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UN’s Anti-Corruption Anniversary: Underscores Recent Bribe Scandal

UN’s Anti-Corruption Anniversary: Underscores Recent Bribe Scandal
January 16
14:53 2020

UN’s Anti-Corruption Anniversary: Underscores Recent Bribe Scandal

Thursday, Jan. 16th. 2020 –

December of 2019 marked three years since Belize signed on to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), and after that time, we have still not implemented the Convention. But Belize is in good standing with the UN at present, indicated Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte, who asked Foreign Affairs Minister Wilfred Elrington to deliver his speech at Monday’s Supreme Court opening.

“Belize is one of the few countries that has complied
with every requirement stipulated by the United Nations
under UNCAC,” Peyrefitte wrote. “We have received great
commendations on our efforts. Considering all the projects
we have implemented thus far under UNCAC, we are at the
stage where we have been advised by the UN not to proceed
with any additional projects until we have received the
final country report and the consequential recommendations,” his speech summed up.

In December, the AG had indicated that he was in receipt of a set of recommendations which a study group that visited Belize in early 2018 had completed, but the AG has also said that there is a process that must be followed. The Belize government signed on to the Convention as one of several agreements it struck with the Belize National Teachers Union, BNTU, after teachers went on a historic 11-day strike, demanding that the government met certain conditions – one of which was signing onto UNCAC.

When it takes effect, the Convention is expected to have stringent requirements that should result in more transparency and accountability in the several areas of governance. These include: the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives, the Integrity Commission, the Contractor General’s office, the Audit Department, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) office, and the Ombudsman’s office. It should also require enhanced measures in Law Enforcement, Assets Recovery, and International Cooperation, among others.

We checked in with the National President of the BNTU, Senator Elena Smith who was in a meeting but shared her opinion that the explanation given was “an excuse.”

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