PUP’s Caribbean Shores representative, Kareem Musa, recently went on what he understood was just an innocent trip to mainland China. However, this trip has sparked controversy among the UDP. The Guardian Newspaper immediately called out Musa – as well as Deputy Mayor, Oscar Arnold, and Michael “Chips” Noralez, both of whom had tagged along with him – for allegedly “siding” with Mainland China, knowing full well Belize has strong diplomatic ties with The republic of China (Taiwan). Additionally, the newspaper claimed it was concerning that the PUP did not make an announcement prior to the trip. Today, Musa told us that the trip was that of a personal nature.
Kareem Musa – Area Representative, Caribbean Shores, PUP: “ We visited ShangHai and the purpose of the trip really; myself the Deputy Mayor of Belize City, Councilor Michael Chippy Noralez and Attorney at law Kevin Arthurs. We were invited by the Belize Chinese Association President to make a trip to China and as you know we don’t have any block against China. I don’t believe Belize has a close door policy against China and so really it was an invitation that we accepted as a sort of a fact-finding mission, a listening tour and a learning experience. There is a wealth of information out there, really and truly that is what it was for me. Specifically for me to be exposed, to learn and to listen to what China has to offer and to listen to what strategies they have employed over the years that has made them successful. This was a un official trip, I did not go there as a member of the People’s United Party. I went there as a private citizen who like I said the President of the Belize Chinese Association invited me and for me it was a learning experience. I informed my Party Leader, I don’t know what else aside from that and I even told the Party Leader my entire flight plan for the next year. I can tell you that if you would like to know where I plan to travel but we are a free society. If you have a visa to particular countries you can travel the world. There is no use in having this close-mindedness about the world out there, we are free to travel. Now if I were going on official business you best believe I have to make the necessary connections with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with my Party Leader as I did in this instance even though it was not required of me. I have not received any phone call about my travels, I have not received any indication aside from the UDP who seem to be very jumpy over this visit to China, I don’t know why they are making all the fuss but certainly they seem to be very concerned.”