Barrow returned as opposition leader
BELMOPAN, Belize (CMC):
Shyne Barrow has been sworn in as opposition leader for a second time since the United Democratic Party (UDP) lost the November 2020 general election, replacing former education minister Patrick Faber, who resigned in the wake of a domestic violence incident.
“I’m humbled and honoured that I have the distinct privilege to serve as leader of the Opposition,” said Barrow, who last year had replaced Faber in the post.
Barrow said that Faber’s resignation as opposition leader became effective on February 1, adding “we have moved on”.
Late last month, Faber resigned his position as well as that of the leader of the UDP amid a domestic violence row that led to the police issuing a warrant for his arrest.
“It is with a very heavy heart that I stand before you today to signal my departure as leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives and leader of our great United Democratic Party. Both resignations I wish to become effective in a few days, on January 31st, 2022,” Faber said in a statement.
Faber’s fiancé, Dr Shanika Arnold, made a report to the Domestic Violence Unit where she made a complaint against Faber with Police Commissioner Chester Williams, indicating that the report had been “one of a domestic nature where she is alleging that Mr Faber has caused damage to her laptop and had also assaulted her as she was about to leave their home”.
Williams confirmed then that a warrant had been issued in the first instance for the arrest of Faber, adding “the fact is that we have obtained a statement from her in which she had requested court action and so we will proceed with the matter before the court”.
However, Arnold took to social media to indicate that she had formally withdrawn her report in the presence of attorneys David Morales and O.J. Elrilater, describing the situation as a “misunderstanding”, and that it was the couple’s intent to resolve the matter privately.
Barrow, who had previously served in the position for 84 days, said this time around he believes he has the support of the majority of opposition legislators and that he is also awaiting the party’s convention to be held on March 27.
“I do believe so. I have the majority of support in the House of Representatives on the opposition benches. I have the majority of support within the 31 constituencies as we’ve seen with the massive endorsement from the Caucus for Change and we had 53 per cent of the delegates that voted to recall in July of 2021.
“I led that charge and those delegates remember me very well. I have visited with them just as recently as the holidays and before that, I stayed with them and so they believe that they needed new leadership and they believe that now and anyone that will come and to present themselves as that alternative, that opportunity has already passed.”
Barrow has also signalled his intention to seek the leadership of the party, saying he had given Faber a fair chance to lead the opposition party.
“I gave him a chance … but we saw in the general elections that that is not so, we only won five seats. We saw again in the municipal elections where we only won a mayor and a councillor and again, the writing was on the wall,” Barrow added.