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Jan 3, 2020

B.N.T.U. President Questions G.O.B.’s Sluggish Process of UNCAC Implementation

Elena Smith

In 2016, the government signed the United Nations Convention Against Corruption after tremendous pressure was placed by the powerful Belize National Teachers Union and the private sector.  It has been more than two years and UNCAC has yet to be fully implemented.  The sense is that the government hasn’t done much in moving the process forward. Just recently the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the National Trade Union Congress of Belize and the Belize Network of N.G.O.’s, sent Prime Minister Dean Barrow, a letter reminding him of Belize’s commitment when it ratified UNCAC.  Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte told the media in December that the UN informed the government that no further engagements in any process to further UNCAC or any projects should be made until a full report is made available.  The B.N.T.U., however, is determined to push the government further this year to see the full implementation of UNCAC.


Senator Elena Smith, National President, B.N.T.U.

“I am not sure as to how much we are pushing as government to ensure that things move quickly. That is our concern because while we are not in the position we feel that there is a little bit more we could do as a country, as a government to ensure that we speed up this process. Yes, it cost monies involved but we can find monies for other things. I am sure if this is of interest to us then we will find the money to ensure that we do the implementation as was planned.”


Hipolito Novelo

“The Attorney General has said that the process is going the way it should.”


Senator Elena Smith

“Yes, but slowly. I know that whenever you question things and whenever you make comments the AG is quick to jump on you and make a lot of comments but at the end of the day this is for the benefit of the country. This is not about the AG or the N.T.U.C.B. or the B.N.T.U.  This is about country. So I think that we have to do our best to push and ensure that the process goes as best as it could and as quickly as it can.”


Hipolito Novelo

“Maybe the process is taking a bit long because the AG’s office is overwhelmed from the Contractor General’s office.”


Senator Elena Smith

“Possibly. We have raised the matter to him but you know the AG. He is going to say that is not so; people know otherwise. Hopefully that is not the reason but if it is then what is in the dark will come to light.”


Hipolito Novelo

“Do you believe that in 2020 B.N.T.U. will need to push the government a bit further for UNCAC?”


Senator Elena Smith

“I do believe so and not just the B.N.T.U., but the N.T.U.C.B.  As I said it has been turned over to the N.T.U.C.B. so it’s time for the N.T.U.C.B. to now continue to carry that mantle that the B.N.T.U. has started. If it is that we have to act and our members say that we have to act then we will do so. A lot of things that we have pushed for, UNCAC, PAC, Integrity Commission some of these things are not operating the way they should and really and truly it doesn’t seem that anybody is looking at those things and truly ensuring that those things work the way they should. So if it is that nobody has the strength or the will to do what we did in 2016 then we might have to come out and do what we do best. You never know.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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