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Mar 1, 2018

UNCAC visit postponement a shame, but don’t run down Tuvalu

On Wednesday, the National Trade Union Congress of Belize, N.T.U.C.B., issued a terse release soundly criticizing the Government of Belize for the delay in the visit of an UNCAC team of experts.  The umbrella organization disparages the island nation of Tuvalu, one of two countries, including Haiti, providing specialists to conduct an evaluation and assessment of Belize.  The exercise follows Belize’s endorsement of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption in 2016.  Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte agrees that the postponement is disappointing.  However, he says that the N.T.U.C.B. is way out of line for running down Tuvalu, particularly because the country was selected by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in a random lottery.  He says the N.T.U.C.B. should apologize to the people of that country for its disrespectful remarks.


Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General

Michael Peyrefitte

“They have every right to be upset.  I can tell you that they are not any more upset than I am.  We have put in an inordinate amount of time preparing for this country visit, I have been to Cabinet, several Cabinets and I have indicated to ministers and for them to pass on to their CEOs that they had to be in Belize and available for when the country visit was to take place.  There was back and forth because people are busy and have things to do and I said, we have to be available.  The ministers and the CEOs and their staff made the time available, they made the sacrifice and we were ready.  So when we heard the news that Tuvalu could not secure their tickets and their visas to come to Belize then we were extremely disappointed and we were as upset as the NTUCB.  However, there was no excuse for the NTUCB to send out a release that totally, in my view, disrespects another nation.  It is quite out of order and rude to claim that simply because a country has a certain size or population that somehow that that’s not a place that’s worthy to be a country.  I will not go there, I don’t share that sentiment and the NTUCB will have to own that comment on their own.  I have no part of that, the Government of Belize has no part of that and the NTUCB in my view owes the people of Tuvalu an apology.  The next thing is, there is a misconception and it seems to be pushed by the People’s United Party, let’s be frank, and their agents wherever they have them in the NTUCB as well.”

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