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Oct 5, 2016

Business Community Pushes for Governance Reforms While Waiting for UNCAC

Meanwhile the Chamber has reacted to G.O.B.’s announcement to sign the United Nations Convention on Anti-Corruption on December ninth. The B.C.C.I. says it supports Government’s plans to sign the UN Convention and other requested reform measures need not wait. These include the appointment of the thirteenth member of the Senate from among the N.G.O. community, for which a commencement order has been left unsigned for several years; the appointment of the Integrity Commission and restructuring of the House of Representatives’ Public Accounts Committee. However, the Chamber adopts the Government’s view that simply signing the Convention on International Anti-Corruption Day is only symbolic. In the coming months, a foundation framework must be adopted, it says, that will enable the main sections of the convention: Preventive Measures; Criminalization and Law Enforcement; International Cooperation; Asset Recovery; and Technical Assistance & Information Exchange. There are mandatory provisions in the convention, according to the Chamber, that will require the revision of local laws, the establishment of a Secretariat and/or the strengthening of existing institutions such as the Financial Intelligence Unit, and the adoption of certain anti-corruption practices. The business group states, “In this regard, the B.C.C.I. also commits to continue full participation in the working group tasked to study, analyze and evaluate the UNCAC requirements and define an efficient roadmap towards its full implementation in Belize. It would be irresponsible and contrary to Belize’s interest to sign unto the convention without the advantage of such a roadmap, and so we will work with the Government to establish this roadmap in a timely manner.”

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