Last Friday (February 8th), the small Central American nation of Belize officially elected its first black prime minister, Dean Barrow.
If the last name Barrow sounds familiar, it should because Dean Oliver Barrow is the estranged father of currently incarcerated New York rapper Jamal “Shyne” Barrow (who after converting in 2006 to Judaism renamed himself Moses Michael Leviy).
56-year-old Dean Barrow, a former foreign minister, was elected over the incumbent Prime Minister Said Musa. Barrow’s United Democratic Party (UDP) defeated Musa’s People’s United Party (PUP) in convincing fashion, winning 25 of 31 constituencies. Barrow’s victory was only the third defeat in 53 years for the PUP, who have dominated Belizean politics.
"It's a great feeling. I'm extremely grateful and humbled," Barrow told Reuters of his win.
A former lawyer of Palestinian descent, Musa’s popularity had faded in recent years amidst embezzlement scandals and other financial mismanagement. Barrow ran pledging to end this corruption.
A nation of just 300,000 wedged between Mexico and Guatemala, Belize gained its independence from the British in 1981. Known for its laid-back Caribbean vibe, Belize is comprised of a diverse cultural mix of indigenous Maya, Mestizos and African-descended Creoles and Garifuna.
Tall and easy-going like the people of Belize, Dean Barrow sports a shaven head, making his appearance uncannily similar to that of his son. The former Bad Boy and Def Jam recording artist who was sentenced to 10 years for weapons possession and first-degree assault after the infamous December 1999 shooting at Club New York, Shyne is rumored to be released from prison sometime this year. When he is released it is also rumored that he will be joining his father in Belize as part of the first family. If true, this would mark a drastic shift in the relationship between father and son, as it has been previously reported that Shyne was raised by his mother in Brooklyn after his father refused to claim him, an event Shyne confirmed via “Quasi O.G.,” a track on his most recent release, 2004’s Godfather Buried Alive: “Imagine, grow'n up and never havin/Faggot ass pops actin like you never happened.”