“The Central Executive Committee (CEC) does not have the authority to remove former party leader Hon. Patrick Faber from its ranks, as only the Ethics and Integrity Committee has that power,” Hon. Tracy Taegar Panton told The Reporter Thursday.
According to Article 11(2)(h) of the UDP’s Constitution, it is the Ethics Committee that, among other things, has the authority to reprimand, fine, suspend from committees, or even suspend the member from the party. The disciplinary powers of the Ethics Committee were recently displayed in the case of former UDP member Delroy Cuthkelvin, who was expelled from the UDP for one year.
According to the UDP’s rules, there is a set process that should have been followed, which would have involved, among other things, giving Faber opportunities to provide grounds on which he could rely so as to “exculpate himself.” If the Ethics body was not satisfied with his justifications, the provisions provided for there to have been a hearing and several other steps before determining whether the member should be penalized.
The rules inform that the Ethics Committee has the authority to suspend the member from “all committees” until he had paid the prescribed fine (of $100 as set out in the party’s constitution) that was imposed.
Instead, the August 15th, 2022, letter from the UDP’s Chairman Michael Peyrefitte writes that it is the CEC that had voted on the matter. Particularly, the letter opens, “Dear Hon. Faber, on August 10th, 2022, the Central Executive Committee voted electronically.” The letter would go on to detail that they had cautioned Faber against certain social media posts that were “attacking the party.”
Ultimately, the correspondence concluded, “This letter hereby serves as notice of your immediate removal from the Central Executive Committee for failure to comply with the CEC’s request and adhere to the Party’s Constitution.” Of note, the said letter made no reference to the deliberations of the Ethics Committee, and Panton confirmed with The Reporter that, to her knowledge, the Ethics Committee was never convened. This would represent yet another breach of the UDP’s Constitution.
The UDP’s Constitution also states that the Ethics Committee’s decisions could be appealed before the National Party Council, which is set to convene this weekend.
Election of Regional Leaders on the CEC
At the heart of the recent UDP in fighting is the disagreement as it pertains to the approach UDP Party Leader Hon. Moses “Shyne” Barrow has been taking to fill the posts of regional leaders on the CEC.
Panton explained that she does not take issue with most of the endorsement conventions that have brought persons such as Melvin Hewlett, who represented the UDP’s Fort George division in the November 2020 general election, to have a seat as one of four regional leaders on the CEC. She does, however, take issue with disregarding the National Party Council (NPC)’s resolution.
She underscored that given the necessary public-health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CEC had recommended to the NPC that the party forgo the regional meetings and conventions necessary to select regional leaders but rather for persons to be appointed. According to Panton, the NPC agreed and passed a resolution to that effect.
Panton, therefore, maintains that the NPC’s resolution still stands, especially since the standard two-year term for CEC members has not expired. Consequently, there were no “vacant” regional seats on the CEC.
If there was going to be any change before the appointed members’ terms expired, it would have required the NPC to convene and issue a formal reversal of their earlier decision.
The Albert Area Representative, however, underscores that no such NPC decision has been made to date; therefore, in her view, the Party Leader and the CEC have, thus far, acted in a manner that is disrespectful of the NPC and out of step with the party’s constitution.