Posted: Monday, November 9, 2020. 9:43 am CST.
By BBN Staff: The Belize P.E.A.C.E. Movement (for Patriots Engaged Against Corruption and Exploitation) is approaching each of the 88 candidates contesting next Wednesday’s general elections to sign a 20-point Best Governance P.E.A.C.E. Pledge before going to the polls.
But the Movement says it is receiving no cooperation from the headquarters of the major parties, the People’s United Party (PUP) and the United Democratic Party (UDP).
The Belize P.E.A.C.E. Movement, also known as B.P.M., a non-partisan organization, says the secretariats of the major parties are refusing to give out their candidates’ contact info so that P.E.A.C.E. may reach them directly. Smaller parties in Belize, namely the Belize Progressive Party (BPP) and Belize People’s Front (BPF), have already done so. Please see a copy of a signed pledge by Belize Progressive Party (BPP) candidate Wil Maheia here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1vavVwv9QLR6JnzUNP2B5565Dgj1Ww_JF/view?usp=sharing.
The BPM is now reaching out to the public to help get this contact information, while also making direct appeals to the candidates themselves to get in touch. They suggest that perhaps senior party officials are reluctant because the 20 Point Best Governance P.E.A.C.E Pledge 2020 would commit them to have less power while in government.
The Pledge lists among other things reforms to campaign financing, placing political parties on a legal footing, implementing new Senate selection rules, implementing all provisions of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) protocol; bringing in the Diaspora to vote and participate in general elections; and redistricting electoral divisions before the next general elections. Both major parties have at least agreed to that last provision of redistricting as the BPM’s case on the matter continues before the courts; they were refused an injunction to halt elections before next Wednesday to allow redistricting to proceed.
The candidates at the top must personally pledge to agree to this raft of reforms and properly educating the public, and also affirm their good intentions as an area representative and not secretly having an agenda to enrich themselves and friends and family.
Each of the major parties has put forward its own proposals for good governance and ending corruption, but often these are only promises and are not delivered.
The deadline to sign is Monday, November 9, or at any time before Election Day failing that. The link of the document to sign can be found here https://drive.google.com/file/d/1VopC5Rpu8CHDcMML2GhQw7ub2XhO99-1/view?usp=sharing for those candidates from the major political parties who wish to print and sign. In addition a copy of the document can also be found below after this news article. Alternately, candidates can contact the BPM at 633-2500 (by WhatsApp text message hotline) or email [email protected]
20 Point Best Governance P.E.A.C.E. Pledge 2020
I,_____________________, _________________(___) candidate for the _________________ Electoral Division, agree that implementing more measures for Best Governance in Belize is a good thing. I also agree that poor governance thrives on there being poor and uninformed people – so it’s a vicious cycle. Dirty politics, cronyism and non-transparency are a part of this circle. The vicious circle does not roll uphill but it rolls downhill and takes us all to the pits, including our potential, our future and our ability to survive as a people. I am happy to sign the 20 Point Best Governance P.E.A.C.E. Pledge of 2020 that will help break this vicious circle. I swear that I have good intentions as a potential future representative of government, and, that I have no secret agenda to enrich myself or my friends or colleagues.
1 Put into law that political parties be registered as legal entities.
2 Enact stiff Campaign Fairness Laws inclusive of Campaign Finance laws, to regulate the financing of political parties and fairness in political campaigns in Belize.
3 Create a Best Governance Department (or mechanism) under the portfolio of an independently elected officer, with Constitutional Authority, Responsibility and Budgetary allocation to oversee the:
a Office (Director) of Public Prosecution,
b Elections and Boundaries Institute,
c Office of the Contractor General,
d Office of the Auditor General,
e Integrity Commission
f National Security Intelligence.
4 Repeal the Crossing of the Floor provision. Representatives may vote their mind and not what their parties dictate.
5 Amend the Referendum Act to allow the people to vote directly on local and national issues and make the results thereof binding. This will be a start to utilize E-Democracy where and when possible.
6 Make practical the Recall Referendum Law to end the term of elected leaders who have lost the public trust.
7 Introduce Proportional Representation to Belize for the next General Election Cycle.
8 Facilitate the strengthening of trade unions and Civil Society Organizations as partners in the democratic and governance process.
9 Allow Public Officers unpaid leave to participate in electoral politics.
10 Facilitate born Belizeans who reside abroad in the exercise of their birthright, to vote and be able to run in General Elections. Modernize overall the act and process of voting in Belize so that it is more convenient, more sanitary and more accessible.
11 Amend the Constitution to allow the Prime Minister to choose his Cabinet from professionals in the public at large with an upper limit of 7 Ministers from the wider Belizean population including the Diaspora.
12 Amend the Constitution to have a fixed date for General Elections and place consecutive 2 terms limit on the office of the Prime Minister and a 3 term limit on the position of Area Representative.
13 Amend the Freedom of Information Act to expedite & allow public access to government information.
14 Reinforce the autonomy of the police and department of public prosecution in fighting & prosecuting crime including acts of corruption by elected persons and Public Officers.
15 Implement and Enforce UN and OAS anti-corruption conventions so that the UNCAC autonomous anti-corruption body will be in full operation in 1 year.
16 Until the UNCAC autonomous body has been named, have an Independent Organization (like an accounting/audit firm that may work together with other organizations) act as a watchdog with special auditing access to government revenue earning departments, especially in known corruption hotbeds like Customs and Land. This independent auditor must provide monthly reports which will be viewable by the public, except for expenses related to national security secrets. Anomalies will be found out and measures taken to counter any acts of graft and non-transparency inside these departments.
17 In keeping with the results of the 2008 referendum where voters approved the elected senate, amend the Constitution to give Belize an elected mixed member, proportional representation Senate with half the members elected at mid-term.
18 Redistrict 12 months before the next fixed date for General Elections.
19 Allocate adequate levels of financial and human resources targeted at examination, analyzing and sustaining vibrant public services. Performance testing of the public service must be regularly carried out and measures taken whereby performance is not up to standard.
20 Take all the necessary steps for Belize to be ranked in the top ten least corrupt countries in Transparency International annual Corruption Perception Index and become known as one of the 5 Best Governed countries in the World.
I,_____________________, _________________(___) candidate for the _________________ Electoral Division, if elected to office, hereby pledge to carry out to the greatest of my ability in full collaboration with other elected representatives to make the aforementioned 20 Points of the Best Governance P.E.A.C.E. Pledge 2020 be executed in the laws, actions, policies and culture of the future Government of Belize that will take up functions after the Election 2020. I hereby pledge to commence implementation of the 20 Points of the Best Governance P.E.A.C.E. Pledge 2020 within the first 100 days of my election and for full implementation by end of year one. I also declare that this signed document can be made public knowledge.
In full agreement to the above,
(Name of Candidate, Electoral Division)
Date signed: _________________
Justice of the Peace
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