NTUCB demands GOB to implement the UNCAC by the end of February
Saturday, February 8th, 2020
The Government of Belize signed the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) in December 2016 to assure Belizeans of its commitment to fight corruption. However, almost four years later, UNCAC remains unimplemented, triggering the dissatisfaction of several organizations, including the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB). This organization alleges that widespread corruption in government is what keeps the UNCAC from being implemented and have called on the current leaders to enact it or else face the consequences.
The NTUCB issued an ultimatum on Monday, February 3rd, at a press briefing in Belize City. According to them, the briefing is the first step to notify the government that it is time to implement the UNCAC, preferably by the end of February. If the government fails to do so, it will face the wrath of the trade unions from across the country.NTUCB’s president, Marvin Mora explained that their members directed the organization on how to address the issue. He shared with the media a resolution that was approved by the NTUCB and a copy sent to the Attorney General Honourable Michael Peyrefitte, who has yet to respond. The resolution reads, “Whereas the country of Belize is faced with a plethora of issues as a result of widespread corruption; and whereas the NTUCB, the largest representative of employees in Belize was advocating for the Government of Belize to sign onto the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC); and whereas as a result of its advocacy and that of its members, a UNCAC Steering Committee was formed to ensure the progress of the overall implementation of UNCAC in Belize. Be it resolved that the NTUCB calls on government to secure the following by February 28, 2020. (1) To implement the recommendation from the Executive Summary of the First Cycle of peer review process; (2) to immediately re-establish meeting of the UNCAC Steering Committee; (3) to proceed expeditiously with the review of passage of anti-corruption legislation and the establishment of anti-corruption practices and agencies in Belize.”
Mora said that it is no secret to anyone in Belize that corruption is an issue. ”The trade union movement is about fairness and equity, and we cannot ignore this serious issue,” he said. Mora wants everyone to know the implications of a government that has failed to implement such important implementation. “If the government continues to ignore the calls of the representatives of the labour force, then there is going to be some escalation to get the attention we deserve,” said Mora. “We are calling on those government offices who are responsible for the continuation of the work of the UNCAC to proceed as expeditiously as possible with whatever work they were carrying on so that the implementation of the UNCAC becomes a reality,” Mora added.On Tuesday, February 4th, Deputy Prime Minister, Honourable Patrick Faber told the media that there is more to be done in carrying out the UNCAC. He said that accountability is necessary before it can be implemented. “I view the UNCAC as something very important,” said Faber. “If it is that I am allowed to lead the country, the people can be assured of my greatest commitment to ensure that we are doing what we need to do in terms of being accountable.”
The UNCAC counts with an international component for crimes involving corruption. This measure also deals with the public sector and aims to see systems put in place for public offices. It also deals with campaign financing, registration of political parties, public reporting, the independence of the Judiciary system and the Director of Public Prosecutions’ office. Another function of the UNCAC includes dealing with Asset Recovery, training of public officers and other related activities.
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