The other major aspect of today’s Senate meeting was the introduction of the Government’s proposal to accept the United Nation’s Convention on Anti-Corruption as a measure of check and balance. This is a commitment which the Government made to the Belize National Teacher’s Union during the 11 days of strike in October. As the discussion commenced at today’s Senate meeting, the Social Partner senators and opposition senator discussed what their expectations are.
Senator Elena Smith – Representing the Union
“We know that the NTUCB has been working with the Chamber of Commerce and the Committee but as well has been clamoring for this anti-corruption act to be signed on to. We also now that the teachers of this country took a stand and we took eleven days out to ensure that this was sign or this would be signed, having said that then, we must commend the Prime Minister and his government on this first step towards minimizing corruption, we must though understand that it is only a first step, while we are happy with this initial step we must be vigilant in our monitoring of its full implementation.”
Senator Mark Lizarraga – Chamber of Commerce and Industry
“Part of this Convention calls for the establishment of an anti-corruption secretariat and it is not at least to the best of my knowledge, we have not identified how this secretariat will be composed, where it will be, who will be in charge of it, how is it set up, who will be the members, etc. am hoping that perhaps today we may hear some more from that whether we are going to work within an institution that has already been established or we are going to set up a new one from scratch. We need to include it on our school curriculum; we need to start teaching our children from a very early age, how to identify corruption, what is corruption, instilling values and morals in our curriculum, respecting and promoting and protecting the freedom as well to seek to receive and publish and discriminate information concerning corruption and in another parts speaks to individuals having that right without fear or without intimidation and without victimization, article (7) speaks about embezzlement, misappropriation or other diversion of property by a public official how many times have we seen this; public property being diverted, read the Auditor General’s reports, conflict of interest we have seen so many instances of conflict of interest on the news recently Mr. President, those things should be illegal, we need to have code of conduct for public officials and private officials as well, private business people.”
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