Investigation into Portico Agreement Launched says Minister of Home Affairs
Minister of Home Affairs, Kareem Musa, is the first from the Briceno Administration who has come out to speak on the legalities of the Portico Agreement, and the possible criminal charges that can be brought forward. Musa explained to the media that an investigation has already been launched through the Office of the Attorney General.
Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs: “A criminal complaint will certainly have to be made if it is that we are going to be looking at it from a criminal offense standpoint and so I think the Attorney General’s ministry is looking at that at the legality of the agreement but traditionally how these matters are ordinarily handled is through a civil misfeasance case, malfeasance in public office case and so I think that would be more of an angle to look at it from from a civil standpoint because as you could imagine an agreement like that could end up like many other agreements under the Barrow administration costing the Belizean people millions and millions of dollars especially if it is that we do not go ahead with that agreement and we are sued as the government. It is a taxpayers at the end of the day who always have to pay for the blunders of the past administration. Well in terms of the agreement as you have heard by now that matter was discussed we have to look at it from several perspectives one of course is our legal obligation and that is something that the Attorney General’s ministry will have to deliver an opinion on and perhaps even getting outside counsel to look at that agreement to determine whether or not we would be bound by it legally. I know that the initial reaction is no and that is good that we are saying that it’s not binding but also you have to look at it from other perspectives as well the economic value as you might have heard there were dissenting opinions on it because there are many concessions that were being granted by it and so that matter has been sent back for review and certainly as it is the cabinet does not support. The cabinet as a whole including the Prime Minister does not support the current frame of that agreement.”
When it comes to the concessions in the Definitive Agreement, Musa says he too was a bit taken aback when he read the document. He added the he also finds it interesting that the former Prime Minister is distancing himself from the agreement.
Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs: “My reaction was like with most of cabinet that it seemed as though Erwin Contreras and or members of the last administration because we cannot completely rule out the involvement of other ministers and at the end of the day because I see former Prime Minister Barrow trying to relinquish any sort of involvement with his ministers and running for the hills as he normally does but at the end of the day this is just residual fecal matter from the Barrow administration that we in the People’s United Party are having to clean up. And so that is what I first felt wow I can’t believe that a minister signed this agreement because there were a lot of concessions and tax breaks that were being offered and certainly that is why like I said the cabinet wholesale basically condemned that agreement.”