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Dec 6, 2017

Local Government Reckons with UNCAC

Mayor and Councilors from all over the country converged at the Radisson this morning where a one-day event took place on the two issues critical to governing: accountability and transparency. At the municipal level, corruption is not perceived to be as pervasive as in central government, but municipal bodies are expected to function above board.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Accountability and transparency in government are both tenets on which statecraft is fostered.  The idea of good governance in today’s political climate is often marred by the overwhelming notion that government, at the municipal and central levels, is rooted in corruption.  It’s a perception that is virtually unshakeable given the numerous scandals that successive administrations have been faced with over the past decade.  Notwithstanding that view, various stakeholders in local government are participating in a training seminar to explore ways in which accountability and transparency can be advanced through effective governance.

 

Darrell Bradley

Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor

“It is one of the more critical issues that affect the global development agenda.  We’re talking about the sustainable development goals.  How do you bring about a society, nation, cities, villages and communities that really advance the quality of life of their communities and persons?  Critical to that is how do you create governmental institutions and bodies that are vehicles for social transformation and development?  And part of that conversation is the discussion on accountability and transparency, it represents a serious challenge to the development of our various communities.”

 

Those challenges have also manifested themselves in many branches of government, including the Immigration and Nationality Department which has been the subject of the Auditor General’s careful scrutiny.  Today, however, the focus is on local government, the arm of political authority which manages cities, towns and villages.

 

Darrell Bradley

“We need to look at the performance overall in this case of local government and how effective we are in relation to meeting our statutory mandate to deliver a high quality of life for various municipalities.  One of the good things with the conference is that we’re bringing together all local government actors, representatives from the Ministry of Local Government.  We’re also bringing together elected officials, councilors and mayors together with technical staff from all the nine municipalities and we also have representation from the village council association and the Alcalde association.  So all local government practitioners in our country are coming together.”

 

Despite the fact that mayors and councilors in both cities and towns may not be held to the same level of accountability, in terms of filing integrity forms, for instance, there is still a great deal of trust in the abilities of local government.

 

Darrell Bradley

“There is a great degree of confidence in municipal government.  One of the things that I will be speaking about in the presentation is accountability as a faucet of performance and leadership.  So that I think throughout this country there’s a great degree of confidence in the ability of municipal governments to perform, to deliver on infrastructure, park improvements, on quality of life issues.  You can see that in Belize City, but we also see that in Belmopan.  I frequently travel there and it’s improving on a daily basis, the city is changing and transforming right before your eyes.  You’re seeing that in San Ignacio, you’re seeing that in San Pedro, you’re also seeing that in Orange Walk, so that you’re seeing that throughout the country.”

 

The accountability and transparency training was organized through the Ministry of Local Government. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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