Parents concerned about school reopening on August 10
July 13, 2020
John Saldivar congratulates Patrick Faber on beating him in leadership convention
July 13, 2020

What are the UDP, PUP, and BPP anti-corruption policies?

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Posted: Monday, July 13, 2020. 9:53 am CST.

The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.

By Aliakim Thornton: Every party says they’re anti-corruption, but what policies do they propose to actually put a stop to corruption?

Corruption is a serious issue in Belize, and one that hinders the positive development of all other aspects of the country. Each party’s approach to fighting corruption should be considered when you decide who to vote for – your voice counts, and it shouldn’t be for sale.

The following is an attempt at an un-biased overview of the United Democratic Party (UDP), People’s United Party (PUP) and the Belize Progressive Party (BPP) anti-corruption and democracy-encouraging policies taken directly from the most up-to-date information published on each party’s website. This information is all freely available for you to access online (with links provided below) so you can double check for yourself the content of this article and learn more about the parties’ other policies if you like. As of writing this article, the Belize Peoples Front (BPF) and the Belize Green Independent Party do not yet appear to have any specific policies published, and so they have not been included.

As a start, this table shows how many times the word “corruption” is in each party’s manifesto, and how the party has used the word:

  Total number of times the word “corruption” is used Number of times the word “corruption” is used to discuss anti-corruption policy Number of times the word “corruption” is used specifically to criticise another party (named)
UDP 1 0 1
PUP 4 3 1
BPP 11 11 0

 

This provides a rough indication of how much each party discusses anti-corruption policy in comparison to one another – it’s difficult to fight corruption if it’s not talked about. However, the best way to understand each party’s approach to fighting corruption is to read and compare their policies directly. This article does not include an evaluation of the policies proposed by each party, choosing instead to simply highlight the relevant policies which you can use to come to your own conclusions. The policies have been separated into four sections for easier comparison: anti-corruption (general), finance, land, and democracy and elections. Notably, it’s possible that these manifestos will be updated in the run-up to the elections.

UDP (2015-2020 Manifesto)

Anti-corruption (general):

  • “Top on our agenda will be to concentrate on structural changes in every facet of government to ensure excellence in service delivery… [This includes the] strengthening of our legal system through legal review and reform, as well as upgrading of the administration and enforcement of our laws.”
  • “the UDP will implement… [a] special project relating to the Courts, the Judiciary and the Legal System… [with] a concentration on the use of modern technology and techniques for the fair and efficient expedition of the court process.”

Finance:

  • “In order to ensure good financial management, the next UDP Government is committed to the reform of the Public Financial Management System through the implementation of rules-based legislation designed to strengthen the basic principles of governance, accountability and transparency in public financial administration.”
  • “Modernizing the Cooperatives Act to ensure it better promotes cluster formation and recognition, while improving accountability and fiduciary responsibility of leadership within existing entities.”
  • “The Public Finance Management Bill will ensure responsible, sustainable, transparent, accountable, effective, efficient and economical management of the public finances and public resources covering the revenues, expenditures, assets and liabilities.”
  • “The Public Procurement Bill… will ensure an efficient and transparent framework; utilize standard bidding documents and bid evaluation processes; and provide guidelines to the private sector. It will be the blueprint for better public procurement practice in accordance with international best practices.”

Land:

  • “Strengthen the Land Registry and reduce the processing time for registering property to ensure predictability, while maintaining accountability and transparency”
  • “Reduce political interference in land administration”
  • “Regulate the real estate industry to require certification, thereby ensuring integrity of land transfers for all land owners”
  • “Revise the methodology for assessing stamp duty on land transfers (sale and otherwise), to create a fair and predictable system, and reduce the time for these assessments”
  • “Institute greater due diligence on transactions, thereby preventing future costly court cases; and resolving land conflicts to protect legitimate landowners from fraudulent land dealings”

Democracy and elections:

  • “There will be consultations with the public to gather recommendations on how the public interacts with the justice system focusing on issues of access and participation”
  • “The Ministry of Youth will increase and strengthen platforms for youth participation including… forums for young people to participate in public dialogue”

 

PUP (2012-2016 Manifesto)

Anti-corruption (general):

  • “The PUP will uphold the Constitution as the Supreme Law of Belize and govern with respect for the equal rights of all. Elected officials including the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers must realize that they are servants of the people and behave accordingly. No one is above the law. The arrogant abuse of power, corruption and any unjust enrichment in public life will be dealt with by the full force of the law.”
  • “The Prevention of Corruption Act 2007 will be reinforced and the Integrity in Public Life legislation will be given teeth to sanction non-compliance with the requirement for disclosure of income, assets and liabilities by elected public officials.”
  • “Will establish the Office of Public Defender to rigorously defend the rights of citizens against unjust action or abuse by any government agency.”
  • “A Freedom of the Press Law will guarantee free speech and protect whistle-blowers who expose abuse, acts of corruption and waste of resources in public office.”
  • “The PUP will repeal the Constitutional amendment hatched by the UDP which have Judges on one year renewal contracts. All Judges to be independent of the executive must have security of tenure.”
  • “The recent UDP legislation for criminal trials by judge alone will be repealed.”

