Corruption


In our little corner of the world, Corruption is up and in your face. The politicians are not afraid to do it outright and say they are proud of what they do, some even say they deserve it because they are not Normal Belizeans, while others simply feel they are entitled for whatever reason.

Corruption in general undermines the stability of a business or group but when it comes to Political Corruption, you put the entire nation and it’s people at risk. It undermines the “democracy” of the nation and violates the basic principle of civic virtue.

So what is Political Corruption? Political corruption is the use of power by government officials for illegitimate private gain. An illegal act by an officeholder constitutes political corruption only if the act is directly related to their official duties, is done under color of law or involves trading in influence. Forms of corruption vary, but include bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, patronage, graft, and embezzlement. Corruption may facilitate criminal enterprise such as drug trafficking, money laundering, and human trafficking, though is not restricted to these activities. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegal acts by private persons or corporations not directly involved with the government.

USLegal defines Political Corruption as:

Political corruption means the abuse of political power by the government leaders to extract and accumulate for private enrichment, and to use politically corrupt means to maintain their hold on power. However, abuse of political power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Political corruption takes place at the highest levels of the political system, and hence it can be differentiated from administrative or bureaucratic corruption. It can also be distinguished from business and private sector corruption.

Political corruption can be of two forms. The first one is which includes both accumulation and extraction and where government officials use and abuse their hold on power to extract from the private sector, from government revenues, and from the economy at large. Some of the examples of the above mentioned form of corruption are extraction, embezzlement, rent-seeking, plunder and even kleptocracy (“rule by thieves”).

The second form of political corruption is one in which extracted resources (and public money) are used for power preservation and power extension purposes. This usually takes the form of favouritism and patronage politics. It includes a favouritist and politically motivated distribution of financial and material inducements, benefits, advantages, and spoils.

In a nation as small as Belize with resources that (if used properly) are HUGE income generators, corruption literally brings a nation to it’s knees and into servitude to debtors because of Foreign Aid.

“Corruption is a barrier to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and needs to be taken into account in defining and implementing a robust post-2015 development agenda. “
– Ban Ki-moon

When you think of Political Corruption your first thought goes to Elections right? It’s not like you haven’t seen it happen where votes are bought for pennies on the dollar. In fact in the last elections it was being done right in front of the officers sent in by the US to ensure a clean elections and nothing was done right? But political corruption goes way beyond elections, it affects everyone and everything from elections to your private daily life. In political Corruption, the public interest comes second to whatever it is the system can gain from.

Corruption

Corruption is a complex social, political and economic phenomenon that affects all countries. Corruption undermines democratic institutions, slows economic development and contributes to governmental instability. Corruption attacks the foundation of democratic institutions by distorting electoral processes, perverting the rule of law and creating bureaucratic quagmires whose only reason for existing is the soliciting of bribes. Economic development is stunted because foreign direct investment is discouraged and small businesses within the country often find it impossible to overcome the “start-up costs” required because of corruption.

Social and Environmental aspects also suffer as a result of corruption; as an example, foreign aid for health care get’s used on counterfeit drugs and payment to “ghost employees”, funds are given to the wrong hands, which leads to political and governmental corruption that takes away medical attention necessary for the citizens. As for Environment, there are legislation o protect the environment but due to corrupt politicians they cannot be enforced. Look at rose wood incidents in Belize as an example, run a Google Search and read for yourself. The same goes for labor sector, how many times have you seen corrupt politicians abuse their position to either hire or fire someone in a Government position or used their position to influence a private business for the same thing?

Education is another sector that suffers at the hands of corruption. Educators work harder for the same money, schools get little to no investments to improve their infrastructure and some get no technological investments. The most recent example is the last HOR meeting with the Occupational Safety and Health Bill. Let’s look at sport for a second, politics has influenced the top positions in our National Football Federation and the actual team makeup.

Realize however that corruption as it affect our nation spans into the private sector as well, it also sits in religious organizations.

Worldwide, bribery alone is estimated to involve over 1 trillion US dollars annually and the burden of corruption falls disproportionately on the bottom billion people living in extreme poverty. ref

On 31 October 2003, the General Assembly adopted the United Nations Convention against Corruption and requested that the Secretary-General designate the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as secretariat for the Convention’s Conference of States Parties (resolution 58/4).

Audrey’s Message

Audrey Matura-Shepherd puts it straight in this short video on Anti-Corruption Day.

Who are currently Signatories?

CountrySignatureRatification, Acceptance (A), Approval (AA), Accession (a), Succession (d)
Afghanistan20 Feb 200425 Aug 2008
Albania18 Dec 200325 May 2006
Algeria9 Dec 200325 Aug 2004
Angola10 Dec 200329 Aug 2006
Antigua and Barbuda21 Jun 2006 a
Argentina10 Dec 200328 Aug 2006
Armenia19 May 20058 Mar 2007
Australia9 Dec 20037 Dec 2005
Austria10 Dec 200311 Jan 2006
Azerbaijan27 Feb 20041 Nov 2005
Bahamas10 Jan 2008 a
Bahrain8 Feb 20055 Oct 2010
Bangladesh27 Feb 2007 a
Barbados10 Dec 2003
Belarus28 Apr 200417 Feb 2005
Belgium10 Dec 200325 Sep 2008
Benin10 Dec 200314 Oct 2004
Botswana27 Jun 2011 a
Bhutan15 Sep 2005
Bolivia9 Dec 20035 Dec 2005
Bosnia and Herzegovina16 Sep 200526 Oct 2006
Brazil9 Dec 200315 Jun 2005
Brunei Darussalam11 Dec 20032 Dec 2008
Bulgaria10 Dec 200320 Sep 2006
Burkina Faso10 Dec 200310 Oct 2006
Burundi10 Mar 2006 a
Cambodia5 Sep 2007 a
Cameroon10 Dec 20036 Feb 2006
Canada21 May 20042 Oct 2007
Cape Verde9 Dec 200323 Apr 2008
Central African Republic11 Feb 20046 Oct 2006
Chile11 Dec 200313 Sep 2006
China 110 Dec 200313 Jan 2006
Colombia10 Dec 200327 Oct 2006
Comoros10 Dec 200311 Oct 2012
Congo13 Jul 2006 a
Cook Islands17 Oct 2011
Costa Rica10 Dec 200321 Mar 2007
Côte d’Ivoire10 Dec 200325 Oct 2012
Croatia10 Dec 200324 Apr 2005
Cuba9 Dec 20059 Feb 2007
Cyprus9 Dec 200323 Feb 2009
Czech Republic22 Apr 200529 Nov 2013
Democratic Republic of the Congo23 Sep 2010 a
Denmark 210 Dec 200326 Dec 2006
Djibouti17 Jun 200420 Apr 2005
Dominica28 May 2010 a
Dominican Republic10 Dec 200326 Oct 2006
Ecuador10 Dec 200315 Sep 2005
Egypt9 Dec 200325 Feb 2005
El Salvador10 Dec 20031 Jul 2004
Estonia12 Apr 2010 a
Ethiopia10 Dec 200326 Nov 2007
European Union15 Sep 200512 Nov 2008 AA
Fiji14 May 2008 a
Finland9 Dec 200320 Jun 2006 A
France9 Dec 200311 Jul 2005
Gabon10 Dec 20031 Oct 2007
Georgia4 Nov 2008 a
Germany9 Dec 2003
Ghana9 Dec 200427 Jun 2007
Greece10 Dec 200317 Sep 2008
Guatemala9 Dec 20033 Nov 2006
Guinea15 Jul 200529 May 2013
Guinea-Bissau10 Sep 2007 a
Guyana16 Apr 2008 a
Haiti10 Dec 200314 Sep 2009
Honduras17 May 200423 May 2005
Hungary10 Dec 200319 Apr 2005
Iceland1 Mar 2011 a
India9 Dec 20059 May 2011
Indonesia18 Dec 200319 Sep 2006
Iran (Islamic Republic of)9 Dec 200320 Apr 2009
Iraq17 Mar 2008 a
Ireland9 Dec 200309 Nov 2011
Israel29 Nov 20054 Feb 2009
Italy9 Dec 20035 Oct 2009
Jamaica16 Sep 20055 Mar 2008
Japan9 Dec 2003
Jordan9 Dec 200324 Feb 2005
Kazakhstan18 Jun 2008 a
Kenya9 Dec 20039 Dec 2003
Kiribati27 Sep 2013 a
Kuwait9 Dec 200316 Feb 2007
Kyrgyzstan10 Dec 200316 Sep 2005
Lao People’s Democratic Republic10 Dec 200325 Sep 2009
Latvia19 May 20054 Jan 2006
Lebanon22 Apr 2009 a
Lesotho16 Sep 200516 Sep 2005
Liberia16 Sep 2005 a
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya23 Dec 20037 Jun 2005
Liechtenstein10 Dec 20038 Jul 2010
Lithuania10 Dec 200321 Dec 2006
Luxembourg10 Dec 20036 Nov 2007
Madagascar10 Dec 200322 Sep 2004
Malawi21 Sep 20044 Dec 2007
Malaysia9 Dec 200324 Sep 2008
Maldives22 Mar 2007 a
Mali9 Dec 200318 Apr 2008
Malta12 May 200511 Apr 2008
Marshall Islands17 Nov 2011
Mauritania25 Oct 2006 a
Mauritius9 Dec 200315 Dec 2004
Mexico9 Dec 200320 Jul 2004
Micronesia (Federated States of)21 Mar 2012 a
Moldova28 Sep 20041 Oct 2007
Mongolia29 Apr 200511 Jan 2006
Montenegro 323 Oct 2006 d
Morocco9 Dec 20039 May 2007
Mozambique25 May 20049 Apr 2008
Myanmar2 Dec 200520 Dec 2012
Namibia9 Dec 20033 Aug 2004
Nauru12 Jul 2012 a
Nepal10 Dec 200331 Mar 2011
Netherlands 410 Dec 200331 Oct 2006 A
New Zealand10 Dec 2003
Nicaragua10 Dec 200315 Feb 2006
Niger11 Aug 2008 a
Nigeria9 Dec 200314 Dec 2004
Norway9 Dec 200329 Jun 2006
Pakistan9 Dec 200331 Aug 2007
Palau24 Mar 2009 a
Panama10 Dec 200323 Sep 2005
Papua New Guinea22 Dec 200416 Jul 2007
Paraguay9 Dec 20031 Jun 2005
Peru10 Dec 200316 Nov 2004
Philippines9 Dec 20038 Nov 2006
Poland10 Dec 200315 Sep 2006
Portugal11 Dec 200328 Sep 2007
Qatar1 Dec 200530 Jan 2007
Republic of Korea10 Dec 200327 Mar 2008
Romania9 Dec 20032 Nov 2004
Russian Federation9 Dec 20039 May 2006
Rwanda30 Nov 20044 Oct 2006
Saint Lucia25 Nov 2011
Sao Tome and Principe8 Dec 200512 Apr 2006
Saudi Arabia9 Jan 200429 April 2013
Senegal9 Dec 200316 Nov 2005
Serbia11 Dec 200320 Dec 2005
Seychelles27 Feb 200416 Mar 2006
Sierra Leone9 Dec 200330 Sep 2004
Singapore11 Nov 200506 Nov 2009
Slovakia9 Dec 20031 Jun 2006
Slovenia1 Apr 2008 a
Solomon Islands6 Jan 2012 a
South Africa9 Dec 200322 Nov 2004
Spain16 Sep 200519 Jun 2006
Sri Lanka15 Mar 200431 Mar 2004
Sudan14 Jan 2005
Swaziland15 Sep 200524 Sep 2012
Sweden9 Dec 200325 Sep 2007
Switzerland10 Dec 200324 Sep 2009
Syrian Arab Republic9 Dec 2003
Tajikistan25 Sep 2006 a
Thailand9 Dec 20031 Mar 2011
The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia18 Aug 200513 Apr 2007
Timor-Leste10 Dec 200327 Mar 2009
Togo10 Dec 20036 Jul 2005
Trinidad and Tobago11 Dec 200331 May 2006
Tunisia30 Mar 200423 Sep 2008
Turkey10 Dec 20039 Nov 2006
Turkmenistan28 Mar 2005 a
Uganda9 Dec 20039 Sep 2004
Ukraine11 Dec 200302 Dec 2009
United Arab Emirates10 Aug 200522 Feb 2006
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 59 Dec 20039 Feb 2006
United Republic of Tanzania9 Dec 200325 May 2005
United States of America9 Dec 200330 Oct 2006
Uruguay9 Dec 200310 Jan 2007
Uzbekistan29 Jul 2008 a
Vanuatu12 Jul 2011 a
Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)10 Dec 20032 Feb 2009
Viet Nam10 Dec 200319 Aug 2009
Yemen11 Dec 20037 Nov 2005
Zambia11 Dec 20037 Dec 2007
Zimbabwe20 Feb 20048 Mar 2007

