The ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) held its bi-annual convention in Corozal Town, on Sunday, where outgoing Party Chairman Patrick Faber challenged the sitting First Deputy Leader Gaspar Vega for his seat and lost.
The 567 delegates, who represented the 31 electoral constituencies gave Vega 331 votes, while Faber, the UDP’s Collet area representative, received 233.
It was an unquestionable defeat for Faber who has made political history by challenging, for the first time in UDP history, a sitting First Deputy Leader and deputy prime minister position.
His challenge, however, did not receive Party Leader Dean Barrow’s endorsement.
After the votes were tallied, both Barrow and Vega offered kind words.
Barrow said to Faber: “Sir, you continue to distinguish yourself and if ever there was any doubt that you were the total package, that doubt had been stilled this afternoon. You have always been a lion in victory and today you are magnanimous in defeat.”
Vega thanked Faber for making the UDP prove to the people that the UDP is a party that believes and practices democracy.
The party’s convention was also designed to fill other posts on the party’s executive.
Barrow was endorsed as Party Leader, along with the Second Deputy Leader, Erwin Contreras.
Alberto August, a former Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission, emerged as the party’s new Chairman, having demolished Senator Roosevelt Blades by 397 to 183 votes.
The contest for Vice Chairman was between Belize City Councillor Roger Espejo and the only UDP Councillor on the Punta Gorda Town Board, Fern Gutierrez.
Gutierrez received 372 votes to Espejo’s 180.
Barrow, the keynote speaker, also declared that contrary to rumors, he is in excellent health and has no plans to retire anytime soon.
He said that he plans to lead the UDP to a third victory at the polls when the General Elections are held in 2017.
At the convention, UDP resolved to support the referendum process with a “yes” vote and to encourage all registered voters to vote on Referendum Day, which is set for October 6.
The convention also endorsed an amendment to the Party’s Constitution, where the minimum age for membership to the party was lowered from 15 years to 13 years.
Policy statements were also presented on youth, women and crime.
Special recognition was also given to the Mrs. Carmetia Contreras, Ms. Grace Fairweather, Mr. Israel Alpuche, and Mr. Frank Lizama for their dedicated support for the Party.
Guest speakers at the convention included Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley, San Ignacio/Santa Elena Town Councillor, Shary Medina, and the former Dangriga Town Council candidate, Earth Lopez.