By Aaron Humes: The Public Service Union of Belize (PSU) has suggested in a press statement that more of the abuses enumerated by Minister of Infrastructure Development and Housing, Julius Espat, this week could have been prevented if the then-Government and then-Opposition had acted on public officers’ reports from as far back as 2010.
It is unfair now, the union writes, for the new administration to chastise public officers for allegedly not speaking out when in fact their efforts went unheeded.
Nonetheless, it agrees with the Minister that, in his words, there is an “acceptance of the public service of a culture of corruption which has taken root within our system, and which must be uprooted and discarded.”
The PSU suggests introducing a Whistle Blowers Act as part of political reform in its first 100 days of government, acting in accordance with Article 33 (Protection of Reporting Persons) of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), and calls on the now-Opposition to join their support as well.
It also gives kudos to those employees in the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Housing who have given written declarations against the corrupt acts perpetrated under the previous Minister and CEO in the Ministry of Works and hopes for the successful prosecution against those who have violated the people’s trust and who abused and plundered the people’s assets and resources.
The PSU concludes, “Combatting corruption is everyone’s business and so the PSU calls on all Public Officers within every other Government Ministry and Department to cooperate with the Government, the Office of the Auditor General, and other relevant authorities in disclosing and highlighting areas and acts of corruption.”
The Union and others are already cooperating with a Government investigation of the sale of vehicles and other assets during the last days of the Barrow administration.