Our Esteemed brother Paco Smith wrote up a great research paper on the inaccuracies of what is being sold as the greatest threat to Belize as a nation and people, meaning that our largest threat is not an external boogey man but rather a more familiar one, the real boogey man being our own governance and those that work together with them in the shadows.
Shared with full consent from Paco Smith
Threats to Belize’s security are often conceptualised and cast as emanating from external elements. Indeed, with the looming existential threat of Guatemala and its unfounded claim to our sovereign territory, on the surface the aforementioned is par for the course. Yet, when considering the realities associated with the many challenges to Belize’s wellbeing, an entirely different and plausible argument can be put forth. This paper advances the viewpoint that Belize’s greatest security threat, in actuality, stems from internal concerns deriving from the “Enemy from Within”; that being the employ of selective governance practises that essentially set the stage for systemic and endemic corruption which spans political lines. This unfortunate, yet persistent perversion of good governance is characteristic of precisely how Belize continues to be administered. Hence this fundamental, qualitative, analytical research shall employ exploratory methods to explore the extent to which the negative impact of such intentional dysfunction transcend a range of areas critical to Belize’s overall interests including yet not limited to: National and Citizen Security, Diplomacy and Sovereignty, the Economy and a myriad of inputs encompassing Sustainable Development. In addition, it delves into how this reality has manifest into the bipartisan decision to sign the Special Agreement/Compromis in 2008 and the subsequent push for a “yes” vote on the impending Referendum, despite the inherent risks of such efforts.
Presented at the
2nd Belize National Research Conference
3rd April 2019
Under the theme:
Belize’s Security: Strengths, Opportunities and Threats
Jaguar Auditorium University of Belize
Frank Edward Paco Smith, Jr. (JP) – BA, MBA, MSc, MPM
Public Sector Management Programme
Faculty of Management & Social Sciences
University of Belize Belize City
LIST OF TABLES
TABLE 1 – Underlying Sources of the Worldwide Governance Indicators
TABLE 2 – Belize vs Sweden – Control of Corruption 2017
LIST OF CHART
CHART 1 – Belize – Control of Corruption 2017
CHART 2 – Latin America & the Caribbean vs Belize – Control of Corruption 2017
CHART 3 – Belize vs Sweden – Control of Corruption 2017
CHART 4 – Latin America & the Caribbean/Belize/Sweden – Control of Corruption 2017
LIST OF FIGURES
FIGURE 1 – Policy Ethics, and the Ethics and Integrity of Governance
FIGURE 2 – Quality of Governance Criteria
FIGURE 3 – A Chronology of Political Corruption in Belize
LIST OF ACRONYMS
|BPM||Belize PEACE Movement|
|BPP||Belize Progressive Party|
|GOB||Government of Belize|
|NICH||National Institute of Culture and History|
|OAS||Organisation of American States|
|PUP||People’s United Party|
|UDP||United Democratic Party|
|UNDP||United Nations Development Programme|
|WBI||World Bank Indicators|
|WGI||Worldwide Governance Indicators|
In contemplating the topic “Belize’s Security: Strengths, Opportunities and Threats”, there is an inherent and almost expected response to apply an outward-looking perspective to the subject matter. This research seeks to challenge such reflexive association by affecting a different paradigm; one which: acknowledges, identifies and establishes the salience justified by the little appreciated reality concerning selective governance practises employed by elected policymakers and the accompanying threats such actions pose to Belize’s security. In effect this paper seeks to advance the viewpoint that Belize’s greatest security threat, could conceivably arise from internal concerns brought on via the “Enemy from Within”, which involve the employ of selective governance practises that essentially create an environment ripe for systemic and endemic corruption that span political lines.
This unfortunate, yet persistent perversion of good governance is characteristic of precisely how Belize continues to be administered. Hence this undertaking demonstrates the extent to which the negative impact of such intentional dysfunction transcends a range of areas critical to Belize’s overall security interests including yet not limited to: National and Citizen Security, Diplomacy and Sovereignty, the Economy and a myriad of inputs encompassing Sustainable Development.
In so doing, six (6) selected incidences of selective governance practises perpetrated by elected policymakers are introduced, which include: (1) Ongoing Scandals at the Lands Department, (2) the Unconstitutional Granting of Belizean Citizenship to Guatemalan Nationals, (3) the Universal Health Services (UHS) Scandal, (4) the 2008 Signing of the OAS Sponsored Special Agreement/Compromis, (5) the Nationalisation Of Belize Telecommunications Ltd, and (6) the Most Recent Passport,Visa And Nationality Scandals. Of the aforementioned, particular attention is focussed on the initially bipartisan decision to sign the Special Agreement/Compromis in 2008 and the unconscionable and unethical push by the Government of Belize (GOB) to obtain a “yes” vote by any means deemed necessary, in the impending Referendum, scheduled for 10th April 2019; despite the inherent risks to the security of Belize which accompany such an endeavour.
This undertaking begins with identifying definitions of key words, central to this study. These include: security, threat, governance, good governance and corruption. With that established, the underlying construct involving corruption is analysed by way of: its dimensions, the application of political theories and an attempt to glean empirical data relevant to Belize via Transparency International (TI)’s Corruption Perceptions Index. In order to remain aligned with the theme of the conference, the effort seeks to contextualise matters by exploring that which is incorporated under the heading of national security. This is buttressed by examining good governance in the Caribbean region regarding integrity and corruption, alongside additional inputs which influence the policymaking structure.
Next, the essentials ascribed to good governance are noted and subsequently imparted alongside the ever-looming element of political corruption. Hence, three approaches concerning corruption are presented, with the most applicable being investigated via the Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) Project (2018). This is premised on selecting from among six (6) of the governance dimensions applied to Belize, with the Control of Corruption being chosen, due to its relative applicability to the task at hand. In furtherance of the determination to frame corruption within the appropriate context, the assessment emphasised a chronology of corruption in Belize and its corresponding stages.
This enquiry proceeds to identify and present six (6) selected instances of selective governance practises by elected policymakers beginning from the year Belize became independent to 2018; all of which hold unmistakable consequences for Belize’s security. The expanse of these impacts is broad and run the gamut of several of the subject areas prescribed for the conference which include: the Economy, National and Citizen Security, Sustainable Development, Sovereignty and Diplomacy. Hence the identification of the aforementioned instances concerning: (1) Ongoing Scandals at the Lands Department, (2) the Unconstitutional Granting of Belizean Citizenship to Guatemalan Nationals, (3) the Universal Health Services (UHS) Scandal, (4) the 2008 Signing of the OAS Sponsored Special Agreement/Compromis, (5) the Nationalisation Of Belize Telecommunications Ltd, and (6) the Most Recent Passport, Visa And Nationality Scandals.
Each of the aforesaid are presented with a view toward accentuating their relevant effect on Belize’s security. Meanwhile the Signing of the OAS Sponsored Special Agreement/Compromis takes centre stage due not only to its topical status, but also as a result of the flagrant manner in which it violates the fundamental precepts of good governance practises and principles. In addition, its principal potential to further imperil Belize’s security on a variety of levels, cannot be overstated. Thus, via the effort to further explore this policy decision and its far-reaching impacts, the analysis acknowledges the appropriate role to be embraced by the state, via the concept of the Participatory State and its accordant techniques, as well as providing insights into the proper function of diplomacy. This ultimately serves to frame the extremely disconcerting folly of the GOB’s entering into such an inequitable Special Agreement, which in turn, sets the table for Belize’s proverbial flank being left wide-open for a breach of security that is to-date unprecedented. The resulting outcome of such decision taken by the GOB is manifest in the current, legal quandary that is afoot, which shall inevitably determine whether and if so, when, the scheduled Referendum concerning Guatemala’s claim to sovereign Belizean territory will be taken to the International Court of Justice.
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Threats to Belize’s security are often conceptualised and cast as emanating from external sources. The ever-looming threat posed by Guatemala via its claim to sovereign Belizean territory supports such notion. Yet, in considering the myriad of concerns that challenge Belize’s wellbeing, an entirely different and plausible argument can be put forth. This paper seeks to analyse whether selective governance practises by policymakers can amount to the most significant security threat to Belize. In so doing, six (6) incidences are identified and assessed in such regard, by way of giving credence to: What measures (if any) were taken to address each matter? Whether such actions were appropriate; the resulting outcome; and current status. Thus yielding an assessment of the resultant impacts that influence Belize’s state of security.
In conducting this research, an array of resources are consulted. As a result, a wide expanse of approaches and perspectives are represented. With this in mind the initial effort involves identifying clear definitions of key, foundation words beginning with security and threat, both of which are derived from the Online Oxford Dictionary. Next, the World Bank (1994) and Michael Johnston (2001) is cited concerning topic-specific words – governance and good governance.
Insights concerning the construct relating to corruption is unearthed by way of reviewing the Transparency International (TI) website. In addition, the work of D. Marbaniang (2013) is sourced, which lends a perspective concerning the dimensions of corruption, that include its: moral, social and economic aspects, in addition to accountability. Further reference is garnered from this source and yields reference to a Corruption Equation (C=R+D-A), credited to the original works of Robert Kiltgaard (1998), as well as U. Mynt (2000). Finally Marbaniang’s work also provides guidance in applying an Ideological Approach to the overall topic, thus yielding an analysis involving the political theories of: Absolute Ideals/Justice, Common Interests, Natural/Rational Rights, Utility, Community and Natural Law.
