BELIZE CITY, Mon. July 9, 2018– The Belize government of Prime Minister Dean Barrow, under pressure from the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU), signed the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) on December 9, 2016. One part of the procedures for signing unto UNCAC is a country visit from its experts.
A visit from a two-member team was scheduled for earlier this year, but it had to be postponed, reportedly, due to logistical difficulties.
The two experts that the UN has chosen to send to Belize for a site visit are from Haiti and Tuvalu, and they arrived in Belize over the weekend. Tuvalu is a Polynesian island nation, located in the Pacific Ocean, while Haiti lies in the Caribbean, next to the Dominican Republic.
While in Belize, the UNCAC experts will team up with experts from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and are also scheduled to hold meetings with the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU); the Solicitor General; the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP); and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
The UNCAC team will look at the necessary laws to determine what areas need to be strengthened in order for Belize to meet its obligation as a signatory to the anti-corruption convention.
Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte told the media that the team of UN experts are to meet with a range of stakeholders…” so from those meetings, they will then go back and prepare a report as to where they believe our laws fall short and what laws we need to implement.”
“Then they will make suggestions after they have done the country visit … the Opposition asked for their own audience and they will get their own audience, but technically, who these people meet with is up to them; they decide who they want to talk to; they decide what information they will deem as important so they can do their report according to the mandate under the UNODC,” Peyrefitte said.