Finance:

  • There is no mention of policies relating to reducing corruption in financing.

 

Land:

  • “The Ministry of Natural Resources over the past four years has wantonly and corruptly confiscated people’s land, arbitrarily cancelled leases recommended by village councils and unlawfully issued hundreds of such parcels of land to friends, family members and cronies of the ruling party. The PUP will return the lots to the rightful owners.”
  • “End the political manipulation in the lease and sale of national land. Secure titles will be provided to Belizeans based on need and merit.”

Democracy and elections:

  • “The PUP will seek to enshrine in the Constitution a mandatory requirement for a Referendum for any proposed amendment to our Constitution which in any way undercuts or degrades the fundamental rights and freedoms of the people.”
  • “The PUP is committed to an elected Senate.”
  • “The sanctity of citizenship must be restored. With this in mind the PUP will appoint an Independent Commission to review Immigration policy and laws and implement its recommendations. A law will be enacted to stop the issuance of nationality certificates (naturalization) three months before national and municipal elections.”
  • “At the heart of democracy and a just society is freedom and fairness and the right of citizens to choose their government leaders in free and fair elections. To ensure this, the PUP will restore the impartiality and professional integrity of the Elections and Boundaries Commission.”
  • “The PUP will reduce the term of government to four years and there will be a fixed date for elections in every four year cycle.”
  • “The PUP will in consultation with NGO’s and the Public Sector introduce Campaign Finance legislation to grapple with the vexing problem of money in politics dominating and driving the system.”
  • “Ensure women’s participation in decision-making bodies – the Cabinet, the Senate and government appointed boards.”

 

BPP (2020 Manifesto)

Anti-corruption (general):

  • “We have a zero-tolerance for corruption. Where it exists, it shall be addressed forthwith and in an unbiased fashion.”
  • “Enforce the law, across the board, and in instances where inequity exists concerning the penalty for an offence, correct it; Hence our mantra to ensure the Rule of Law prevails.”
  • “Sign the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC)”
  • “Ensure that Belize is assessed by Transparency International (TI) via its Corruption Perception Index (CPI)”
  • “Immediate, as well as, retroactive enforcement of the Prevention of Corruption Act (2007), that requires elected officials to declare their assets”
  • “Configure and activate the Integrity Commission and ensure its continued functioning”
  • “The adoption of a more effective configuration of the Public Accounts Commission”
  • “Direct liaison with the impending local Chapter of Transparency International (TI)”
  • “The BPP intends to create an independent Department of State, which shall be under the aegis of the Governor General, so as to ensure that the associated functions attributed to the: Auditor General, Contractor General and the Ombudsman are not subject to any form of political influence. Therefore, the necessary works associated with its operations can be conducted in a fair and unbiased manner.”
  • “Removal of ministerial discretion.”
  • “Governments usually lag behind corporations and private individuals when it comes to information technology. Current trends and business practices are rapidly evolving with an increased emphasis on using technology to streamline processes and increase transparency.”

 

Finance:

  • “Unlawful Enrichment “Kickback”: The BPP will immediately enact a law whereby all contracts over $10,000.00 will go out to bid. When a bid is accepted, the amount of the accepted bid, along with the three lowest bids, will be published. Such publication would expose any large attempted “kick back”. This law is needed to put a stop to the mode of operation of the PUDP politicians whom support over pricing of contracts. The overpricing of contracts and “kick-backs” are an activity that drives up the cost of taxes. The amount that the construction is over-priced results in higher taxes and the rich get richer and the middle class and the poor pay the “kick back”.”

 

Land:

  • “Cleaning up the hotbed of corruption will be our top priority.”
  • “A private audit firm will be contracted to review and recommend structural changes to eliminate corruption.”
  • “Personnel from the National Quality Assuranceand oversight department will be put in place to work directly under the Ombudsman portfolio”
  • “Supervisory body to monitor land speculation & use in larger acreage owned/leased by foreign companies & individual.”
  • “Improve the approval of land by a Minister in reference to how Belizeans obtain land. The process has been eroded by alleged corruption over the years and the BPP plans to rectify and implement policies that are beneficial to all Belizeans. Reference: National Lands Act Cap 191 Revised Edition 2000 section 14, 17 and 27.”
  • “The Advisory Committee established under section 5 of the National Lands Act,  Cap 191, Revised Edition 2000, will be properly utilized and respected under the stipulation of the Law.”
  • “The valuation of land with reference to Land Tax Act, Cap 58, Section 7, 12 and 13 will be properly implement taking into consideration the benefits for all.”
  • “Limitation On Land Ownership: No elected person or politically appointed person can procure land more than 50 acres of public land for farm use. This policy will be made retroactive to 1981 to rectify the land speculation and abuse of office. Reference National Lands Act, Cap 191, Revised Edition 2000, Section 13 and Aliens Landholding Act, Cap 179, Revised Edition 2000.”
  • “Scrutiny in registration and activity of companies granted acreage especially in protected areas.”
  • “Proper Land Evaluation Procedures: The approval and valuation of public lands will be taken away from the Minister and put under a land distribution committee.”
  • “Digital Land Title Registry:Better security and helps eliminate corruption.”