Given the theme of the conference, “Belize’s Security: Strengths, Opportunities and Threats” a clear understanding of what national security encompasses is essential. Therefore, an opus by Artur Victoria, bearing the same description, is utilised. This yields an expository explanation of the meaning, as well as the scope of the subject matter. Thus providing appropriate context on which to premise this undertaking.
In keeping with the overall concept under scrutiny, it is essential to identify and explain the relevance of ethics and integrity. The work of Huberts (2009) is useful in fulfilling this effort, as well as their connection to: morals, values and norms within the context of the policy apparatus (Figure 1).
With respect to expanding the discussion concerning good governance and in particular its essentials which include: Legitimacy, Transparency, Accountability, Rule of Law, Responsiveness and Effectiveness, Yu Keping (2017)’s contribution is employed. This leads to illumination regarding the significance ascribed to the need for checks and balances in and among government, which involves horizontal accountability. (Figure 2)
Key to an appropriate enquiry involves elaboration on the term, political corruption. In acknowledgment of this, Amundsen (1997) provides guidance concerning the dynamic shared with accountability, as well as justice. This concept is further developed through acknowledgement of the notion espoused by renowned Caribbean Sociologist, Professor Selwyn Ryan (2000), in which he puts forth the notion that, “We Are All Corrupt”.
Influenced by that concept, Empirical, Hermeneutical, and Ideological approaches concerning corruption, are introduced. With acknowledgement of the Empirical Approach being the best suited for this undertaking, in addition to consulting Transparency International (TI), the Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) Project (2018) is also reviewed. Despite Belize not being assessed via TI, the latter resource, the WGI Project, provides an evaluation which utilises six (6) dimensions of governance including: Voice and Accountability (VA), Political Stability and Absence of Violence/Terrorism (PV), Government Effectiveness (GE), Regulatory Quality (RQ), Rule of Law (RL), and Control of Corruption (CC). Among them CC is deemed most appropriate for the purposes of this effort. (Charts 1, 2, 3, 4 and Table 2)
In order to bring the component elements into focus, as it relates to the specific topic at hand, that being Governance in Belize Vis-à-vis Corruption, the pronouncement of Rogers (2015) in his explanation of the six (6) stages of corruption which include: Pride, Arrogance, Insensitivity, Dominance and Tyranny, along with an adjoining timeline, is cited. (Figure 3).
In keeping with the foundation set by the component elements, this effort identifies six (6) examples of selective governance practises carried out by successive administrations during the period 1981 thru 2018. Each involves areas important to Belize’s interests, which involve: the Economy, National and Citizen Security, Sustainable Development, Sovereignty and Diplomacy. Specifically, these include: Ongoing Scandals at the Lands Department, the Unconstitutional Granting of Belizean Citizenship to Guatemalan Nationals, the Universal Health Services (UHS) Scandal, the 2008 Signing of the OAS Sponsored Special Agreement/Compromis, the Nationalisation of Belize Telecommunications Ltd, and the Most Recent Passport, Visa and Nationality Scandals. (Appendix A).
Despite the unique characteristics attributed to each, the pre-eminence of the political/policy-making component of the GOB’s range of authority and how each of their individual occurrences represents a threat to Belize’s security is the common denominator. Therefore the primary areas of concern include: (1) Sustainable Development, (2) National and Citizen Security/Sovereignty, (3) the Economy, (4) Diplomacy and Sovereignty, (5) the Economy and (6) National and Citizen Security, respectively. Among them, the 2008 Signing of the OAS Sponsored Special Agreement/Compromis holds considerable significance as it relates to Belize’s security and is thus highlighted. In bringing forth such investigation several online resources were utilised and are included via hyperlink. These include: the English Oxford Living Dictionaries, Amandala, Belize Breaking News, NBZLive, Channel 5 Belize, Love FM, San Pedro Sun, Belize Law, 7 News Belize, Guardian Belize, Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs and the Reporter Press.
Resources accessed toward providing the required context and clarity ascribed to the 2008 Signing of the OAS Sponsored Special Agreement/Compromis are drawn from the OAS Special Agreement Peace Fund. In addition, Vyas-Doorgapersad (2017) provides insights concerning the construct referred to as the Participatory State, in which various techniques such as referenda are part and parcel. Perceptions regarding the appropriate use of diplomacy is incorporated via Freeman (2018), which aids in crystallising the flawed manner in which the GOB embarked upon its diplomatic mission, by grossly failing to reduce risk, in seeking a solution concerning Guatemala’s claim to sovereign Belizean territory. In effect the product of the 2008 Special Agreement, that being the impending Referendum scheduled for 10th April 2019 and most significantly, whether and if so, when, it shall take place, becomes a focal point. This is due to the decision of 3rd April 2019, by Belize’s Chief Justice, to issue an injunction. Inevitably, the GOB shall appeal, thus furthering the current, legal row.
This fundamentally, qualitative, analytical research shall employ exploratory methods involving a number of resources, utilising both archival and secondary sources including: conference papers, articles, book chapters and legal documents.
In analysing the theme of this year’s research conference, “Belize’s Security: Strengths, Opportunities and Threats”, the immediate observation evoked by the social scientist in me, discerns that in terms of conducting such an undertaking, from a traditional standpoint of a SWOT Analysis, the element attributed to “weaknesses”, as denoted by the “W”, is inconspicuously missing. Nevertheless, I can assure that by way of this effort to introduce and highlight, “The Enemy Within”, the existent weaknesses in our nation’s security, particularly with respect to maters of governance, shall be elucidated.
Security, as defined by the English Oxford Living Dictionary, is denoted as “The state of being free from danger or threat”. Yet, more specifically, in line with the context of this conference, the definition which states, “The safety of a state or organisation against criminal activity such as terrorism, theft or espionage” is all the more appropriate and to buttress this notion, the description is further elaborated upon, to include, “Procedures followed or measures taken to ensure the security of a state or organisation”. With this clearly defined, let us now come to terms with what is meant by the word – threat. In accordance with the aforementioned resource, two appropriate meanings emerge. These include (1) “A person or thing likely to cause damage or danger” and (2) “The possibility of trouble, danger or ruin”.
Key to this discourse is the element of good governance. According to the World Bank (1994), it is “epitomized by predictable, open and enlightened policymaking; a bureaucracy imbued with a professional ethos; and executive arm of government accountable for its actions; and a strong civil society participating in public affairs; all behaving under the rule of law”. A further explanation of this all-important topic as expressed by Michael Johnston (2002) extols, “Good governance involves far more than the power of the state or the strength of political will. The rule of law, transparency, and accountability are not merely technical questions of administrative procedure or institutional design. They are outcomes of democratizing processes driven not only by committed leadership, but also by the participation of, and contention among, groups and interests in society—processes that are most effective when sustained and restrained by legitimate, effective institutions.” Hence, given Belize’s less-than-laudable state of affairs in this regard, the affixing of the phrase, ‘the lack thereof’ is most apropos, as this concept undergirds the entire fabric from which Belize’s: social, economic, political, domestic and foreign policy apparatuses are derived. Needless to say, once the foundation upon which our systems of governance are suspect, it raises legitimate concerns, as to the overall security of the state.
This, in turn, lends credence to not only the existence, but also the salience of selective governance practises which create the environment for systemic and endemic corruption that knows no boundaries concerning political lines and particularly in the public sector. This all-important element, as defined by the globally recognised entity that is considered the watchdog of corruption, Transparency International, denotes it as, “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. Corruption can be classified as grand, petty and political, depending on the amounts of money lost and the sector where it occurs.” Of the aforementioned, the first and third are most germane to this research, as grand corruption is regarded as acts which are perpetrated at the highest levels of government, which serve to alter policies and/or the central functioning of the state, thus enabling leaders to benefit at the expense of the public good. Similarly, political corruption involves a misapplication of policies, institutions and rules of procedure in the distribution of resources and financing via political decision makers who wrongfully use their post to illegally sustain their power, status and wealth.
Additionally, as Marbaniang, D. (2013) highlights, “There are those who attempt to justify corruption on empirical and pragmatic bases, some going to the extent of even saying that corruption functions as the grease of economic growth. Recent empirical findings, however, point in a different direction: corruption is not seen as grease but as sand on the wheels of growth.” Hence, it is from this backdrop of what I deem to be indicative of intentional dysfunction, perpetrated by successive GOB administrations, via the employ of selective governance practises, this analysis shall reveal the resulting, negative impacts of such, across an array of sectors and how they are manifest as Belize’s greatest security threat.
This unfortunate, yet persistent perversion of good governance is characteristic of precisely how Belize continues to be administered and I dare say, that seemingly very little prospects, nor intentions have been demonstrated toward instituting meaningful change, from among those who have exercised power and authority at one point or another over the past thirtyseven (37) plus years of independence. Beyond the signing of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) in December 2016, very little tangible developments have surfaced either in terms of proactive actions under the convention, or steps which presumably are being taken toward its fulfilment.
