Posted: Thursday, August 31, 2017. 11:30 am CST.
By BBN Staff: Yesterday, the Belize Network for NGO’s (BNN) issued a statement reiterating its support for the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).
The BNN calls on Belmopan to act now.
According to the statement, every day, international headlines highlight the significant costs of corruption to democratic societies and their economies.
“In Belize, disturbing news reports continue to fuel the public’s demand for increased transparency, good governance and the implementation of meaningful measures to curb corruption,” says BNN.
The network asserts that as a member of the UNCAC Project Board, it has been actively participating in steps to implement this project.
The preparatory phases include a 3-day south-south technical visit in September 2017 to afford Belize the opportunity to learn of Jamaica’s national experiences on the implementation of UNCAC. Senator Osmany Salas will represent the BNN on this exchange visit.
While these steps are happening on one hand, the BNN notes with concern that recent actions and statements by the Government of Belize (GOB) indicate a tolerance, rather than condemnation, of possible cases of abuse and imprudent management of Belize’s fiscal and public resources. Recent examples include allegations of highly questionable land transactions and construction contracts.
The network reaffirm its commitment to support GOB towards complying with the provisions of UNCAC.
The BNN also calls on GOB to take immediate action against corruption in all its forms and says that Belize does not need the UNCAC to be fully implemented to begin fighting corruption. “All allegations of corruption must be investigated and where necessary, prosecuted to the full extent of the law. To do anything less would be tantamount to serious erosion of our democracy.”
The UNDP-funded UNCAC project is the most comprehensive international treaty on anti-corruption.
The treaty, which is widely accepted as the international framework guiding the fight against corruption, covers four main areas: prevention, criminalization and law enforcement, international cooperation, and asset recovery. Ratification of UNCAC obliges States Parties to take concrete steps towards compliance. Belize was the 184th country to sign the UNCAC convention.
The UNDP has committed to support GOB in the initial implementation stages of the UNCAC, via a $200,000 project entitled “Strengthening National Systems for Implementation of UNCAC in Belize”.
The project will include conducting gap analyses, capacity building/strengthening, institutional strengthening, and inception of institutional arrangements to facilitate implementation of the convention.
BNN, represented by Senator Osmany Salas and BNN Vice- Chairman Janelle Chanona, has a seat on the “Project Board” set up to oversee the implementation of the project.
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