REPORT #535 October 2002

by Ray Auxillou

Does Belize have corruption? You betcha! Does it have big time corruption? That is less clear, though if perceptions reflect the truth it would seem so?

From Tierra del Fuego to the Rio Grande, it was thought a little mordida, or bribes greased the wheels of government and business. Not any more?

The perception nowadays; is that corruption is a toxic poison, ruining countries. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Countries are economically destroyed. Corruption hampers economic growth ( e.g: the Belize Corn War, the telecommunications monopolies ), discourages foreign investment and aid ( e.g: Beltraide the siphon and funnel for patronage and political funds to insiders ), and corruption undermines law enforcement, the national character and any trust in government.

Scandals erupt, money disappears, politicians destroy industries for greed, bureaucrats regulate instead of doing their jobs as developers and providing service, instead of controllers, the list of types and varieties of corruption are many.

Corruption is a critical issue, not only for Belize, but all of the Americas. In Belize, we know the answers but lack the means to solve them. The nation of Belize has been hijacked by two political parties and a system of representative government that treats the country like a plantation under the thumb of a headquarter's, by the white collar gangs in the old Colonial Capital, the port of Belize City. Geographical political power sharing is one solution. Checks and Balances another. Laws governing the borrowing capacity of government another. Separation of budgets and the treasury from politicians and a dictatorial elected party, to a system of financial distribution laws and an independent Treasurer another. The cost of corruption in Belize is currently, an estimated $6,870 dollars for each citizen.

Corruption whether by citizens, businesses, government bureaucrats or party politicians playing the patronage game is the biggest impediment to Belize today. Corruption perpetuates ineffective and ruinous operating systems instead of competitive production of goods and services. Corruption not only stalls development of the nation of Belize, but steals public funds that should provide social services and build basic infra-structure for a natural flow of growth economics by reinvestment of government savings ( Foreign Reserves). Corruption creates a public distrust of government, a sense of impotence against criminal whie collar gangs posing as political parties in control and exacerbates general criminality and anarchy. People lose faith in the direction of the nation building. The systems and institutions of government lose credibility. Impunity of political elected representatives from the law strengthen corruption and favor a breakdown of society. A political party in a one party system even polarizes society and intimidates and creates a see-saw effect of punishment and reward. The media are often afraid to go after corruption in it's many facets, because they fear loss of government advertising revenue.

Corruption can never be eliminated, but it can be controlled and minimized with suitable constitutional political reform in Belize. How can the masses wrest control of the treasury and the nation, back from the old colonial capital, port town controlled political white collar party gangs? Is civil war the only answer? What would you do?

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