Hence this research is an attempt to identify, examine and highlight the extent to which the negative impact of such dysfunction transcends a range of areas critical to Belize’s overall interests including yet not limited to: National and Citizen Security, Diplomacy and Sovereignty, the Economy and a myriad of inputs encompassing Sustainable Development.
Given the theme of this research conference, it was imperative to clearly define that which comprises “security”. Yet, that in and of itself does not afford due acknowledgement concerning the scope of this event. Therefore, it is imperative to establish an equivalent understanding regarding the term, “national security”, as it entails a more specified area of concentration. According to Artur Victoria, “For national security, it is understood here as a relative condition of collective and individual protection of the members of a society against threats to their survival and autonomy. In this sense, the term refers to a vital dimension of individual and collective existence in the modern context of complex societies bounded by territorially-based national states. To the extent that being secure in this context means living in a state that is reasonably capable of neutralizing vital threats through negotiation, obtaining information on capabilities and intentions, through the use of extraordinary measures and the range of options related to the use of force.” Nonetheless, the dual face of such threats, both internal and external, implies an inherent degree of complementarity and integration between the entire scope of government’s purview, especially in the areas concerning: foreign policy, defence and public order. With the establishment of this key element, due care and attention must best focused on further explaining that which is the foundation attributed to this effort – good governance.
Governance and its “good” administration resounds as the focal point of this analysis, for without its advent, acceptance, proliferation and a firm commitment to its promulgation, beginning at the highest levels of government, the futility and subsequent failure of any effort towards maintaining a secure environment for the nation, should become increasingly evident. Committed leadership is essential to good governance. Therefore, in keeping with this recognition, central to this concept, is the significance attributed to “ethics” and “integrity”. Huberts (2009) defines ethics as the following “(1) synonymous with morals and (2) the systematic reflection of morality”; with morals denoted as being the collection of values and norms which provide a framework for judging and acting, concerning that which is considered right or wrong, good or bad. He contends that integrity, is “a characteristic or quality that refers to accordance with the relevant moral values and norms”. In seeking to delineate between the two, it notes that “integrity” corresponds with actual behaviour, meanwhile “ethics” equates to the basics of policy. Bearing this in mind, it is important to conceptualise their shared dynamic. Therefore, contextually speaking, the realm of Public Ethics and Integrity is derived from two, core components which include (1) Policy Ethics that involve: policy decisions, outputs, outcomes and what is decided versus (2) the Integrity of Governance comprising: policy process, action and behaviour. Huberts (2009) further clarifies this arrangement by explaining, “However, when we discuss ‘integrity’, the focus is not on policy content (output and outcome) but on the process of government or governance leading to a policy.” (Figure 1) This is instructive when analysing such elements with respect to the Belizean context, for it casts considerable light on issues of governance or what some may consider, the lack thereof.
Therefore, in keeping with this acknowledgement, it is imperative that any endeavour which involves this salient point, commences with shining light on what can be referred to as the essentials of good governance. According to Yu Keping (2017), via his exploration of governance and good governance within the context of that of a new framework for political analysis, among the various perspectives concerning the latter, the aforementioned ‘essentials’ are identified as: Legitimacy, Transparency, Accountability, Rule of Law, Responsiveness and Effectiveness. He surmises this dynamic by stating, “Good governance is the active and productive cooperation between the State and citizens, and the key to its success lies in the powers participating in political administration’. This acknowledgement is further buttressed by Michael Johnston via his view concerning the elements required to improve governance, which identifies three indispensable dimensions. These include: (1) the Rule of Law, (2) Transparency and (3) Accountability. In so doing, he states, “The Rule of Law, Accountability, and Transparency are technical and legal issues at some levels, but also interactive to produce government that is legitimate, effective, and widely supported by citizens, as well as a civil society that is strong, open, and capable of playing a positive role in politics and government.” These concepts are undergirded by several goals of which include both vertical, as well as, horizontal accountability among leaders and amid segments of government. Among a number of key challenges is the acknowledgement of the need to strengthen checks and balances, both administrative and political, which is fundamental to the entire concept of good governance.
The Rule of Law is the bedrock of any governance apparatus and involves the exercise of state power using, and guided by, published written standards that embody widely- supported social values, avoid particularism, and enjoy broad-based public support.
Transparency, which is yet another essential component, is characterised as official business conducted in such a way that substantive and procedural information is available to, and broadly understandable by, people and groups in society, subject to reasonable limits protecting security and privacy. Accountability, the third of these values is attributed to procedures requiring officials and those who seek to influence them to follow established rules defining acceptable processes and outcomes, and to demonstrate that those procedures are being adhered to. Of considerable importance is Johnston’s acknowledgement that “Upholding these values requires a delicate but durable balance between self-interest and cooperation: citizens and officials must see good governance not only as an ideal, but also as improving their own lives.”
Given the theme of this analysis, the importance regarding Accountability cannot be understated, particularly, as it relates to those who have been vested with the responsibility of ensuring the security of the nation. In such regard, the concept of accountability is two- fold. Within the scope of achieving goals for governance, it is imperative that vertical accountability is achieved among representatives/decision-makers. This is characterised by way of ensuring that government is answerable to citizens, such that the activities and actions of the political decision-makers remain circumspect. Likewise, across the component parts of government, accountability must be championed in a horizontal fashion. This is manifest by way of guaranteeing: access to information, the right to be consulted and very importantly the power to check excesses and abuses.
Within this construct, the advent of participation and institutions function to guide the requisite actions. Participation involves the effort to build a social foundation toward good governance. This inevitably requires: honest, recurrent, inclusive elections; heightened consultative processes, enhanced transparency mechanisms and citizen use of information. Hence, the significance of these elements is unmistakable, yet of equal (if not greater importance), is their proactive, consistent and progressive application by way of a sound commitment from all principles, involved in the bureaucracy, in particular those who comprise the political directorate. Concerning institutions, the building of governance capacity horizontally is achieved via: political checks and balances, an independent and honest judiciary and clarity in the area of policy implementation and results.
Within the concept of engendering, developing, maintaining and continually improving the security of a modern nation-state, good governance is undoubtedly indispensable. In today’s world the myriad of looming threats, cannot be ignored, as they run the gamut. With increases in technology, threats have taken new, previously unimaginable forms. Yet, in keeping with the theme of this analysis due attention must be focused on those which emanate from within the confines of Belize’s borders, thus giving credence to the significance of the dire need for good governance practises and principles to become the norm, as opposed to the exception. This is instructive due to the dynamic of the public sector, in which elected officials/policymakers set the tone, meanwhile public service administrators carry out the instructions of the political directorate. Not to be forgotten, is the necessary oversight and action necessitated of civil society, so as to further buttress an environment committed to good governance. Failing the active involvement of this sector, the question which espouses, “Who shall check the policymakers?”; becomes all the more significant.
As a result, central to this ambition is the key challenge of strengthening both political, as well as administrative checks and balances. According to Yu Keping (2017), “While a measure of coordination among segments of government is essential, it is only part of the picture. Government must also be able to check its own excesses. The judiciary is essential to interpreting and enforcing new laws and standards, and if it is not independent of the government of the day it will be ineffective.” Other important components in this regard include: an Ombudsman system, a free and competitive press and a strong civil society. Hence the importance of horizontal accountability involving institutions. Overall, this ties into an emphasis on the principles and standards of combined values toward identifying the quality of governance criteria. These include: democracy, lawfulness, effectiveness and integrity, all of which are centred on public servants and politicians, with an emphasis on the latter, given their distinction of being decision and policymakers. (Figure 2) It is here, the level of responsibility and accountability imbued in their mandate must be emphasised, due to the ever-pervasive reality of temptation (or in some instances, inherent motivation) that can conceivably lead to instances of: dishonesty, exploitation, fraud and bribery; all of which serve to erode not only the system of governance, but also its value, with implications for the larger society.
Corruption – Moral and Economic Roots
Anyone who is even remotely attuned to the current socio-economic and political state of affairs in Belize, and is committed to being honest, will not deny that corruption exists, I dare say they should also be hard pressed to refute its characterisation as being rampant, across the board. To buttress the previously cited definition of corruption, it is considered the bane of Belize’s sustainable development, from which no level of government is immune.
In keeping with this perspective, the acknowledged salience pertaining to the economic and moral roots of corruption is warranted. According to Marbaniang, D. (2013), “Corruption is a moral problem that has social and economic dimensions. Aristotle had already made that qualification when he announced to the world in his Politics that ethics and politics go hand in hand. His teacher, Plato, had in fact constructed the ideal Republic only to understand the meaning of justice in the ethical human individual.” Within this approach issues concerning accountability and justice are germane.
