Thursday, November 7, 2019

Sunday’s launch of John Saldivar’s campaign for leadership of the UDP wasn’t just a launch. It was a carefully orchestrated, coordinated public humiliation of Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber. It was a move designed, down to the last detail, to let him know that he was persona non grata, and not welcome at the big boys’ table any more. And it was the ‘corruption cartel’ circling the wagons around a man they can work with, a man they feel won’t rock the hustling boat. These big boys, including disgraced, crooked, worthless Gaspar Vega, want to continue raping the country. And they feel that with John Saldivar as leader, the status quo will remain.

On Sunday, Gaspar Vega was in the front row. Vega, Belizeans will remember, was forced to step down after land scandals of ridiculous proportions began to emerge. There were reams of documents showing Vega, as Minister of Natural Resources, granting thousands of acres to his wife and brothers, other family members and cronies. There was the scandal in which Gapi managed to secure over 1600 acres of prime property for himself in Carmelita (with private airstrip we are told). There was the compensation scam, in which millions and millions of dollars were paid out to UDP cronies, and then the straw that broke the camel’s back, the $400,000 of taxpayer dollars given to Vega’s son, Andre, which he has refused to pay back. And Vega has the brass cojones to sit in the front row, sending the message that if John Saldivar is elected, he’ll be back.

No less than the prodigal son of the Prime Minister, convicted felon and deportee Shyne (home to get his hands on the fatted calf), was placed as MC of the event to send the message of the PM’s disgust of Faber and his support of Saldivar. And Shyne had his script all ready. The soul of the UDP is at stake, he said, as if the UDP has a soul.

“No one is entitled to be the leader of the U.D.P. No one has the right to succession. The next leader of the U.D.P. has to have humility and has to work arduously to build the trust and confidence of the majority of us. The next leader of the U.D.P. must be on the ground in the trenches shoulder to shoulder with our soldiers and generals working hand in hand not head in the clouds foolishly convinced of some entitlement to lead as if ordained by some divine decree that ignores the majority of the United Democratic Party.  This is the type of leadership that we need to continue the progress – inclusive, balanced and just. Not malicious, vindictive, victimizing and petty,” Shyne read from his prepared script.

Frank ‘Papa’ Mena also had his script, along the same lines, if not as eloquent as Shyne – “This country cannot deal with nobody who is petty, vindictive and personal and all of that.”

Those hits on Faber were a choreographed part of the show designed to humiliate him, as was the appearance of UDP whip Michael Finnegan. Finnegan had supported Faber at the Deputy Leadership convention, but no doubt under instructions from his best friend Barrow, jumped ship and publicly endorsed Saldivar at the launch.

These are serious times for Belize. It seems likely that the corruption cartel will win, and the hustling will continue, at least until general elections. It seems likely that with the Prime Minister’s blessing John Saldivar, the man known for his close friendship to William Danny Mason, accused kidnapper and murderer and admitted con-man and extortionist, will be the next leader of the UDP.

But whenever general elections are called, Belizeans will not forget the abuse of the past years. Belizeans are coming for justice. And the day of reckoning is near. Best believe that.