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Implementation of UNCAC ‘an ongoing process’

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Posted: Friday, February 22, 2019. 2:03 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Government of Belize continues to slog along in the process of implementing the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, to which Belize signed in December of 2016.

But while the letter of the treaty has been followed so far according to Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte, there appears to be no let up in the number of instances in which corrupt and illegal practices continue to flourish.

Back in December the Attorney General said he had received the initial recommendations of the study group which visited Belize in February of 2018, dealing primarily with changes to legislation.

There are recommendations to strengthen the primary anti-corruption agencies – the Audit Institution; the Director of Public Prosecutions; the Ombudsman; the Contractor General; the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives, and the Integrity Commission among others.

But several of these institutions have faced both internal and public criticism. The Contractor General’s post remains vacant since the departure of Godwin Arzu and on Thursday Prime Minister Dean Barrow said a candidate for his replacement had to back out because he had previously worked for the Public Service, a provision in the law the P.M. rendered “stupid.” There has been no publicly announced replacement for Chair of the Integrity Commission after attorney Marilyn Williams left for a seat on the Supreme Court. The Public Accounts Committee chaired by Julius Espat has stalled after missing several meetings and the Auditor General, Dorothy Bradley, has had to deal with a staff insurrection over her methods.

 

A.G. Peyrefitte had criticized the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry for their complaints over the slowness of implementation, citing that Belize had completed one of the official three cycles of UNCAC implementation. They also want to see more insulation for the Police and Judiciary from Government interference and publicization of efforts.

 

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