This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
“Reports of my political demise are somewhat exaggerated”, Says Musa Q: Recent press reports suggest you will be retiring soon from politics. What say you? A:I was elected by the good people of Fort George for another five year term and I certainly intend to continue serving them in this my seventh term as a member of the House of Representatives. I am working for the PUP to form the next government and Francis Fonseca as Prime Minister…Reports of my political demise are somewhat exaggerated. Q:As you know, the government has missed the payment due to creditors on the super bond. They are blaming this default on the last PUP government. Some of their supporters and their apologists say the PUP saddled this country with this debt and that we have nothing to show for it. What is your response? A:They are doing Belize a great disservice by trying to politicize something that should be of national concern. We are already facing a serious social crisis with the escalating crime and violence and the high unemployment that is unprecedented in the modern era. The fact is that the super-bond is only a portion of the external debt of Belize incurred by both PUP and UDP governments over the years. For instance, the PUP came into office in 1998 when the public debt of Belize was over $600 million and the economy was at a standstill. When we left office in 2008,ten years later, the debt was higher but a lot was accomplished ; the economy was transformed and the social and physical infrastructure of the country significantly upgraded. *Rural water systems were implemented covering 90% of the population. *electricity connection was extended countrywide. *Feeder roads were improved for the productive agricultural areas of the nation in the sugar, citrus, banana ,papaya and other farming areas as well as for the new shrimp farms. *Equipment was secured for two road units to service the spread-out villages in the Toledo district. *Millions more were spent to upgrade the access roads to the various Mayan archeological and other tourist sites as well as to construct Visitors Centers at these sites. *To list some of the other projects in which loan funds were invested: Border Management Agency Facilities at the Northern and Western borders; The Museum of Belize; ITVET facilities in every district; the establishment of the Belize Agricultural Health Authority(BAHA); The paving of the Southern Highway; new bridges such as Beaver Dam on the western highway, the Sibun river bridge and Silver Creek bridge on the Hummingbird, the Agripino Cawich bridge; The Orange Walk by-pass with two bridges; the Burrel Boom- Hattieville by-pass.
As a result of these major investments in the country and the millions of loans channeled through the DFC, over 5,000 new ferro-concrete homes were built , agricultural exports expanded, the tourist industry blossomed and thousands of new jobs were created . Over the ten years of the PUP, the GDP grew from $1.2 billion tp $2.5 billion dollars. * The Education system had a quantum leap with 1500 new classrooms built and furnished; high schools and Sixth forms increased, the multi-million dollar University of Belize campus built and inaugurated and the state of the art Centres for Employment Training (ITVETs) built in every district of the country. * I have not mentioned the approximately $500 million that our government had to borrow and invest in the reconstruction and recovery following the destruction of public infrastructure – electricity supply, roads, bridges, school buildings, homes, farms, cane fields, and tourism assets caused by the successive hurricanes and storms( Mitch, Keith,Chantel, Iris and Dean) and the flood waters that came in their wake. Significant investment was also made in disaster preparedness through NEMO. * Despite these set- backs, we were still able to carry out major Health Reform programmes such as the NHI project which provided quality and affordable health care to thousands of Belizean women, men and children. KHMH, Matron Roberts and Cleopatria White health clinics were renovated and upgrated. New polyclinics built San Antonio, Toledo, San Ignacio and San Pedro Ambergris. All the regional hospitals especially Belmopan were upgraded and better equipped. So when anyone ask where did the money go, they need only look around to see the major improvements and the quality of life enhancement that Belizeans experienced. And we were able to leave office with a fiscal deficit of less than 1% (0.6%) with all the commercial debt ( the super bond)restructured, money in the Treasury, DFC asset portfolio of $165.49 million dollars (see annual Report of DFC 2008), Social Security Total assets of $350.4 million dollars (see SSB Financial statements 2008 and Independent Auditors Report), Reserves in the Central Bank and an economy that continued to grow albeit at a slower pace than the more than 5% growth average during the PUP administration (1998-2008). Since taking office in 2008, the Barrow Administration failed to stimulate the necessary economic growth. Instead they have over the more than four years continued on a path of borrow and spend, accumulating huge additional debts. Worse of all, they have driven away local and foreign private sector investments necessary for growth and job creation. The compulsory acquisition of BEL and BTL compounded our nation’s debt exposure by hundreds of millions of dollars and sent a chilling message to all potential investors. This strong-arm arrogant way of governance is a large part of the problems we in Belize face today. Q; Before concluding Mr. Musa, What’s going on with the Belize Times? A: I feel very badly about this matter. The Belize Times has been going through a rough time; like so many business in Belize we are heavily indebted and we could not continue down the road we were going…. Laying off workers is never easy. For me it was particularly difficult since we are talking about
dedicated workers like Doreth Bevans who have been there with the party ever since I entered the political fray back in the 70s. Her mother the late Mrs. Louise Bevans was a dear friend and a loyal soldier of the revolution. I wish it could have been otherwise. I understand the hurt that Doreth, Rachel and Faye feel at losing their jobs and I deeply regret the decision of the party. But it was unavoidable. What I find disgusting is the self-righteous hypocritical condemnation of certain sections of the press like the Amandala. They can afford to be opportunistic , using the anxiety of these women to launch a vicious personal attack on me while they sit comfortably , enjoying the thousands of dollars in ads they receive on a weekly basis from the UDP government and its agencies like Telemedia . Q; So is that the end of the Belize Times? A: The Belize Times will be back. I can’t at this juncture say exactly when we will be back in printed form. As you know it is presently published on line. But this historic newspaper will one day,hopefully soon, rise again.