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Sep 29, 2009

Former prime minister author’s tell all on public life

Story PictureAcross the river, another celebration was taking place. He has not said much since his resounding defeat in the 2008 general elections. But Said Musa says a lot in his memoirs released today on the occasion of the fifty-ninth anniversary of the P.U.P. The two hundred and seven page book captures Musa’s humble beginnings as he sold tamales in the Cayo District, to his rise as P.U.P. leader and subsequent two terms as head of government. Musa touches on the internal battles in the P.U.P. and what ultimately led to his fall. News Five’s Jose Sanchez was at the launch at the Image Factory which was overflowing with family, friends and supporters.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting
“With Malice Toward None, Notes On A Political Life,” is the autobiographical and political account of the experiences of the former Prime Minister, and Fort George Rep. Minister Said Musa. Musa said he penned the memories to encourage young people to enter public life.

Said Musa, Former Prime Minister
“Primarily, to hopefully inspire young people, to hopefully see politics as a noble calling despite the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that may come your way. Politics in the end is a noble undertaking to serve people and I’m hoping that this book will inspire the young people of Belize to take up this calling and to serve in whatever capacity.”

The title is borrowed from Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address that reads “With Malice Toward None, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, Let us strive on to finish the work we are in.”

Said Musa
“I did not, in all my years in politics, sense that there was any malice of the Belizean people toward me. No malice none at all; no malice toward me. I sensed that there were malicious attacks made by certain sections of the media against me. But I didn’t sense that coming from the people at all. I felt I should give my side of the story because I haven’t been speaking at all since the general elections and indeed even before. One of the things I point out in this book, that I believe one of the mistakes we made in the campaign leading up to the 2008 general elections was not to respond to the many attacks and the many charges made and proceeded instead to take the high road and state in a positive light what the P.U.P. stood for while we were not addressing the attacks made against us.”

Jose Sanchez
“Any reason why it’s launched on the P.U.P.’s birthday?”

Said Musa
“I felt the symbolic significance of doing it today was important. After all I was given the privilege of serving two consecutive terms as leader of this great People’s United Party, which was founded fifty-nine years ago in 1950, Sept. twenty-ninth.”

Jose Sanchez
“For this particular day, don’t you think the current P.U.P. leader should have been here at this launch to show that unity in the party?”

Said Musa
“Well, the leader assured me that he wanted to be here but he was doing a lot of political work this morning. I believe he was out there showing solidarity with mister Good, his wife in particular.”

Jose Sanchez
“But still came all the way from Orange Walk. I mean Charlie Good is right over the swing bridge. He could have still showed up for a couple minutes.”

Said Musa
“Perhaps he will still show.”

But the current P.U.P. leader John Briceño did not make an appearance at the book launch. Apparently it was without malice towards Musa.

John Briceño, Leader of the Opposition
“I am out here because first of all we made these plans some time before we knew about Mr. Musa launching his book.”

Jose Sanchez
“Some of your most critical moments when you said it was all going down. I think you said “when it rains it pours.” It was when Joe Coye spoke out against the SSB loans without adequate collateral. Was Joe wrong for saying what he did at the time?”

Said Musa
“He wasn’t wrong in the sense of a factual matter. But he was wrong in the sense of making it out to be a mortal sin. In other words, he failed to explain that often times these institutions in their anxiety or zeal do make bad judgments in some of the decisions they made.”

Jose Sanchez
“You said “There was quite a bit of envy and professional jealousy driving the attitude of the G7 against Ralph Fonseca.”

Said Musa
“Professional jealousy. There is a difference between jealousy in a human relation and professional jealousy.”

Jose Sanchez
“Wasn’t it your friendship, your personal friendship with him, made you choose him over them?”

Said Musa
“Yes, friendship was a part of it. I value friendship very highly. Friendship alone is not enough in politics. It has to be backed by whether you respect somebody’s talent and qualities as a politician. In other words it’s not a social club, a political party. It’s a group of people and in my case I was fortunate to have a dedicated set who were committed to bring about development for Belize.”

Jose Sanchez
“And in that same chapter Personal Strife, it does seem though that your greatest strife, personal and national, came from the G7, came from the members who should have been part of your close inner circle.”

Said Musa
“Yes, in a sense because as I mention in my writing. I can always take the blows coming from my political opponents, but when the undermining comes from within that can be very fatal for any politician. So in that sense the undermining that I felt was caused by the action of the G7 obviously in a sense demoralized a lot of our supporters. And what happened afterwards was almost like a chronicle of a defeat foretold.”

The jury is still out on Musa’s decision to guarantee Social Security Board million dollar loans, the D.F.C. scandal and on the billion dollar super bond. And will history absolve him for what is perceived poor economic decisions?

Said Musa
“The history of 1998 to 2008, the definitive history, is yet to be written believe me.”

Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

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