Yet another noteworthy contribution comes from the work of Burmese Economist, U. Mynt (2000), which in keeping with the work of Robert Kiltgaard (1998) predicts corruption via a proposed equation by accounting for the following variables: Corruption (C), Economic Rent or Monopoly Profit (R), Discretionary Powers (D) and Accountability (A). In this regard, it is posited that corruption is the result of economic and political opportunity minus accountability (C=R+D-A). Thus, in his paper, Roots of Corruption: A Christian Philosophical Examination, Marbaniang (2014) posits, “In Mynt’s own words ‘The equation states that the more opportunities for economic rent (R) (to) exist in a country, the larger will be the corruption. Similarly, the greater the discretionary powers (D) granted to administrators, the greater will be the corruption. However, the more administrators are held accountable (A) for their actions, the less will be the corruption, and hence a minus sign in front of A’.” It is due to the form of governance structures employed in Belize, whereby despite potentially having some of the most robust and clearly defined laws, given the existence of “ministerial discretion”, which fundamentally trumps all, the inputs of discretionary powers (D) and the notion of being held accountable (A), must be specifically and duly applied to policy-makers as well. Failing to do so, serves only to facilitate what is quite possibly one of the most profound inhibitors to good governance practises and principles becoming part and parcel of government’s daily functions.
With this, the salience attributed to accountability looms large and is demonstrated through Marbaniang’s assertion that, “Real accountability must have a subjective dimension of moral commitment, or else the stringent rules to ensure accountability will only keep piling up and accomplish nothing”. As the record shows by and large, Belize’s politicians have demonstrated a deficiency in having, let alone, exercising of a moral compass in the all- important need to separate private interests from that of the public domain. Corruption, deriving from selective governance practises, unmistakably involves the misallocation of resources whereby, from an economic standpoint, the objective should be to achieve maximum efficiency. According to Amundsen (1997) the dilemma of political corruption and power-abuse is that accountability will have to be instituted by sufficiently strong countervailing powers. This can be inexorably linked to the notion of seeking justice.
Therefore the quest to achieve economic justice within the political realm, is subject to the ethical challenge of corruption, which requires the morally answerable allocation of scarce resources. When this is not achieved, good governance is abrogated and the consequent, negative effects are manifest throughout and thus resulting in the ever-increasing, multi-tiered threat to Belize’s security.
Theories of Corruption
Via his seminal work titled, “We Are All Corrupt”, renowned Caribbean Sociologist Professor Selwyn Ryan, provides a unique perspective concerning Caribbean governance. Thus, in keeping with a view toward obtaining deeper insights, further analysis of this topic lends to the necessity to consider applicable theories of corruption. Those under consideration for this research include: Empirical, Hermeneutical, and Ideological approaches. Theories derived from a hermeneutical perspective depend upon methodological principles of interpretation; such as those attributed to the Holy Bible and its prescripts. This involves analysis based on an interpretation of authoritative statements that have claims of ‘revelatory” or ‘ocular’ status.”
Empirical theories are objective, systematic observations that are verifiable via prescribed methods, leading to results. This, of course, is a staple in the field of social sciences and is thus applied across a range of relevant disciplines and incorporated into political theory, toward the goal of extrapolating various elements of corruption so as to: monitor, predict, gage and reduce its presence. Such an approach is effective in yielding observations that can be interpreted in terms of economics, as well as geography, via the art of mapping.
Based on the suitability of that approach, attempts to uncover credible data involving corruption in Belize were undertaken. In so doing, several sources were consulted, including Transparency International (TI)’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), whose “…flagship research product, has become the leading global indicator of public sector corruption. The index offers an annual snapshot of the relative degree of corruption by ranking countries and territories from all over the globe. The 2018 CPI draws on 13 surveys and expert assessments to measure public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories, giving each a score from zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean)”. Unfortunately, no such information exists for Belize in that publication. That, in and of itself, is instructive as to the national state of affairs, particularly given that inclusion in the aforementioned, requires government consent. Therefore, since the Government of Belize (GOB) opted not to take part in such necessary efforts, it inevitably places the nation in a select group of countries which, from within a governance perspective, does not bode well. So as to place this in the appropriate context, of the one-hundred ninety-five (195) countries acknowledged by the United Nations (UN), Belize is not among the one hundred-eighty (180) nations that agreed to be assessed via TI’s Corruption Perceptions Index. Unfortunately, this phenomenon is by no means new, as is explained in an article contributed to the Amandala newspaper dated 20th January 2018, in which it is noted “the last time Belize was rated by Transparency International, was over a decade ago, in 2008”. This inevitably speaks volumes as to the GOB’s appreciation for and attitude toward this global standard through which a majority of nations seek to address the plague of corruption.
Pursuant to this, another resource was surveyed – the Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) Project, via its WB Governance and Anti-Corruption Country Diagnosis. The underlying data sources from which the Worldwide Governance Indicators are derived include the views and experiences of survey respondents and experts in the public and private sectors, as well as various NGOs. Specifically, it utilises four types of source data including: Surveys of households and firms, Commercial business information providers, non-governmental organisations and public sector organisations. Table 1 lists the data sources used in the 2018 update of Worldwide Governance Indicators. Of note, the WB Governance and Anti-Corruption Country Diagnosis uses subjective measures to determine six (6) dimensions of governance including: Voice and Accountability (VA), Political Stability and Absence of Violence/Terrorism (PV), Government Effectiveness (GE), Regulatory Quality (RQ), Rule of Law (RL), and Control of Corruption (CC). The composite measures are most useful as a first tool for broad, cross-country comparisons and for evaluating broad trends over time. Although this researched did not focus on such analysis, the information nonetheless proved instructive to obtain measurable-empirical governance data concerning Belize, so as to gage some semblance as to how the quality of governance is perceived.
Bearing in mind that governance involves the capacity of the government to effectively formulate and implement sound policies, in keeping with the focus of this effort, of the six (6) aforementioned dimensions, two (2) are noteworthy, with one being deemed most appropriate. Whereas the Rule of Law (RL) “captures perceptions of the extent to which agents have confidence in and abide by the rules of society, and in particular the quality of contract enforcement, property rights, the police, and the courts, as well as the likelihood of crime and violence”, the dimension pertaining to Control of Corruption (CC), on the other hand, holds greater significance as it “captures perceptions of the extent to which public power is exercised for private gain, including both petty and grand forms of corruption, as well as “capture” of the state by elites and private interests”.
Based on the requisite data, it shows that Belize ranks in the 46th Percentile (Chart 1), which is not a satisfactory mark, given that higher values indicate healthier governance ratings. This is highlighted by way of Belize’s comparison to the Latin America & Caribbean region, which demonstrates a considerably higher ranking in the 53rd Percentile (Chart 2). Yet the grossly inadequate status of Belize, concerning this crucial indicator is further emphasised when compared to Sweden, which is perennially among the highest ranking nations and during the most recent reporting period, earned a mark in the 98th Percentile. (Chart 3). It is useful to note that comparatively speaking, the number of sources upon which the comparison was based differed, with Sweden being assessed via ten sources, thus resulting in a Governance Score of 2.14. Belize was judged by way of only four sources and garnered a score of -0.27 (Table 2). Hence a clear indication that at least, by virtue of the criteria upon which these indicators was derived, Belize has much work to do in this dimension. This unimpressive reality is ultimately established when comparing Belize, alongside Sweden and the Latin America & Caribbean Region in such regard (Chart 4). Other noteworthy data can be gleaned via Appendices B – G.
Given the constraints regarding empirical data, an ideological approach was employed which, unlike Empirical theories, yet somewhat akin to that of Hermeneutical theories, bears an association to normative political theory, where it serves as a catalyst. According to Marbaniang (2013), “At the heart of political revolutions is always some motivating ideology that defines the nature, form, direction, and extent of that particular revolution. Ideologies provide the framework with reference to which aspirations, achievements, and the thrust and nature of revolution can be measured.” In keeping with this acknowledgement, the political theories of: Absolute Ideals/Justice, Common Interests, Natural/Rational Rights, Utility and Community are applicable. The first, Absolute Ideals/Justice, is ascribed to Plato and proves overly idealistic due to the manner in which the possession of private property by the guardians is not allowed and relies heavily on a stratified order of leadership. Failing its proper configuration, corruption and injustice shall ensue. Common Interests is the political theory most associated with Aristotle in which, the defining concept of interests plays a considerable role. For him there are three types of government, which involve: royalty, aristocracy and constitutional government. Similarly their respective perversions are: tyranny, oligarchy and democracy. Thus none sufficiently serve the role of meeting the public interest and therefore, fall short of fulfilling the common goal of all.
He further portends that “Corruption and corrupt government go together. In a democracy, many have the opportunity to be corrupt.” Martin Luther, John Locke and Adam Smith are the seminal thinkers with regard to Natural/Rational Rights which essentially encompass: freedom of religion, capitalistic economies and politics. Its derivative, Natural Law, is based on reason and is universally applicable, within which are the three natural rights to: life, liberty and estate. It surmises that a state in which citizens’ rights are protected, is regarded as a healthy state, complete with: justice, liberty, equality and fraternity. In contrast, when those in positions of authority exploit the people, by way of rent-seeking activities, it is indicative of a corrupt society. Utility, by way of a rise in empiricism, signalled a shift in philosophy, away from rational absolutes. This impacted the prevailing perspective of truth, in which utilitarianism eventually shaped the use of law, to which Jeremy Bentham is closely associated. Community, being the last among them, is synonymous with Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. It is steeped in the abolishment of the separation between public and private elements. Additionally, it views class division as inherently evil. Thus the emphasis on collectiveness in and among the population is central.