 

Democracy and elections:

  • “Fixed General Election Dates: to be decided in a referendum to decide on the policy of a 4, 5 or 6 year term.”
  • “Proportional Representation: The BPP will facilitate the discussion of introducing Proportional Representation for General Elections, including minimum 30% women candidates.”
  • “State Department to Control Power Abuse: The BPP will create a State Department to be administered by the office of the Governor-General. Remove from control of the Cabinet and placed under the State Department, the offices of the D.P.P. (Director of Public Persecution), the Auditor General, the Contractor General, and the Elections and Boundaries Commission.”
  • “Repeal Crossing The Floor: The BPP will repeal the undemocratic crossing the floor law. All elected members of the House of Representatives should be allowed to cast a vote in the best interest of the country first and, that elected official should be able to do so without reprisal.”
  • “Proportional Representation: The BPP will amend the Constitution to give Belize an elected mixed-member, proportional representation Senate with half the members elected at mid-term.”
  • “Limiting Size of Cabinet: The BPP will amend the Constitution to limit the size of Cabinet to a maximum of 10 ministers and place a consecutive 2 terms limit on the office of the Prime Minister.”
  • “Choosing Cabinet From Public: The BPP will amend the constitution to allow the Prime Minister to choose his Cabinet from the public at large.”
  • “Back To Permanent Secretaries: The BPP will restore the integrity of the Public Service by removing the politically appointed C.E.O. (Chief Executive Officer) position and restoring the merit based P.S. (Permanent Secretary) system.”
  • “Strengthen Trade Unions: The BPP will facilitate the strengthening of trade unions as partners in the democratic process, to combat political victimization, patronage and social injustice.”
  • “Public Officers Participating in Electoral Politics: The BPP will enact legislations required to allow Public Officers unpaid leave to participate in electoral politics.”
  • “Empowering Belizean Diaspora: The BPP will facilitate born Belizeans who reside abroad in the exercise of their birthright, to vote in general elections, subject to referendum.”
  • “Regulate Political Parties: The BPP will enact appropriate legislations to register and regulate political parties and campaign financing.”
  • “Controlling Campaign Financing: The BPP’s position on political campaign financing is clear. In fact, we are the only political party that advocates for the need to develop strict legislation which governs this ever-so-important aspect of the political landscape. In fact, we are of the position that the corruption which plagues our nation, finds its genesis in the fact that political parties currently operate with impunity. In this regard, this shall ideally come under the jurisdiction of the intended Department of State, headed by the Governor General.”
  • “The BPP agrees to an expansion of the powers of the Senate, yet beyond that we intend to put the proposal of an elected Senate in a referendum, in the interim we shall honour the legislation that makes allowance for a 13th Senator.”
  • “Immigration Policy: The BPP recognizes the serious issues which exist concerning Belizean citizenship and Immigration Laws and Policies and how they have been exploited by successive governments, in contravention of the law, to reap political gains at the polls. On this matter we are resolute, that the Rule of Law (especially involving the matter of Guatemalan nationals obtaining Belizean citizenship, meanwhile their country of origin persists in its unfounded claim to our sovereign territory) shall be respected and enforced.”
  • “Sustainable Economic Development: Given our commitment to participatory democracy, it is the BPP’s position that we shall engage the respective industries and communities via consultation and dialogue, to ascertain their recommendations and incorporate them into a national plan of action toward sustainable economic development.”
  • “Engaging Industries:In keeping with our inclusionary/participatory approach toward sustainable economic development, the BPP’s strategy is to move away from the piecemeal approach that has been used by successive administrations. We shall engage the various industries, yet this shall be translated into an overall, national development plan. In this regard, we shall: Revisit and utilize the framework for Belize’s National Development Plan (Horizon 2030), by incorporating the data gathered via industry-specific consultations”

 

 

 

 

Аdvеrtіѕе wіth thе most visited news site in Веlіzе ~ Wе оffеr fullу сuѕtоmіzаblе аnd flехіblе dіgіtаl mаrkеtіng расkаgеѕ. Yоur соntеnt іѕ dеlіvеrеd іnѕtаntlу tо thоuѕаndѕ оf uѕеrѕ іn Веlіzе аnd аbrоаd! Соntасt uѕ аt [email protected] оr саll uѕ аt 501-601-0315.

 

© 2020, BreakingBelizeNews.com. This article is the copyrighted property of Breaking Belize News. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *