Belize Government Launches Anti-Corruption Declaration; Emphasizes Transparency Efforts
The Government of Belize is echoing its rally call to stomp out corruption and improve good governance across the public and private sectors. Today, the Ministry of the Public Service, Constitutional and Political Reform, via its Good Governance Unit, launched an Anti-Corruption Declaration, endorsing its push for greater transparency. The endeavor sought to provide organizations, like the Love Foundation, an opportunity to validate the joint efforts to promote good governance and the implementation of anti-corruption measures. Minister of the Public Service, Constitutional and Political Reform Henry Charles Usher remarked that the overarching goal is to improve the lives of citizens by riding the society of corruption.
Henry Charles Usher, Minister of Public Service: “There was a conference on December 7th and these stakeholders both government and non government came together to come up with general principles and specific principles as to how we can improve governance in Belize on a whole to make sure that good governance is the order of the day. And so I’m very happy that we could get to this point where the declaration has been signed and it’s a message really to the Government of Belize, it’s a message to the political parties that Belizeans are serious about good governance. This is a declaration but what is needed is that we need to enforce what the principles are in this declaration and that’s why it was important that the government establish the good governance unit because that unit is the focal point for all good governance initiatives in the government , it make sure that public officers are trained in good governance, are trained in the proper way in which to deliver service to the people of Belize. It is going to be a part of their promotional criteria in terms of taking this course. We did a memorandum of understanding with Galen University to provide the original training for these officers and then these officers are now going to go to the different departments and do the same training for all public officers. We have to make sure that we look at all legislation, we look at all the areas and we have to be able to train public officers to identify areas that may be weak, controls that may need to be put in place and that’s why it’s important to do the proper training but also to sensitize the public, educate the public so that they can be a part of this process as well to call out when they see areas where there may be weaknesses and so on.”
Minister Usher says the next step for the declaration is for it to be approved by the Cabinet. He says that under the anti-corruption declaration, the government hopes to implement several pieces of legislation, including laws to govern campaign financing.
Henry Charles Usher, Minister of Public Service: “It has to go to Cabinet. I have already indicated to them that today is the signing and I’m sure that Cabinet will endorse it and certainly we have to take the pointers both the general and the specific principles in the declaration and to see how we can get the legislation done. If you notice some of the specific principles for instance the legislation on protected disclosures that has already been introduced. We have other legislation protecting witnesses, we have legislation dealing with other areas that are in this declaration but the areas that we don’t have the legislation yet we have to work with the Attorney General, with the substantive ministry to get those legislations in place.”
Director of the Good Governance Unit, Cesar Ross, highlighted the ministry’s efforts to engage youth in the important discussion by holding poster, essay, and art competitions highlighting their concerns.