Governance in Belize vis-à-vis Corruption
The sad reality concerning the state of governance in Belize, is that corruption in the political sphere is the norm, as opposed to the exception. In light of the constraints regarding a lack of empirical data, in addition to the general congruity shared with the underlying concept of hermeneutical theories, this analysis identified instances of selective governance practises, essentially the enactment of and/or facilitation of what has proven to be less-than-above-board actions, perpetrated by policymakers during the period spanning 1981 – 2018. Those activities clearly are not in-line with the concept of good governance practises and principles and span the entire gamut of government’s purview. In keeping with this acknowledgement, it is instructive to note that in chronicling the evolution of political corruption in Belize since gaining independence in 1981, Rogers (2015), highlights that it has undergone six (6) stages including: Pride, Arrogance, Insensitivity, Dominance and Tyranny. (Figure 3)
This sentiment is corroborated by Dr. Theodore Aranda (a former member of the National Legislature and past Leader of the Opposition) via his 2016 observation in the Amandala Newspaper which contended, “The corruption in both houses has long and far-reaching tentacles that affect the Nation in many more ways than this article covers…The corruption in both houses underlies and threatens the security of the Nation that is fast becoming a haven to local and international criminals, and can spread beyond its borders. This is indeed geopolitically intolerable and will strongly argue for harsh international measures against Belize…The governance of the Nation, with all its Ministries, departments, operations and offices, have been shifted from serving the Nation to serving themselves and a select few.”
The instances of selective governance practises covered in this assessment transcend a range of areas critical to Belize’s overall interests, including yet not limited to: the Economy, National and Citizen Security, Sustainable Development, Sovereignty and Diplomacy. Specifically, these include: ongoing scandals at the Lands Department, the unconstitutional granting of Belizean Citizenship to Guatemalan nationals, the Universal Health Services (UHS) Scandal, the 2008 Signing of the OAS sponsored Special Agreement/Compromis, the nationalisation of Belize Telecommunications Ltd, and the most recent Passport, Visa and Nationality Scandals. (Appendix A) Although admittedly varied, a common denominator amongst them involves the pre-eminence of the political/policy-making component of the GOB’s range of authority and how each of their individual occurrences represents a threat to Belize’s security, in which the primary areas of concern include: (1) Sustainable Development, (2) National and Citizen Security/Sovereignty, (3) the Economy, (4) Diplomacy and Sovereignty, (5) the Economy and (6) National and Citizen Security, respectively. Of note, the potential for additional areas beyond those listed, for each, is acknowledged.
Selective governance practises create an environment ripe for corruption. To this notion, Belize is not immune as depicted by the six (6) identified incidences. Beyond the particular areas of concern involving Belize’s security, of equal significance is: What measures (if any) were taken to address each matter? Whether such actions were appropriate; the resulting outcome; and its current status. Accordingly, these elements portend: social, economic, financial and political impacts, which inevitably prove significant to the well- being of the nation’s state of security.
Ongoing Scandals at the Lands Department
Very few will contest the notion that many transactions emanating from the Lands Department are highly questionable. The reality of illegal dealings is well-documented. Yet the depth of the situation is brought into greater focus when such nefarious undertakings extend beyond the rank and file and feature the active participation of policymakers. Amid the numerous allegations of improprieties taking place in that embattled department, some of the most recent, high-profile instances involved the large amount of land transactions and acquisitions of the then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources – Gaspar Vega and members of his family. Of the many such occurrences, a precedent-setting instance involved the reported and verified acquisition of a piece of privately owned, prime real estate, that by virtue of the Minister’s discretion, one Hilmar Alamilla was allowed to obtain it at a discounted price of $2,500. In turn, he reportedly sold the land to the Minister’s son, Andre Vega, for $15,000. Afterward, the GOB acquired the land, with the younger Vega being compensated in the amount of $400,000.00! (Breaking Belize News)
Of note, no legal action was taken against the principles and to-date the situation has not been rectified. Such unfettered graft is inexcusable and in addition to its implications for Sustainable Development, the ongoing scandals at the Lands Department also hold negative impacts across the aforementioned spectrum of societal concerns. Due to ineffective and in this instance non-existent actions undertaken by the powers that be, the concern was not adequately addressed, Hence it persists, with grave consequences for Belize’s security in the form of: the resulting loss in revenue, a further widening of the socio-economic gap between those who own land versus those who do not, as the potential for national lands to be monopolised by a select segment of the population increases, meanwhile raising the potential for gross land speculation, all of which weaken Belize’s security polity.
The Unconstitutional Granting of Belizean Citizenship to Guatemalan Nationals
Section 29(3) of the Belize Constitution specifies, “No person shall be entitled…to be a citizen of Belize or be granted citizenship of Belize if such person shows any allegiance to or is a citizen of a country which does not recognize the independence, sovereignty or territorial integrity of Belize …”. (BelizeLaw.org) Since Belize became an independent nation, successive administrations have used selective governance practises and essentially defied the law. As a result, there exists a sizable population of Guatemalan-born nationals who are citizens of Belize, complete with all rights and privileges afforded them under the law. Given that Guatemala continues with its claim to sovereign Belizean territory, the significance of this prohibited practise is evident. Of late the issue involving precisely how Guatemalan nationals can lawfully obtain Belizean citizenship has come to the fore.
As recently as 2017, it was revealed that despite renouncing one’s Guatemalan citizenship, their home country does not acknowledge such actions, thereby making said persons ineligible for naturalisation, under Belizean law. Consequently, the Belize Immigration Department has properly halted the issuance of Belizean nationality to Guatemalan applicants. (Breaking Belize News) Yet it is essentially a stop-gap response and does not address the core concern. As a result, the question of the constitutionality of the acquired citizenship involving a considerable number of Guatemalan-born residents remains unclear. Add to this, the fact that under Belize’s system of governance, it is a distinct possibility that one such individual, upon acquiring citizenship, could conceivably serve as an Area Representative in the House and quite possibly ascend to become the Head of Government.
The potential for this to occur is real, for as recently as the 2015 General Elections, when Denny Grijalva a political aspirant who meets the criterion, most recently unsuccessfully contested the Orange Walk Central constituency as a Standard Bearer for the United Democratic Party (UDP). (Channel 5 Belize) Of note, fresh off a recent constituency victory for his political party, he shall once again represent the UDP in the next general election. Albeit one would hope the allegiances of individuals, to whom the scenario applies, would rest squarely with their adopted home, there is no guarantee. In somewhat of a similar fashion, there is the recent revelation involving a Guatemalan-born national, George Orellano, who acquired Belizean citizenship and was well-connected to government and political officials. Such level of connectivity resulted in his serving on the board of NICH. (Breaking Belize News) Amid several high profile scandals, both in Belize and Guatemala, it was reported he expressed his unwavering commitment and solidarity to the nation of Belize, yet eventually, the individual returned to his place of birth and is currently vying for the post of Deputy Mayor in the municipality of Melchur de Mencos. (NBZLive) This is an example involving the reality of the concerns regarding National Security, as well as Sovereignty, within the scope of potential security threats to Belize, due to the legacy of selective governance practises by successive political administrations.
The Universal Health Services (UHS) Scandal (2004)
This saga involved highly questionable governance practises at the highest level of government, involving former Prime Minister Said Musa, which inevitably resulted in a significant threat to Belize’s financial standing and economic security. In 2009, during the first term of the incumbent Dean Barrow administration, the GOB took legal action against the former Head of Government, Said Musa, for his selective use of monies granted from the Republic of Venezuela via the Petrocaribe Agreement and technical assistance from the Republic of China on Taiwan. The former PM’s administration signed a loan note between UHS and the Belize Bank. Upon UHS’s defaulting on the payment, the GOB assumed the twenty-nine million dollar debt! The financial and economic implications of such a decision are unmistakable, particularly concerning a fledgling economy such as Belize’s. Not too long thereafter, another scandal broke when it was discovered that government flouted the Finance and Audit Reform Act by diverting twenty million U.S. dollars to settle the private UHS debt (Channel 5 Belize); Yet the outcome of the incoming administration’s decision to take extensive legal action served to further exacerbate matters, in that not only was the former Prime Minister found not guilty of theft, in 2018 the GOB was ordered by the court to pay the outstanding debt of BZ$96 million owed, at 6% interest! Given this outcome, it represents a two-fold example of how damaging selective governance practises and decisions can prove for Belize’s security. Case in point, the accrued amount owed in interest is substantial. Monies of that quantum could have been better spent on social projects to increase the welfare of the citizenry and by extension bolstering the state of the nation’s security.
