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Joint Union Negotiating Team: ‘Government needs to show commitment to implementing good governance reforms’

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Posted: Wednesday, April 21, 2021. 12:39 pm CST.

By Benjamin Flowers: The Joint Union Negotiating Team (JUNT) says that the Government of Belize needs to do more than promise good governance reforms in order for the unions to accept its proposals.

PSU President Gerald Henry told our newsroom today that the government gave time frames for the implementation of whistleblower legislation and the implementation of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and other good governance reforms, however, those times may have been extended unreasonably far.

“These things are not original or unique…they don’t have to draft them from the very first word to the very last word. You would just have to modify it to fit Belize,” Henry said. “We were generous to accept the six to eight months, but again there was no solid commitment from the government to say that ‘We are going to sign on some sort of document that is going to bind us to ensure that these legislative changes are going to be implemented.”

Henry said that the JUNT is adamant that negotiations with this administration will not be “business as usual” as successive government administrations have made promises that they did not deliver on, which caused Belize’s economic position to worsen due to the lack of oversight and accountability.

In a letter GOB sent to the JUNT dated March 30, the government pledged to prepare draft whistle-blowers’ legislation within three to four months to be shared with the unions for input prior to enactment.

“Government will prepare draft form of civil and criminal unjust enrichment law to include provisions for lifestyle investigations/audits, unexplained wealth orders that can be applied retrospectively to property acquired even under the past administration and provisions for asset recovery. Such draft legislation will be shared with the unions and other social partners within six to eight months for input prior to enactment,” GOB added.

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