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#518023 - 10/05/16 10:10 AM GOB Commits To Fixed Date To Sign Anti Corruption
Marty Offline
And that's not all from the government today, another press release says that the Government has agreed on a date to sign the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

That was one of the 8 demands from the Teachers which initially justified this strike, and so Cabinet "agreed today to accept the recommendation of the Government/ Belize Chamber of Commerce & Industry Working Group… to sign the UNCAC on December 9, 2016, which is the International Day Against Corruption."

Now it's a sharp change from the position PM Barrow took just 6 weeks ago on August 25th when he outlined all the exhaustive and expensive measures that will have to be implemented if he signs. For context, here is that short clip from that interview.

FILE: August 25, 2016
Rt., Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister

"If we sign that UN anti-corruption convention, it's not just a matter of signing you know. You then have to set up another entity which we can ill afford. You have to staff that entity. You have to give them resources. We are concentrating on strengthening in particular the FIU and you know what the body that we would have to set up, that you are oblige to set up once you sign the convention would do? Exactly what the FIU is doing. So we are going to be duplicating efforts. We are going to be saddling ourselves with expenses and you know what, when we looked at it, I was all prepared to sign that thing at the start of 2016 and we had the solicitor general's office gave an opinion and that's when it was pointed out 'look you can't just sign.' There are all these obligations that follow upon signing."

Well as you heard, PM Barrow will now have to find a way to work around all those requirements and regulations because he has committed to signing the UNCAC on December 9th. The release ends by saying " By that date, the joint GOB/BCCI Working Group fully expects to have determined the scope of the necessary measures, including legislative and administrative measures, to ensure the proper implementation of Belize's obligations under the Convention after signing."

Are the teachers at all placated by Government's announcements today? Well, that's what we asked the President, and he told us that the Government is not telling the whole story. Palacio told us that the Chamber believes that if the Government wanted to, they could sign on to the convention today:

Luke Palacio, National President - BNTU
"They are trying to mislead. We met with the chamber of commerce, the group, at least one of the bodies involve in this group that is looking at this convention to determine our readiness. The Chamber of Commerce told us they do not need 3 months for the signing of this convention. December 9th is 3 months away from here. So who us playing a game? We are saying you can sign that convention, ratify it later and that is what we stand by."

Daniel Ortiz, 7News
"Sir, what will it take to end industrial actions? Will you all require them to sign unto each of these proposals instead of just making a verbal commitment?"

Luke Palacio, National President - BNTU
"No, we are not saying that we want them to sign on to all 8, but there are some that we believe they can sign on to and if they do so, we are prepared to continue the dialogue. We have said it over and over, we are open for discussion with the government. But you cannot, the government cannot continue to be intransigent and expect that the Belizean people will be satisfied. That is not what we are about."

Channel 7


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#518664 - 11/02/16 09:44 AM Re: GOB Commits To Fixed Date To Sign Anti Corruption [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

UNCAC Coming Faster Than Previously Planned

Over the last few months, we've documented how the Barrow Administration's position on the United Nations Convention Against Corruption has rapidly evolved.

At the end of August, the Prime Minister was reluctant to sign, but under the pressure of trying to end the 11 day teachers' strike, he committed to doing so by December 9. Well, the Cabinet has reconsidered and they will speed up the process.

A release from Cabinet says that in their meeting today, the members agreed that Belize would accede directly to the UNCAC. This moves up the timeline of bringing the convention into force. The plan was that the Prime Minister would sign on the Instrument of Accession on December 9, and the Senate would still have to approve it at a later date. That would have delayed its ratification, meaning that it would not be in full force. With this new plan, the Senate is being expected to approve a motion authorizing accession at the earliest convenience. The Government's explanation is that when that happens, the treaty will be in full force on December 9, when the Prime Minister will sign and submit the Instrument of Accession.

No date has been announced as yet as to when the Senate will meet to consider this UNCAC motion.

Channel 7


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