Mesopotamia’s Area Representative Moses “Shyne” Barrow is now the Leader of the Opposition!
Barrow, who has only been in elected office for eight months, has now climbed to the highest ranks of the United Democratic Party (UDP), having been official sworn in by the Governor-General of Belize on Thursday, formally replacing the Hon. Patrick Faber.
On Tuesday, Barrow hand-delivered his letter to the Governor-General’s Office in Belmopan, which officially had put into motion a parliamentary coup to unseat the Hon. Patrick Faber as the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament.
Apart from Barrow’s own signature, the letter was also signed Queen Square Area Representative Denise Barrow and Corozal North Area Representative Hugo Patt, who represent a majority of the UDP’s five elected representatives.
The letter stated that Faber no longer enjoys the confidence of the majority of the Opposition Member of the House and that they no longer support Faber as Leader of the Opposition.
Barrow then went on to refer to section 47 of the Constitution of Belize which calls for the removal of the Leader of the Opposition if he is not able to command a majority of support of his members. The letter went on to state, “Opposition Chief Whip Moses Barrow enjoys the confidence of the majority of opposition members.” The letter went on to name Barrow appointment to the post.
Given that Parliamentary matters are governed by the Constitution of Belize, the letter could be enough if Governor-General Froyla Tzalam deems the letter to be legitimate, especially if she is satisfied that it reflects the true sentiments of the three officers of the House whose names appear on the letter. The Governor-General, of course, has the power to have sought further verification, which could have been executed via simply having a meeting with the three officers of the House to have them personally communicate their support to her.
While Parliamentary matters are governed by the Belize Constitution and internal party matters are guided by the party’s own rules, it is worth noting that the UDP’s Constitution does outline a set protocol for how the Leader of the Opposition can be selected under a recall event.
The UDP’s constitution states: “In the event the occasion arises that the Party Leader is recalled during the parliamentary term and there is an urgent need to identify a UDP member of the House to assume the office of Prime Minister or Leader of the Opposition, the Central Executive Committee shall name a UDP member as Leader in the House according to the following order of precedence and the Governor-General shall be immediately so informed: (1) First Deputy Leader, (2) Second Deputy Leader, (3) The UDP representative with the longest service in the House, and (4) The UDP representative that won his or her seat with the largest percentage constituency votes in the preceding general election.”
A UDP insider hinted that while the constitution is clear, the first deputy is reportedly not interested in the post, while the next senior person does not have the support of the majority of parliamentarians and so Shyne’s ascension to the post was the last and final outcome.