Long before daybreak yesterday, Sunday morning, Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) supporters from the farthest corners of Belize began boarding buses that would transport them to Belize City for a mammoth protest against corruption in the Dean Barrow-led United Democratic Party government.
The Barrow government has been buffeted by major scandal after major scandal, but the straw that appeared to have broken the proverbial camel’s back came unexpectedly out of a fraud and money laundering trial in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The revelation from that trial torpedoed the newly elected UDP leader, John Saldivar, less than 72 hours after he was elected by a majority of his party’s delegates on February 9.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s hopes of early retirement appeared to have been dashed. With elections due in November, the UDP will have an uphill battle to convince voters that it can resist the corruption which has so tainted the party, even as PM Barrow’s metaphoric two-sided sharp machete with which he was to have cut off the head of corruption appeared to have been lost.
Within a period of less than two weeks, the PUP were able to roll out an estimated 15,000 supporters in what has to be the largest gathering of PUP supporters in modern times, easily eclipsing last Thursday’s Belize National Trade Union Congress (BNTU) anti-corruption demonstration and protest.