The Committee of Experts of the Follow-up Mechanism for the Implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (MESICIC) of the Organization of American States (OAS) adopted the Belize report on the implementation of this treaty in the framework of the fourth round of review of the mechanism, during its 24th meeting held at the headquarters of the hemispheric institution in Washington, DC.
The report on Belize provides a comprehensive review of structure, operation and results achieved by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG), the Office of the Services Commissions (OSC), the Ministry of the Public Service (MPS), and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), four of the main oversight bodies responsible for preventing, detecting and punishing corruption in that state.
The review was carried out taking into account Belize’s response to a questionnaire, information gathered by the MESICIC Technical Secretariat, under the OAS, and, as a new and important source of information, the on-site visit conducted last April, with the approval of the country under review, by a committee of representatives of Canada, Jamaica and the Technical Secretariat. During the visit, meetings were held with representatives of the aforementioned governmental bodies, as well as with representatives of the Belizean civil society, private sector and professional associations.
Overall, with regard to the oversight bodies, the report recommends providing them with the resources necessary for the proper performance of their functions. With respect to the Office of the Auditor General, the report suggests ensuring that there are mechanisms to enable adequate follow-up, implementation and compliance with OAG recommendations.
In relation to the Office of the Services Commissions, to prepare and publish an annual report summarizing the activities of the OSC; to create an Internet portal for the OSC; and to maintain adequate records on the results of the OSC and the Services Commissions.
With regard to the Ministry of the Public Service, the report recommends to conclude the process of reviewing and updating the Public Service Regulations; to prepare and publish and annual report summarizing the activities of the MPS; and to ensure the proper maintenance of the MPS website.
With respect to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, to prepare and publish an annual report informing of its activities; to create an institutional website; and to ensure that there is adequate coordination between police prosecutors and Crown Counsel.
Some of the recommendations made to Belize during the first round of the MESICIC, which remain pending or were reformulated, address issues such as the strengthening of the financial declarations system to ensure, among others, the operation of the Integrity Commission, as well as the strengthening of the system of access to information.
In addition to the report on Belize, MESICIC adopted similar reports on Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname.
The MESICIC is a cooperation mechanism between states, with broad participation of civil society organizations, in which the legal/institutional framework of each country is reviewed for suitability with the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, as well as the objective results achieved therein. The incorporation of on-site visits as a stage and integral part of the MESICIC review process represents an innovative initiative in the context of the OAS, which has strengthened even more so this reciprocal review mechanism.
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