By:Belize Protector, NP Guest Writer
Belize City:Thursday 9th March 2023
Belize signed the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in 2016 and ratified it in 2018. Since then, the country has taken some steps to comply with the convention, but more work needs to be done. Here is a balanced overview of where Belize stands and what needs to be done to fully comply with UNCAC:
- Belize has ratified UNCAC and incorporated its provisions into national legislation, including the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Criminal Code.
- Belize has established the Integrity Commission, which is responsible for implementing and enforcing anti-corruption measures.
- Belize has developed a National Anti-Corruption Strategy that includes preventive measures, criminalization, and enforcement of anti-corruption laws.
- Belize has established a Financial Intelligence Unit to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
Challenges and areas for improvement:
- Belize needs to establish an independent anti-corruption commission that is empowered to investigate, prosecute, and sanction corrupt practices.
- Belize needs to enact and enforce legislation to criminalize bribery, embezzlement, and other corrupt practices.
- Belize needs to enhance transparency and accountability in government operations, including procurement and public financial management.
- Belize needs to strengthen international cooperation in the fight against corruption by implementing the UNCAC's provisions on mutual legal assistance, extradition, and asset recovery.
- Belize needs to develop and strengthen institutional capacities to effectively implement anti-corruption measures, including training and building the capacity of law enforcement and judicial institutions.
Regarding the comment by Henry Charles Usher, while he provided some information on the legislation being considered to meet UNCAC requirements, there were some lacks and wants in the statement, including:
- Lack of concrete information on the progress made in implementing UNCAC.
- Lack of details on the content of the proposed legislation and how it relates to UNCAC requirements.
- Want for specific information on the UNCAC requirements that Belize needs to meet.
- Want for a timeframe for implementing the legislation.
- Want for information on how the legislation will be enforced.
Overall, Belize must continue to take a multi-faceted approach to fully comply with UNCAC, which includes enacting and enforcing anti-corruption legislation, establishing an independent anti-corruption commission, enhancing transparency and accountability, strengthening institutional capacities, and enhancing international cooperation. It is challenging to determine how long it will take for Belize to fully comply with UNCAC, but progress is being made, and the government's commitment to combating corruption is a positive sign.
Bias Towards None