Kareem Musa on Definitive Agreement Senate Inquiry: “There’s nothing for the PUP to hide”
“There’s nothing for the PUP to hide” … those are the words of Home Affairs Minister, Kareem Musa, when asked about the proposed Senate Inquiry into how the Definitive Agreement came to be, and how it wound up in front of Cabinet, ready for approval. Last Thursday, the four Social Partner Senators, Janelle Chanona, Elena Smith, Moses Benguche, and Kevin Herrera, signed a motion for the appointment of a Special Select Committee to investigate the documents, communications and processes tied to the signing of the “Definitive Agreement”. The committee will be tasked to determine what advice, policy or basis the Cabinet relied upon to establish the validity of the document; to determine which, if any, established procedures and/or investment policy were followed; to look into the related draft legislation and the Cabinet White Paper presented in May 2023 on the stated recommendation of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Tourism; to determine whether, consequent on the investigation and inquiry, that statutory and other procedures were complied with; and to call on any individual albeit government ministers, signatories to the agreement or any person who may have information on the agreement. However, a Senate Inquiry is nothing out the ordinary, as the administrations for both former Prime Ministers, Right Honourable Said Musa and Right Honourable Dean Barrow, had faced inquiries during their terms in office. It’s a situation that Kareem Musa says he isn’t too worried about given the origins of the agreement.
Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries: “Going back to my original interview on this, let us not talk about the UDP fecal matter Jules. A lot of this inquiry, as you would imagine, has to do with when this document was signed. Who signed it?”
Reporter: Erwin Contreras.
Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries: “The United Democratic Party. Don’t just say Erwin because you’re falling into their narrative.”
Reporter: Sorry, sorry.
Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries: “Then you have an Attorney General now listen to this I saw him on the news night before last.”
Reporter: He’s on every night I think.
Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries: “Every night saying, and imagine this and it actually got past a lot of you, saying “I was aware of this definitive agreement but I never know it got signed.”
Reporter: He was aware it was floating around.
Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries: “Aware it was floating around. It was almost like he was playing hot potato and hiding from it. Man, you were the Attorney General. You have a fiduciary duty to this country to make sure that if there’s a fraudulent document floating around it will not affect the Belizean people in the millions of dollars in damages. So that was reckless on his part. That was a dereliction of duty by the former Attorney General to say ” I know about it, but I don’t want to see it. I am hiding from it from it.” What kind of nonsense is that? You were the attorney general you weren’t just a lawyer and guess who drafted the thing? Morales and who? What’s the name of the law firm? Morales and Peyrefitte. And when was that partnership severed?”
Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries: “Oh beautiful after the signing of the… “
Reporter: Mike says he relinquished his share.
Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries: “After the signing of the Portico agreement. Make sense Jules, just make sense lee bit. This is a UDP issue that will be examined at the Senate level and everything will come out there. There’s nothing for the PUP to hide. We have to consider and I’ve said this already Jules, if the UDP government signs something you still have to look at it and say what are we going to do with this? That is all that happened at the cabinet level. Are we going to continue with this? Are we going to go to litigation which is appears we’re now choosing the route of litigation and what will that result in the hundreds of millions of dollars are we prepared for that based on a UDP fraudulent act ? You can’t just consider “Oh, we’ll approve this thing.” We have to look at what does it mean. What the legislation that would go along with it. You have to look at that and it was rejected. So what does that say again? Still a UDP baby.”
Love News understands that while the social partners have sent a motion letter to the President of the Senate, the matter would have to go to a vote at the next Senate meeting to determine whether there will be a Senate Inquiry. We further understand that the next Senate meeting will be around the mid of July.