Implementation of Anti-Corruption measures begin Print
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Thursday, 07 December 2017 00:00

In celebrating Belize’s one-year anniversary of signing its accession to the United Nation’s Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), which will be on December 9, 2017, a series of events are being held countrywide during the week of December 4 to 8, 2017. These activities are being held with the intention of engaging youth, women, and other relevant bodies. Belize became the 182nd country to sign the international agreement.

The anti-corruption training for secondary and tertiary students during the months of November and December have come about from the collaboration between the United Nation’s Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the Attorney General’s Ministry of Belize.

An expert panel discussion was held at the George Price Center in Belmopan on the evening of December 4, 2017. There, Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General, Christian Salazar-Volkmann, Gerardo Noto, and Senator Elena Smith made up the panel. Preceding the panel discussion, an essay competition was held for secondary and tertiary schools. The winners in the secondary school group were as follows: Bishop Martin High School placed 3rd, Our Lady of Mount Carmel placed second, and first place was awarded to Belmopan Comprehensive High School. In the tertiary group, a student of the University of Belize placed 3rd, a student from Corozal Junior College placed 2nd, and a student from the Washington University of Health and Science placed 1st.

A jingle competition was also held. Tamicka Gordon’s “What is Us?” placed 3rd. Her jingle was followed by Imani Smith’s “Unite if we Could” and 1st place was awarded to Derron Thompson for his piece entitled “Zero Corruption”. In an effort to include primary schools students, the UNCAC utilized two mascots that have so far visited schools in Hatieville, Dangriga, and Pomona. The mascots assist in trainings of integrity, loyalty, and responsibility which lend their hands to achieving no corruption.

The UNCAC will also help Belize to achieve the SDGs of 2030 while fighting all forms of organized crime. Corruption has a negative effect on both the security and economy of the country. Corruption costs 5% of the world’s GDP and 10% of the cost of global business. The next step Belize hopes to take is strengthening its legal and institutional setup against corruption.

Quoting Phillip Goldson, “The time to save your country is before you lose it”. UNCAC makes that possible.