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A visit to mainland China by PUP area representative Hon. Kareem Musa has generated some controversy for the parliamentarian. Pics of Musa shaking hands with Chinese officials have been put out by the United Democratic Party, who has been critical of the visit. As you know, Belize has diplomatic ties with the Republic of China Taiwan, which is not recognised by mainland China. Therefore to see a parliamentarian visiting China has lifted eyebrows. Musa is also on the defense after his claim that he travelled to China at the invitation of the Belize Chinese Association President Johnston Ou was denied by Ou in a press release issued today. Musa spoke to the media today and gave his version of how the trip came to be.

musaHon. Kareem Musa, On trip to China

“Well, I was approached a few months ago by Mr. Johnston Ou who as I know is he president of the Belize Chinese Association inviting me to come to China at that time it was fairely unclear as to what was the purpose of the trip but he did say it was a friendly trip and most importantly it was an unficial trip and so make I make that very clear that I was not there on any official business either of the party as a member of the opposition nor was I there as a member of the People’s United Party, I made that clear to Mr. Johnston at the very outset that if it is an unofficial trip I have no problem going on a trip like that and for me it was purely educational to see China and to experince all what China has to offer and no doubt for me it was a learning experience and an eye opening experience for me to have visited China to see the incredible amount of development and infrastructure and technological advancement that ahs taken lace over the years and what struck me the most by my visit to China was the fact that they have been able over the last two decades to reduce poverty and we are talking about some eight hundred million people that were living in poverty to now according to their statistics to some eighty seven million people living in poverty and it is their intention and their goal to actually eradicate poverty by next year so a very ambitious goal no doubt so at the very outset I made it very clear that if it is an unofficial trip then I have no problem going on that trip so Mr. Ou and I am told that there is a Press Release where Mr. Wo is saying that he did not invite me thankfully I do have witnesses to say that Mr. Ou was there and he invited me, I do not doubt that the trip was sponsored by the Zee Gong Nationalist Party because we did in fact on this trip meet with members of the this party in particular the Chairman of the party and the Vice-chairman of the party so I have no doubt in saying that perhaps they may have paid for the trip and sponsored the trip but I have no way of proofing that the only way I can proof is that the President of the Belize Chinese Association is the one that invited me, I have no connection to anybody in China for me to have reach out to them or they reach out to me so obviously the invitation had to have come from somebody local and that person I Mr. Ou.”


As mentioned, today the Belize Chinese Association President Johnston Ou released a statement in which he stated that Musa was invited to China by that country’s Zhi Gong Party. Musa responded to this allegation, suggested that Ou is under political pressure to change the version of what really happened.

Hon. Kareem Musa, On trip to China

“It is not lost on me the society which we live, Mr. Ou has to comeback to Belize and he ahs to earn an honest living so I do not blame the man for taken the stands that he has now taken, I don’t expect him to say anything else because while we were there the pressure was already on him because it was discovered by members of the United Democratic Party that he had taken us and invited us to China so incredible amount of pressure was brought to bare on Mr. Woe so am not surprised by the position that he has taken obviously that is something that you would have to interview him when he returns by like I said there are many other witnesses that can attest to the fact that he was the one that invited us if he is saying that it was not in his personal capacity I fully believe that I don’t think that Mr. Ou paid for the trip or sponsored the trip I think that perhaps it would be another entity like the Zee Gong Party but I cannot say that because I have no proof of that.”

Musa was also asked about the political implications of his trip to China, since it could be taken as a sign that the Opposition may be re-thinking Belize’s long-standing support to Taiwan. Musa reiterated, however, that he did not attend the trip on any official status and was simply broadening his exposure.


Hon. Kareem Musa, On trip to China

“Like I mentioned one of the precondition for me accepting going on this trip was in fact that is was an unofficial trip even though it was unofficial and like I said I have no capacity to make any commitments on behalf of the party or the government of Belize in these meetings so let make that very clear and unofficial trip I do not have the authority not even a member of the National Executive of the People’s United Party, I am informed by the Press Release I was selected now I don’t know if others were selected but what I can say is that I know that there were members of the United Democratic Party an invitation was also extended to them whether they plan to go on a trip or not is still unknown to me at this time but what I have been able to be informed of is that the Deputy Prime Minister was also in China and so if that was an official trip or an unofficial trip that is left to be determined and you would have to ask him that.”

Musa was accompanied in the trip by Deputy Mayor Oscar Arnold, Councillor Michael Norales and attorney Kevin Arthurs. He indicated that he nominated Arthurs for the trip, and cannot explain the circumstances in which two City Council officials were invited to China as well.

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