Corruption perception index 2012

 

We can turn away from involvement with how we’re governed. Then political corruption continues unchecked. Ignoring the issue DOES NOT make it go away.

So what’s the solution?

This is not an easy question to answer, nor is it a simple one point solution, magic does not work here. It has taken generations for corruption to get to this point in Belize and it will take many more generations for it to be fixed.  In the upcoming months we will be tackling points of corruption, potential causes and potential solutions; you can make your own conclusions from there. Ultimately, it all depends on YOU the citizens not any person or any group. No one can make change if you will not make it for yourselves and it starts with education. So, join us as we journey through this issue and the possible solutions that can bring us back on track.

Things we will be touching on are:

  • Types of Corruption
  • Conditions for Corruption
  • Private Sector Influence
  • Religious Influence
  • The Judiciary and the Constitution
  • Whistle Blowers
  • What can YOU do?

Ripe for REFORM

It is in out mind that our nation and it’s system is ripe for reform, the problem is who will lead the cause, how do we ensure that we do not end up right where we started? There is a HUGE list of grievances that needs o be covered. While International fronts are being setup to address Corruption it is not enough, citizens must do their part to ensure that change really happens and not just momentary changes but long lasting changes. While the movement may seem daunting it can be done. We start with Education and Unification. We need to call on our politicians and public officials to be accountable for their actions. How can we trust them if we don’t know what they’re doing? If state resources are abused, we must report it and if regulations to prevent corruption aren’t in place, we must demand them.

Currently, there are two main fronts in this fight:

  1. Efforts to amend the Constitution
  2. To enact legislation.

By speaking out, we can show that everyone gains from honest elections and open decision-making. Even politicians.

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