By Benjamin Flowers: The Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) says that the Government of Belize (GOB) is taking too long to implement good governance reforms to ensure better oversight with regard to public funds.
At the BNTU’s protest today, the union’s national president Elena Smith said that the unions do not accept the proposed timeline of between six and eight months for the implementation of some good governance legislation, because it is within the government’s power to implement them faster.
“We have explained to our members…that UNCAC (United Nations Convention Against Corruption) is a process, it happens in phases, we are aware of that. It has been a while since nothing has happened; that has not been the fault of the union, it has been the fault of the government. They have taken their own time to take the process forward and we are saying enough is enough, you had had enough time, we should be further along in the process than we are right now, so let’s move the process along,” Smith said.
She noted that whistleblower legislation, which offers protection to persons who come forward to report corruption within the public service, is one such example where the government has the ability to implement the laws quicker than the timeline being proposed.
“Asset recovery and illicit enrichment can be done quickly as well. So they can be working on those things and they can be done simultaneously as well, it shouldn’t take a year for that,” Smith added.
The union says that, despite the current administration only being in office for five months, it was well aware of the processes and progress that were in place with the previous administration and as such has no excuse to delay the implementation of the reforms. The union also said that without those reforms, reckless spending of government funds and corruption in public office will continue and eventually give rise to more strikes in the future.