By Britney Gordon
After 14 years of exclusion, Belize still has not met the data collection requirements to be included in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI).
The continued absence from the CPI looms over Belize as the world celebrates the 19th “Anti-Corruption Day” on Friday, December 9th, 2022.
Speaking on the matter with The Reporter, President of The National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) Luke Martinez said that there has been little progress made towards achieving the desired results as it pertains to the anti-corruption movement. As a case in point, Martinez lamented the “late appointment” of the Integrity Commission.
In terms of campaign finance reform, Martinez added that the NTUCB submitted a draft of the campaign finance bill, which has not been tabled at the National Assembly.
“You cannot focus on restructuring debt if you're not able to address corruption,” Martinez remarked. “Your finances and your national debt go hand in hand with the legislation that strengthens the legal framework when it comes to corruption.”
International Anti-Corruption Day, which was first observed in October 2003, is a day set aside for raising public awareness of the need for anti-corruption efforts and for recommitting to transparency.
A nation’s level of corruption can be measured through Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, which, through a combination of at least three data sources drawn from 13 different corruption surveys and assessments, calculates a nation's corruption perception score based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be.
The score ranges from 0 to 100, with lower scores equating to higher levels of corruption. However, the last time Belize was included in this Index was in 2008, when it scored 28 points and ranked 109 out of 180 nations.
In 2020, Belize committed to implementing the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), the only legally binding international anti-corruption multilateral treaty which aims to reduce the risks of corruption and mismanagement. It requires the involvement of strong anti-corruption bodies, better oversight bodies, a more open and transparent public procurement, and enhanced anti-corruption compliance.
The UNCAC’s article 61 (2) states: “State Parties shall consider developing and sharing with each other and through international and regional organizations statistics, analytical expertise concerning corruption and information with a view to developing, insofar as possible, common definitions, standards, and methodologies, as well as information on best practices to prevent and combat corruption.”