UDP Balks at Opening of Contracts and UNCAC

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Just at the end of 2019, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry wrote a letter to the Prime Minister requesting to get a copy of the contracts signed with Imer Hernandez Development Company. In comes 2020 and after a week there is still contract to peruse. The UDP government seems afraid to show the contract.

Party Leader John Briceño: “Let’s say it is a given that they quoted the wrong section of the Act; the Attorney General and the Prime Minister know what it is that they are requesting. Why do they have to wait until they send another letter to cite the correct section of the Act? Just give it to them. They are asking it from you. If you have nothing to hide give it to them. As we say in Spanish, ‘el que no debe no teme.’  But it seems that they have something to hide. Give the report. Not just give the sanitized portion that they signed. Give the bids and the whole process that they went through for us to see what really happened because I spoke to some of the people that were involved that they were saying that it was very clear that no company was going to be given both contracts that they can only get one. And here we have a company that has a contract on the George Price Highway that is way behind, that after eight months of work has only twenty-four point six percent of the work according to the Ministry of Works and now they only have ten months to finish the balance. And the first culvert that they built caved in because it was baldy built and now that very same company was given not only one contracts but both contracts. It is a lot of questions and maybe that is why the Prime Minister and the AG are afraid of giving all the documents. We don’t only want the contracts. We want everything for us to see what really happened when the two contracts were awarded to one incompetent company.”

Similarly, they seem afraid to move ahead with the UNCAC which they have symbolically signed onto but nothing else. The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) is the only legally binding international anti-corruption multilateral treaty. Negotiated by member states of the United Nations it has been adopted by the UN General Assembly in October 2003 and entered into force in December 2005. The United Democratic Party signed onto this on December 9 2016 as the world observed “International Anti-Corruption Day”, the Government of Belize (GOB) in the absence of Prime Minister Right Honorable Dean Barrow. This made Belize the 184th country to sign this convention–almost the last one, again the UDP shaming us in the International Forum.

UNCAC’s goal is to reduce various types of corruption that can occur across country borders, such as trading in influence and abuse of power, as well as corruption in the private sector, such as embezzlement and money laundering. Another goal of the UNCAC is to strengthen international law enforcement and judicial cooperation between countries by providing effective legal mechanisms for international asset recovery. Is the UDP afraid of any of this? Show us the contracts.