Former Prime Minister Musa Dodges House Meeting

The House of Representatives met today in Belmopan. It was a mostly uneventful sitting, but the news tonight isn’t about who was there, it is about who wasn’t. And that is former Prime Minister and the Area Representative for Fort George, Hon. Said Musa. As we told you last night, his arrest is believed to be imminent. The Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl Lynn Branker-Taitt confirmed to us yesterday that Musa and “other persons” will be charged for illegally diverting funds from Venezuela to the Belize Bank to pay the Universal Hospital debt. The DPP told us that Musa will be charged within the next few days. That day wasn’t today and despite the immunity that going to a House meeting affords him, Musa didn’t show up for today’s sitting.
His Party Leader Johnny Briceno, however, was and we asked him about the pending arrest of his former leader.

Hon. Johnny Briceno, PUP Leader
“We are concerned because we have been hearing this, almost like football being played, a political football over the months. But as we’ve always said - us from our side of this House - we have to ensure that all citizens are tried equally and fairly and that everyone should be deemed innocent until proven guilty.”

Keith Swift,
So you’ll stand behind Mr. Musa?

Hon. Johnny Briceno,
“We will ensure that Mr. Musa gets a fair hearing.”

Keith Swift,
Any comments on the pending arrest of the former Prime Minister?

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
“Not really. I gather that the DPP has made some kind of informal statement. I have not spoken to her and so I only know what the media is saying.”

Keith Swift,
Did you play any role in the investigation, in terms of giving a statement?

Hon. Dean Barrow,
“Yes I did give a statement.”

Keith Swift,
Can you tell us what you said?

Hon. Dean Barrow,
“I gave a statement concerning what I know of the proceedings. I don’t think I can go beyond that.”

And while Said Musa wasn’t there, his supporters were. About 20 persons from the Majestic Alley area showed up at the National Assembly building.

In an item of minor note, a former head of state that the former Prime Minister Said Musa bestowed with the Order of Belize, ex Taiwanese President Chen Shui-Bian, was arrested this week on charges of corruption. He has gone on a hunger strike protesting his detention. President Chen visited Belize in September of 2004.