The Nationalisation of Belize Telecommunications Ltd, (BTL)
The underlying action taken by the current Barrow administration to nationalise BTL, is a prime example of yet another selective governance decision by the Executive, which clearly brought about unnecessary and undue pressure on the already vulnerable Belizean economy. This occurred in 2009 under the guise of obtaining the telecommunications company for the benefit of the people and nation. In what ultimately proved a highly questionable determination, the GOB disputed the remuneration sought by the principle owners of the company, as well as the currency in which payment was to be made, by taking the matter to court. Following years of legal wrangling, in 2017 the Caribbean Court of Justice determined that the GOB must pay the Ashcroft Group of Companies US$78.16 million in compensation. Of that amount, approximately 80.4% was to be paid in US dollars, with the balance in Belize dollars. The financial implications of being made to pay such a large amount in foreign currency placed an additional, unnecessary burden on the nation’s coffers. Further evidence of the impact of such a determination is revealed in the CCJ’s determination that “should GOB be unable to pay the second half by November 10, they could pay by instalments, with an 8.34 per cent annual interest on the remaining balance, to be compounded quarterly according to the clause in the arbitration tribunal award, and should GOB default on the interest payments, this would accrue an additional interest of 6 per cent per annum, to be compounded monthly, as agreed in a clause of the settlement agreement.” (San Pedro Sun) Adding yet another layer of indiscretion to this sordid scenario is the fact that the Prime Minister’s son was hired to head the organisation, despite having no meaningful background or scholarship to justify his hiring. This was accompanied by a handsome remuneration package that was far and away exorbitant by Belizean standards. This scenario depicts a clear example of the phenomena under scrutiny. Belize faces considerable social and economic challenges which require immediate attention and by virtue of being saddled with this manner of unprecedented debt, coupled with reality of gross nepotism, it certainly placed the nation in a less secure position, financially and otherwise.
The Most Recent Passport, Visa and Nationality Scandals
During the period 2011 – 2013, yet another instance involving several selective governance practises and their effects on Belize’s security came to the fore, concerning the most recent Visa and Nationality scandals. A prominent figure in the occurrence was the former Cayo North East Area Representative and Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security (with responsibility for immigration and border protection) Elvin Penner. He is best remembered for his intimate involvement with a notorious case involving the passport scandal of Won Hong Kim, a South Korean fugitive. Kim, who despite never setting foot in Belize, obtained Belizean citizenship on the strength of Penner’s recommendation as Minister of State. (7 News Belize) To further highlight this concern, Kim’s Belizean passport was issued while he was imprisoned in Taiwan! Of note, Penner was also implicated in additional improprieties involving immigration and nationality issues.
Further evidence of unsavoury practises by policymakers involved the indiscriminate granting of recommendations, for recompense, regarding foreign nationals who were seeking Visas to visit Belize. A prominent, elected figure emerging from the saga was Belize Rural North Area Representative and (then) Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport, Edmund Castro. (7 News Belize) Similar accusations were also levied against several other government figures both elected and appointed. Actions taken to investigate these instances, resulted in the GOB commissioning the Office of the Auditor General to conduct a special audit of the Immigration and Nationality Department. The effort resulted in the production of three, independent Special Reports involving: Passports, Visas and Nationality in 2016. The reports were presented to the requisite legislative bodies and a Special Senate Hearing was convened. To-date, this has resulted in no definitively indictable findings of wrongdoing being levied against anyone, as the draft report of their findings has yet to be presented. Despite considerable evidence of wrongdoing, the only administrative casualty involved Penner, who was made to resign his post as Minister of State, yet remained in his elected capacity as Cayo Northeast Area Representative. (7 News Belize)
Given the sensitive nature of matters involving immigration, nationality and its accordant implements, the impacts of such alleged misdeeds, involving the area of National and Citizen Security, is evident. In our globalised world, episodes such the Won Hong Kim saga is testimony to not only selective governance practises, but also a derivative product of such; whereby the gross breakdown in the processes and procedures highlights an unmistakable security concern, particularly with the advent of global issues involving terrorism and related affairs. Hence this incidence demonstrates the soft-underbelly of the nation in this critical area of security and the significant role embodied by selective governance practises.
2008 Signing of the OAS Sponsored Special Agreement/Compromis
Among the six (6) instances of selective governance practises presented in this assessment, the once, much vaunted Special Agreement/Compromis holds a distinct significance, due to its direct violation of the basic tenets attributed to good governance practises and principles. Vyas-Doorgapersad (2017) contends that the state should be an institution of participation. Techniques (referendum, initiative, veto, recall) that will encourage the people to participate /join the state management should be given importance/emphasized. Semi-direct democracy is the only political system that allows the people to enter the management of the people. This aspect of the ideal state is called Participatory State. From the onset, the GOB’s decision to unilaterally commit the nation of Belize to the stipulations of the aforesaid document, is contrary to the fundamental principle involving participation. In keeping with good governance ethics, the GOB should have presented the document to the nation, in order to solicit feedback. This could have been achieved via a variety of means, with the possibility of holding a referendum on whether or not Belize should have entered into such an egregious contract. This is significant because by way of taking an autonomous, approach, it set the tone for the manner in which the government summarily proceeded for the next ten-plus years, regarding this issue.
According to Freeman (2018), “At its most basic level, diplomacy is the management of foreign relations to reduce risk to the nation while promoting its interests abroad. In this task, diplomacy’s success is measured more by what it precludes than by what it achieves. One can never prove that what didn’t happen would have happened if one had not done this or that. But, for the most part in foreign affairs, the fewer the surprises and the less the stress, the better.” Concerning the content of the Special Agreement/Compromis, it is an entirely inequitable document which essentially affords Guatemala a far more beneficial arrangement, compared to Belize. Among them is the fact that: (1) the wording to be used on the Referendum question is overly expansive and effectively ambiguous, (2) Guatemala has nothing tangible to lose by going to the ICJ, (3) the agreement is unfair in that Belize must first agree to go to the ICJ, before Guatemala will reveal precisely what they intend to claim, (4) in the event of a Guatemalan victory, the only thing the Court shall consider regarding compensation, is territory, as no allocation for monetary remuneration is accounted for and (5) the judgement of the Court is final; hence there is no appropriation for appeal.
Those are but a few elements of the arrangement which make the Special Agreement/Compromis less-than-impartial. Beyond that is the incomprehensible manner in which the GOB has embarked on coddling their Guatemalan counterparts. Essentially theirs is what has been dubbed a “4A Policy of: APPEASEMENT, ACQUIESCENCE, ACCOMMODATION AND ADHERENCE” to virtually every demand made by Guatemala. To substantiate this reality, it is noted that Guatemala has been unduly facilitated by Belize’s representatives at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a grossly inexcusable manner. In effect, Guatemala has been summarily allowed to move the proverbial goalpost as they see fit, with Belize offering very little, if any, manner of protest. For example, originally the countries were to hold simultaneous referenda. Guatemala reneged and Belize precipitously acquiesced, thus allowing Guatemala to hold its referendum separately. Yet another instance involved Guatemala’s contestation regarding the threshold governing Belize’s Referendum Act, in which they considered it too high. Belize’s response was to summarily amend the Act, thereby lowering the threshold to a simple majority, again without first consulting the people. (Guardian Belize)
Other selective and highly questionable positions taken by Belize include the GOB’s unwillingness to exercise its right under the UN Charter concerning Guatemala’s unprovoked aggression in what is clearly Belizean territory, along the Sarstoon River. Instead of taking the matter to the UN via Chapter VII; Article 39, whereby “The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security” (Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs), the GOB has opted to act as though Guatemala’s illegal actions are permissible. To further demonstrate the extent to which the government’s questionable handling of the matter comes to the fore, it is noted that in April 2016, the GOB enacted a temporary Statutory Instrument, barring some Belizeans from entering the vicinity of the Sarstoon, where Guatemalans unrepentantly usurped Belizean territory and continue to do so today.
A product of the 2008 Special Agreement/Compromis, is the Referendum scheduled for 10th April 2019, to decide whether or not to take the issue of Guatemala’s claim to sovereign Belizean territory to the ICJ. The GOB received funds from international donors to the tune of BZ$1.425 million, yet the manner in which the government deliberately opted to establish a “yes” crusade under the guise of a so-called Education Campaign, is yet another example of selective governance practises that functions as a threat to Belize’s security. Instead of utilising the funds to provide the citizenry with a holistic perspective, via articulating the pros and cons of the matter, only the GOB’s singular narrative is presented at their fora. Unfortunately, the government’s decision to downplay and in some instances, completely ignore the inherent risks associated with taking the matter to the ICJ, particularly under the aegis of the 2008 Special Agreement/Compromis, is wholly short- sighted and thus in consort with the GOB’s demonstrated, highly detrimental modus operandi. Such is further manifest in the squandering of funds on less-than-laudable activities such as pro-ICJ concerts and the mass development and distribution of pro-ICJ paraphernalia. Inputs of that sort, along with other determinations that do not align with the fundamental principles of good governance continue to add to the continued erosion of Belize’s security. Specifically, given the gravity of the decision that Belizeans are intended to undertake on 10th April 2019, its significance cannot be overstated, for an ill-informed citizenry holds the potential to accede uncertainty, which thereby places the well-being of the nation unnecessarily at increased risk. This, of course, is a plausible output of the initial, egregious contravention of fundamental good governance principles and practises committed by the GOB.
