On Sunday, UDP leadership candidate John Saldivar rolled into Belize City and put on quite a political show at the Civic Center. It was the official launch of his leadership campaign and he had more than three thousand supporters in the audience, which is twice the number that Patrick Faber bought out two months earlier He also had a roster of political stars, including ministers and mayors.
As we reported - Sadivar's event outdid Faber's similar but not identical launch two months earlier. Today we tracked Faber down at the groundbreaking for a new rural school. We asked him if the appearance of lesser strength and support is a fatal blow to his campaign:
Jules Vasquez "It was a better staged event, the quality of the speakers; the speakers were of a higher calibre. You had multiple ministers. So it was a better event than your event and it had more crowd than your event."
Hon. Patrick Faber - Aspirant, UDP Leader "That's a very loaded statement, very opinionated. Firstly, you can't compare apples and oranges. Yes, in so far as it was the launch of my leadership and Sunday's event was Mr. Saldivar's leadership launch as well, that is far as the comparisons can go. You will recall that at my launch, I also endorsed by committee, endorsed the executive committee. So, it was not an event for anybody, other than the Patrick Faber leadership launch, I didn't launch a slate, I didn't have multiple people, seeking multiple offices involved in that convention. As it relates to your other points, the crowd and all of that. Listen, I think it was you who eluded to the fact that there are some high powers working. Well, all I will say is this, at Sunday's convention, there was nobody who called to say don't go. There was nobody who sabotaged anything and that might well have been the case - I'm not confirming, I'm just saying that might well have been the case for my event. I go so far as to say, that all that you see that might appear to be against me, may not be against me in terms of my colleagues. I enjoy a very cordial relationship with most of my colleagues, I would say 95% of them and in that same vein, ultimately, it is not the minister or even the standard bearers who will make the decision ultimately. They will be a part; they will have a single vote. So if you will, there are 31 of us who will vote in that capacity as being a leader of a constituency but ultimately the bulk of the votes will come from the delegates, who are the caretakers of the democracy of this party. I would want to tell you that in fact this time around, the situation is even better because while it is that last time when you saw my ministerial colleagues lined up, they were really not in support - be careful of what the situation is this time around."
Jules Vasquez "So all this to say that in spite of the show of muscle and machinery and money, on Sunday, you still feel confident because seeing that, some people will say bwai, it better you lap your tail and concede."
Hon. Patrick Faber "You don't know me to be like that and in fact what you know me to be like is to progress and to succeed despite the odds."