and current standard-bearers. The Caucus managed to surpass one-third of the threshold of votes that were needed. The next step to getting Faber officially unseated as Party Leader will comprise a party convention that will require 355 signatures from delegates.
If that is successful, Faber will have to vacate his seat, but for now, according to Herrera, the party prefers that Faber peacefully and quietly steps down from his seat and submit his resignation. Herrera said that with the resounding number of votes garnered already, if Faber refuses to go quietly, the party will be forced to call a convention and they are certain that they will be able to acquire the number of votes needed to officially unseat Faber from his post.
When asked about a possible replacement for Faber, Herrera would not disclose any details but told the media, “The UDP already has someone in mind.” Herrera added that John Saldivar has already made it clear to members of the party that he has no intentions of running for the post.
When asked whether the move was done by disgruntled members of the UDP, Herrera said that it was not. Interestingly, some of the votes came from Mesopotamia, Queen Square, and Corozal North, which are three electoral divisions represented by sitting UDP area representatives.
“I don’t think that it is a disgruntled member’s thing because he has not gone public to say that he does not like Tony Herrera or Phillip Willoughby. This is how we feel like a party; this is 290 delegates that have signed freely and signed fast. This is no secret ballot because probably then it would have been more than 300 votes, so I will not take that as a statement that it is disgruntled members or that we have beef with the Honorable Patrick Faber. It is not that. We just don’t see it fit that he could lead the party,” commented Herrera.
When asked if he could discuss where Faber fell short in his role as Party Leader, Herrera explained that he would rather not divulge, and said he prefers that the party handles everything internally as best as they can. One source within the UDP confirmed that now that the petition has been hand-delivered, the UDP will be meeting internally to discuss Faber’s future at the helm of the UDP. If no amicable solution can be reached then, by virtue of the party’s constitution, they will be required to call a convention to let the delegates decide.