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Apr 2, 2008

Belmopan backing off threats to arrest P.U.P. officials

On April Fool’s Day a popular prank was to trick the gullible into believing that former Prime Minister Said Musa had been arrested. But the rumour, which was spawned by the repeated assertions of P.M. Barrow that a team of attorneys is investigating the diversion of millions of dollars in donations from Venezuela and Taiwan, was not considered far fetched. So it wasn’t surprising that during this morning’s press briefing, the burning question was whether any arrest of Said Musa, Ralph Fonseca or Amalia Mai was in fact imminent. But this morning Cuthkelvin hinted that such action may be unlikely because of the broad language of the Finance and Audit Act.

Delroy Cuthkelvin, P.M.’s Press Secretary
“Regarding the missing twenty million Belize from Venezuela, while it is clear to the attorneys who are looking at the case that that Act had been violated, one of the problems with our system, we all know, is that in many instances, the sanctions are not clear or not even stipulated. So while it is easy to find our public officials in breach of regular policy, it is quite another matter to be able to pin them down to criminal charges.”

In addition to legislating criminal sanctions for violations of the Finance and Audit Act, the Barrow administration has pledged to use an “empowered” senate to oversee the actions of the executive.

But the politics surrounding the Venezuelan money will not go away any time soon and neither will the call for the Government to make good on its promise to lower the price of fuel at the gas pumps.

Delroy Cuthkelvin
“And what the Government has been trying to do is absorb as much of the cost as possible but in terms of working through the entire numbers as relates to what the Government needs to get from the cost of fuel in terms of taxes, in terms of a long term solution, that would have to wait for the new budget in June. But in the mean time the Government has been trying its best to absorb whatever costs it can, as you have seen in those instances.”

Janelle Chanona
“So the pump price would go up before there is any sign of going down because there are indications that the cost will…”

Delroy Cuthkelvin
“Well, the fact is that it has gone up a little and it is something we regret, the figures have to worked through properly and the administration is definitely committed in a long term way to ensure that the price does go down.”

While the press secretary call the price hikes “little” we do point out that the most recent rise in acquisition costs shot diesel, the primary fuel of the productive sector, to a record eight dollars and ninety-one cents a gallon.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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