Efforts undertaken to address these deficiencies have emanated from civil society, as well as the political domain. The leading non-political voice opposing the GOB’s one-sided “Education Campaign”, the Belize PEACE Movement, wrote the UNDP requesting the GOB be held to appropriate standards, concerning accountability in the use of the grant funds. (Appendix H) Of note, as of 3rd April 2019, no response was provided by the UNDP. On the political level, members of the legal fraternity in Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) filed an order for a court injunction pertaining to the constitutionality of the Special Agreement/Compromis. The Chief Justice rendered his judgement to grant an injunction. The GOB is expected to appeal. (Reporter Belize) With some seven (7) days before the scheduled Referendum, whether or not it will be held, remains unanswered. The current state of affairs is confirmation that as a result of selective governance practises by those in positions of influence and power, particularly as it relates to the 2008 Special Agreement/Compromis, the nation has been placed in a precarious and unenviable conundrum which epitomises a clear and direct threat to Belize’s security, in addition to the nation’s physical dimensions as we currently know them; That being the 8,867 square miles of sovereign territory that was recognised overwhelmingly by a majority of the members of the United Nations, on the inception of the independent nation of Belize as a full member of the UN, as well as the preceding declarations from that body dating back as early as 1975.
As was demonstrated via the six (6) instances of selective governance practises, across an array of concerns under the government’s purview, each holds considerable significance for threats to Belize’s security. Whether involving Sustainable Development, National and Citizen Security/Sovereignty, the Economy, Diplomacy and Sovereignty, the Economy, National and Citizen Security or any combination thereof, the advent of such disconcerting determinations that were deliberately carried-out by elected policymakers have served to essentially engender the conditions in which corruption was afforded fertile ground upon which to further propagate. The real impacts felt, across the board, alongside the level of vulnerability such determinations have exposed Belize to, are a clear demonstration of the multiplicity of threat, when combined, are among the most formidable obstacles to maintaining a sound and safe security apparatus for the nation.
Arising from these components is the real potential for nefarious elements such as: a widening in the already existing chasm separating the “haves” from the “have nots”, the possible emergence of a Manchurian Candidate stemming from the concerns of National and Citizen Security/Sovereignty, an undue overburdening of the nation’s economy due to avoidable expenditure brought on by the decision to legally challenge various financial transactions undertaken by previous government administrations, the possibility of foreign nationals who possess Belizean citizenship and harbour radical intentions which are not in accordance with the best interests of the Belizean state and last but not least, the ongoing degradation of all that Belize represents in the international community as a sovereign nation, with its territory in-tact, due to the digressive “4A Policy” which mires the nation in potentially deeper peril, with no discernible, alternative plan having been articulated by the powers that be.
It is based on the issues highlighted, involving selective governance practises and their corresponding areas of concern, that equate to national security threats, in which the “Enemy Within”, that being those being visionless representatives who: create, facilitate and promulgate an environment prime for corruption and its accordant detriments to Belize’s security. Such instances further exacerbate the fragile sphere in which Belize’s: social, economic, diplomatic, political and other components are made to operate and hopefully endure. If there is any question as to this condition, the current push by the GOB for a “yes” vote on the anticipated Referendum, despite the aforementioned risks, is testimony to the extent to which the nation of Belize’s security is threatened and most paradoxically and regrettably, by way of the very same elected representatives who are tasked with ensuring the wellbeing of the nation.
In accounting for the factual threats demonstrated via this analysis, based on the small sample of improprieties brought on by policymakers highlighted therein, it begs the question as to whether this realisation will resonate with the citizenry; thus leading to proactive efforts to ensure that elected representatives are made accountable for the blatant, gross and intentional disregard of the fundamental tenets ascribed to good governance practises and principles. It is only by way of such buy-in, that the aforementioned shall be tasked with ensuring sound, salient and structured deliberations and that ultimate discernments are appropriately made regarding decisions that can affect the well-being of Belize’s security in terms of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and most significantly threats. It therefore beckons the question as to whether selective governance practises, undertaken by policymaker, aka the Enemy Within, collectively rank among the most significant of security threats to the nation of Belize.
Unquestionably, further analysis is required, perhaps by way of a quantitative approach, so as to further raise awareness of the significant impacts incurred due to the selective governance practises of policymakers and the resulting threat such misdeeds pose to Belize’s security. Therefore this effort remains a work in progress and one that aspires to cast further illumination on the salience of employing a concerted, inward-focussed scrutiny toward recognising, acknowledging and adequately addressing the significant threat posed to Belize’s security, due to the selective governance practises perpetrated by The Enemy Within.
First and foremost I give thanks to the Almighty for His good graces, which empowered me to undertake this endeavour. I also honour and appreciate the nurturing and upbringing afforded me by my parents – Mrs. Ivy Rosemarie Eloise Pitts-Smith (+) and Mr. Frank Edward Smith, Sr. (+), for without them, I would be neither who, nor where I am, today. Thank you Mom and Dad for the teachings, guidance and discipline through which you raised all your children. Hence the effectiveness of your commitment is reflected in the fact that each of us became law-abiding and productive citizens. I wish to acknowledge my siblings for in their own, unique manner, each has influenced my life’s journey; with special mention to my sister Ivy (+), who for some reason persisted in calling me “maestro”. Consequently, with the passing of time, I eventually gained some semblance as to why she chose that moniker.
In addition, I recognise my daughter, Dalliyah. She is and shall always remain my motivation for seeking continued knowledge and insights toward the goal of creating a better equipped and progressive nation, for the benefit of future generations and those who rank among the true friends of Belize.
Given the content and focus of this effort, I would be remiss not to acknowledge my former teachers and professors who have impacted and influenced my scholarship by equipping me with the tools to undertake such a venture. In that vein, I also appreciate the critical role my colleagues in the Belize Progressive Party (BPP), as well as the wider, apolitical organisation the Belize PEACE Movement (BPM), play in my pursuits. It is by way of the shared commitment of those who comprise the aforementioned groups, that we continue to forge ahead to create awareness among the citizenry, with the goal of empowering them, to realise the invaluable significance that good governance practises and principles bode for the nation’s sustainable development and future prosperity for all Belizeans.
TABLE 1 – Underlying Sources of the Worldwide Governance Indicators
|ADB||African Development Bank Country Policy and Institutional Assessments||Expert (GOV)||Partial||54||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|ASD||Asian Development Bank Country Policy and Institutional Assessments||Expert (GOV)||Partial||28||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|BPS||Business Enterprise Environment Survey||Survey||Yes||30||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|BTI||Bertelsmann Transformation Index||Expert (NGO)||Yes||129||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|CCR||Freedom House Countries as the Crossroads||Expert (NGO)||Yes||69||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|EBR||European Bank for Reconstruction And Development Transit Report||Expert (GOV)||Yes||33||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|EU||Economic Intelligence Unit Riskwise & Democracy Index||Expert (CBIP)||Yes||183||Y||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|FRH||Freedom House||Expert (NGO)||Yes||198||Y||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|GCB||Transparency International Global Corruption Barometer Survey||Survey||Yes||145||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|GCS||World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report||Survey||Yes||144||Y||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|GII||Global Integrity Index||Expert (NGO)||Yes||62||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|GWP||Gallup World Poll||Survey||Yes||161||Y||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|HER||Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom||Expert (NGO)||Yes||183||Y||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|HUM||Cingranelli Richards Human Rights Database and Political Terror Scale||Expert (GOV)||Yes||194||Y||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|IFD||IFAD Rural Sector Performance Assessments||Expert (GOV)||Yes||198||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|IJT||iJET Country Security Risk Ratings||Expert (CBIP)||Yes||197||Y||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|IPD||Institutional Profiles Database||Expert (GOV)||Yes||143||Y||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|IRP||IREEP African Electoral Index||Expert (NGO)||Yes||54||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|MSI||International Research and Exchanges Board Media Sustainability Index||Expert (NGO)||Yes||71||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|OBI||International Budget Project Open Budget Index||Expert (NGO)||Yes||100||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|PIA||World Bank Country Policy and Institutional Assessments||Expert (GOV)||Partial||136||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|PRC||Political Economic Risk Consultancy Corruption in Asia Survey||Survey||Yes||17||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|PRS||Political Risk Services International Country Risk Guide||Expert (CBIP)||Yes||140||Y||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|RSF||Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index||Expert (NGO)||Yes||177||Y||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|TPR||US State Department Trafficking in People report||Expert (GOV)||Yes||185||Y||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|VAB||Vanderbilt University Americas Barometer||Survey||Yes||26||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|VDM||Varieties of Democracy Project||Expert (NGO)||Yes||171||Y||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|WCY||Institute for Management and Development Wold Competitiveness Yearbook||Survey||Yes||59||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|WKP||World Justice Project Rule of Law Index||Expert (NGO) / Survey||Yes||97||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|WMO||GLobal insight Business Conditions and Risk Indicators||Expert (CBIP)||Yes||203||Y||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|* Types of Expert Assessments: CBIP – Commercial Business Information Provider, GOV – Public Sector Data Provider, NGO – Nongovernmental Organization Data Provider|
