Moses Michael Levi Barrow, also known as Shyne, has been sworn in as new parliamentary Leader of Belize’s Opposition United Democratic Party. Mr. Barrow is a Belizean rapper and politician and son of immediate past three-term prime minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow. He replaces Patrick Faber whose recent entanglements with accusations of alleged domestic abuse, has became the target of a recall petition from his own party. Under Belize’s parliamentary system, the leader of the opposition is selected by the Governor General as the member that commands the majority support of elected members of the House of Representatives. For several weeks, Faber has been embroiled in a scandal that threatens his office as head of the U.D.P. Among his colleagues in the opposition, three fellow parliamentarians, including Hon. Shyne Barrow, had written to Governor General Froyla Tzalam earlier this week informing her that Faber no longer enjoys their confidence as Leader of the Opposition. Mr. Barrow area representative for Belize city’s Mesopotamia constituency, was administered the oath of office to become the new Leader of the Opposition in a brief ceremony at Belize House in Belmopan on Wednesday 24 June 2021. It’s the first of two decisive actions taken by members of the party to unseat Faber, to be successfully completed.
In an op-ed published on his social media account, Mr. Faber’s political nemesis, senior UDP member and former area representative for Belmopan Hon. John Saldivar, summarised the historical context leading to the removal of Patrick Faber as Leader of the Opposition:
“Two major moves against UDP Leader Patrick Faber have occurred within a week of each other. A Recall Petition with almost 300 signatures was submitted and a majority of three UDP members of the House of Representatives signed a no-confidence letter to the Governor General which effectively removes Patrick Faber as Leader of the Opposition. These two moves should have been enough for any decent gentleman to voluntarily step aside, but not Faber. We can debate from now until thy kingdom come about whether Faber’s self-inflicted, unsavory reputation with women warrants his removal from this high and prestigious office, however the fact that almost three hundred delegates believe that it does should have been enough to convince Faber to step aside. Instead, we will have to go through a protracted battle for control of our Party with Faber screaming and kicking.
“Prior to Shyne Barrow replacing Patrick Faber as the constitutional Leader of the Opposition, a designation that is different from being Leader of the Party, Faber was in the catbird seat holding the key to lock the door to any challenge to his leadership. This is because the UDP Party Constitution bars any person who is not in the House or the Senate from holding the office of Party Leader. At the same time, it is the Leader of the Opposition who appoints (and removes) Senators. But, with Hugo Patt and Tracy Panton seemingly not comfortable with challenging Faber at this time, it would have been left to a Senator to challenge him and that would have been met with his/her immediate removal from the Senate. Faber was therefore in the catbird seat as said before, and he was emboldened to treat members of his Party with wanton disregard to the point of not holding any meetings of the Party’s executive organs and more recently rebuffing a suggestion that he take a leave of absence to deal with his anger issues. He felt untouchable and this made him arrogant.
“His removal from the post of Leader of the Opposition clears the way for person/s to be appointed to the Senate who would challenge for the leadership of the Party along with any Member of the House who so chooses. So, while some appear uncomfortable with the sudden shift in the Leader of the Opposition, it is in my view a move necessary to prevent anarchy in our Party and allow true democracy and freedom of choice to prevail as we seek to rebuild. Because, in my view, no other Member of the House was prepared to take up the responsibility as Leader of the Opposition, perhaps because of the circumstances, and because Faber’s removal as Leader of the Opposition would allow others to be appointed to the Senate who could challenge for the leadership, and because I am confident that Shyne will do what is in the best interest of the Party, I support Shyne being the Leader of the Opposition in the House for this time. The possible others who could, via the Senate, join Members of the House such as Tracy Panton as possible candidates for leadership include any of the names that are being banded about like Darrel Bradley and Mike Peyrefitte. So now you understand why I, and others are comfortable with the idea of Shyne Barrow as Leader of the Opposition in the House, at this time. Thank you Shyne for being bold enough to do your part, including taking the personal attacks, in shaking up our Party, allowing a chance for true democracy to prevail, and to begin the real process of healing and rebuilding for our great United Democratic Party.”