Belize Parliament Discusses Code of Ethics Amid Elected Officials’ Misconduct Scandal
With the recent revelations of untoward conduct by elected officials, serious discussions have begun within Belize’s Parliament to establish a code of ethics for members of the National Assembly. The talks follow the sexting scandal involving Minister Andre Perez, who is currently being investigated by the Attorney General’s office for possible malfeasance. Weighing in on the situation was Minister of Education, Francis Fonseca, who has agreed that there is an urgent need for a code of ethics.
Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education: “I think that’s been discussed for some time now, and it’s not just our colleague. We have very clear cases of members, senior members of the opposition those cases have been discussed extensively. So let’s not pretend that it’s a cabinet minister and we don’t have very, very serious cases on the other side. I can tell you that even at the National Assembly level there is a committee that’s looking at that issue, looking at a code of ethics for parliamentarians. I think that’s a good place to start. But how can that then feed into the wider process of the Constitutional Commission I think is a very good idea. I certainly believe that I think we need to have standards and ethical codes in place for all public officials, not just politicians, but all public officials. And I think I hope that forms a part of the discussion and debate surrounding the Constitution Commission’s work over the next few months.”
For years, under various administrations, elected officials have found themselves caught up in scandals. Our archives show that back in 2016, an image of a naked government minister circulated, reportedly having been taken in the home of a now-convicted murderer. Also in 2016, a then government minister was at the center of domestic disputes as the perpetrator, and in 2020, allegations of domestic violence surfaced against the current leader of the opposition, Moses Barrow, who was not disciplined nor stripped of his title.