Source: Worldwide Governance Indicators Website – http://info.worldbank.org/governance/wgi/Table1.pdf
TABLE 2 – Belize vs Sweden – Control of Corruption 2017
Source: Kaufmann D., A. Kraay, and M. Mastruzzi (2010), The Worldwide Governance Indicators: Methodology and Analytical Issues
The Worldwide Governance Indicators are available at: www.govindicators.org
Source: Worldwide Governance Indicators Website – http://info.worldbank.org/governance/wgi/#reports
CHART 1 – Belize – Control of Corruption 2017
CHART 2 – Latin America & the Caribbean vs Belize – Control of Corruption 2017
CHART 3 – Belize vs Sweden – Control of Corruption 2017
CHART 4 – Latin America & the Caribbean/Belize/Sweden – Control of Corruption 2017
FIGURE 1 – Policy Ethics, and the Ethics and Integrity of Governance
Source: Good Governance in the Caribbean Reflections on Good Governance, Integrity and Corruption in CARICOM Countries; Huberts, L. (2009)
FIGURE 2 – Quality of Governance Criteria
Source: Good Governance in the Caribbean Reflections on Good Governance, Integrity and Corruption in CARICOM Countries; Huberts, L. (2009)
FIGURE 3 – A Chronology of Political Corruption in Belize
Source: Belize Progressive Party (BPP) Website www.belizeprogressiveparty.org
APPENDIX A – Selected Instances of Selective Governance Practises 1981 – 2018
|ISSUE||PERIOD||MEASURES TAKEN||OUTCOME||STATUS||**AREA OF SECURITY CONCERN|
|Numerous Scandals at the Lands Department||1981 – Present||Executive decisions (in some instances)||1. CabinetShuffles|
2. Change in Ministerial
3. No discernible criminal
|Continues virtually unabated||Sustainable Development|
|Unconstitutional Granting of Belizean Citizenship to Guatemalan Nationals||1981 – *Present||1. Legal/diplomatic enquiries|
2. Policy variation
|*Temporary halt in the issuance of Belizean Nationality to Guatemalan Citizens||On hiatus pending further determination||1. National and Citizen Security|
|Universal Health Services Scandal||2004 – 2018||Court Action||Court ruled no criminal wrongdoings committed by the accused, former PM||GOB ordered to pay outstanding debt of BZ$96 million owed at 6% interest||Economy|
|Signing of the 2008 OAS Special Agreement/ Compromis with Guatemala||2008 – Present||Interim injunction filed by the Opposition||Ruling issued by the Chief Justice on|
3rd April 2019, granting a temporary injunction of the Referendum
|GOB expected to appeal judgement||Diplomacy and Sovereignty|
|Nationalisation of Belize Telecommunications Ltd.||2009 – 2017||Court Action||GOB lost the case||GOB ordered to pay US$78.16 million||Economy|
|Passport, Visa and Nationality Scandals||2011 – 2013||1. Special Audit|
2. Senate Hearings
|1. No criminal convictions to-date|
2. Minister stripped of Cabinet portfolio
3. Area Rep. not supported to stand for re-election
|Report of the Special Senate Committee remains outstanding||National and Citizen Security|
**Denotes the primary areas of security concern, yet acknowledges the dynamism of the issue. It therefore makes allocation for instances of multiple areas of security concerns.
APPENDIX B – World Governance Indicators Control of Corruption – Map View
APPENDIX C- Belize – All Six Indicators Time Series View
APPENDIX D – World Governance Indicators for Latin America & the Caribbean in Six Categories
APPENDIX E – Control of Corruption – Country Data View – Belize
APPENDIX F – Control of Corruption – Belize – 1996 – 2017
APPENDIX G – Control of Corruption – Latin America & the Caribbean – 1996 – 2017
APPENDIX H – Belize Peace Movement Correspondence to the UNDP
March 20, 2019
H.E. Carla Zacapa
Resident Representative Ad Interim
3rd Floor Lawrence Nicholas Building
South Ring Road
Dear Representative Zacapa,
We at the Belize PEACE Movement (BPM) trust that your organization, tasked with providing technical support toward ensuring that adequate awareness and preparedness for the national referendum is realized, remains abreast of all that is transpiring with respect to the impending Referendum scheduled for 10th April 2019.
This correspondence serves as the Belize PEACE Movement’s official complaint regarding reports we have received from across the country of personnel dressed in the decal of the UNDP, interviewing citizens as to their likely vote.
A second observation is that in its work with the referendum unit, the UNDP has unwittingly supported known UDP campaign persons, selected by the referendum unit to give out pamphlets etc.
Most significantly is the UNDP’s failure or silence even when the government implies that the UNDP supports their YES position. The grossly biased manner in which the Government of Belize (G0B), along with its private sector counterpart entity, Citizens for the Defence of Sovereignty(CDS), have engaged in an outright, “yes” campaign, is unacceptable. Belizeans expected an earnest effort to inform the citizenry concerning all aspects of this extremely important issue.
Of the numerous nationwide presentations made by the aforementioned, spearheaded solely by the Belize Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Referendum Education Unit and funded from the considerable donations of the US Embassy and the UK Government, save for one engagement, the PEACE Movement has been summarily and intentionally excluded. This, by any standards, is egregious at best and it is our hope that your organization shares this view.
One need only take a cursory look at the unprecedented volume of “yes” propaganda that fills the airwaves and litters our cities, towns and rural areas in the form of: flags, T-shirts, billboards, hats and bags as well as ill-conceived and misguided events such as song competitions and the like.
To exacerbate matters, the GOB has further eroded the sanctity attributed to what is supposed to be an “education campaign” by more recently billing activities as “fairs”, complete the with the age-old political trappings of providing live music, free food and drinks, all of which occurs in an environment that pushes an exclusive “yes” narrative.
Yet another example which depicts the intentional, exclusionary approach the GOB continues to employ involves the report of as many as four separate engagements with Ministry of Health personnel, in which no-one was invited to present the “NO” position.
Most disturbingly, that is but one of many such orchestrated instances, across the board.
What the GOB has been allowed to perpetrate and perpetuate, without official rebuke, is not only appalling; it is felonious! Is the UNDP aware of how significant a role that such unfettered actions by the GOB can play with regard to: (1) short-changing the Belizean electorate by not equipping them with FULL DISCLOSURE, thereby decreasing the chances of them making an informed decision; (2) creating an overly politicized environment which essentially detracts from the salience of the Referendum being a national issue and thus relegating it to that of a political exercise; and (3) ultimately disenfranchising scores of voters?
Need we remind you that Belize signed on to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and thus far, to-date, very little appears to have been manifest, moving forward toward its full implementation?
For your reference, the Belize PEACE Movement, by virtue of its Mission Statement, “…remains unconditionally committed to God and country and shall therefore act in Belize’s national interest, free from political influence and/or association, thereby advocating and utilizing: peaceful, just, sound, good governance principles & practices to create a culture of accountability and transparency, hence engendering a lasting consciousness among the citizenry, indicative of civic pride which proactively contributes toward ensuring Belize’s sustainable development.”
Bearing this in mind and being the only organized and self-funded entity that has proactively taken-up the mantle, along apolitical lines, to ensure the citizenry receives the full scope of this national concern, the PEACE Movement takes the aforementioned wrongdoings by the Government of Belize and its agents, very seriously.
Hence, we trust it is clear that our commitment extends beyond 10th April 2019. In keeping with this notion, we ask whether the UNDP required the GOB to provide a strict accounting of the approximate BZ$1,425,000 we are aware they have access to as a result of the donations from the governments of the US and the UK.
Of note, that does not account for whatever contributions their private sector counterpart entity has solicited, presumably under the classification of a non-profit organization. This is of particular concern because each presentation spearheaded by the GOB includes the aforementioned Citizens for the Defence of Sovereignty, thus resulting in participants receiving essentially a double dose of government-sanctioned “yes” propaganda, to the exclusion of a dissenting sentiment.
With the well-being of Belize hanging in the balance as a result of the untenable and unconstitutional situation awaiting its citizens in the form of the upcoming Referendum, the Belize PEACE Movement makes this appeal to you, within your capacity as the UNDP’s Resident Representative in Belize, to kindly address the issues highlighted in this correspondence.
By virtue of your organization’s mandate, we trust that a timely and insightful response shall be forthcoming.
Additionally, we would be remiss not to express our view that progressive action, beyond that of the standard acknowledgement, to effectively address these breaches of good governance practices and principles, would bode well to honor the theme of engendering democratic governance toward promoting a culture of anti-corruption.
Robert A. Lopez
Belize PEACE Movement
cc: H.E. António Guterres – United Nations Secretary General
H.E. Irwin LaRoque – CARICOM Secretary General
H.E. Patricia Scotland — Commonwealth Secretary General
H.E. Luis Leonardo Almagro – OAS Secretary General
Dean O. Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize
Wilfred Elrington – Minister of Foreign Affairs
Amb. Alexis Rosado – Head – MFA Referendum Unit
British High Commission — Belize
US Embassy – Belize
All Belize Media Houses
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