REPORT #564 November 2002

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

The new President Elect in Ecuador, Luicio Gutierrez takes office in about 5 weeks, on January 15th., 2003. He has proposed an interesting idea?

Lucio promises to get tough on political corruption. He is urging penalties of 20 years for politicians who steal up to $3000. Those stealing between $3000 to $5000 will get 30 years in jail and anyone who steals more than $5000 from the government will get LIFE.

This sure sounds like an excellent law for Brazil and Peru. But in Belize? Probably not, because no politician EVER went to jail for ANYTHING. Maybe if we restructured the government and did some Constitutional Reform? The biggest case in Belize, both criminal and civil was the PUP Cabinet of last time around and Courtenay and his law firm over that $3.34 missing Social Security funds using shell IBC's with no owners to appear in court. The PUP threw the case out when they got re-elected after a 5 year break for the UDP in office. Since some Cabinet members were allegedly co-conspirators, it never came to anything. There have been lots of allegations since then on myriad corruption deals. But nobody even bothers to go to court anymore! The political and justice system of Belize being in such ill repute.

I'm not even sure the frequent allegations of a two tier land title service policy could be construed as embezzlement or criminal? Certainly the system seems to be corruption? By this I mean, the allegations state; that any Cabinet Minister, or politically connected family, or supporter are buying land from the government at low price assessments and getting title conveyances from the Lands Department in three weeks of processing. While everybody else unconnected, have to wait from six months to three years for the same service and higher prices? Even when they are charged and pay bribes to senior civil servants allegedly for Cabinet Minister's, for fast processing fees. True or not, the complaints are quite loud and vocal! But is this the same as stealing from the government as in embezzlement and shady government contracts and multiple companies formed to hide the finances?

Corruption and stealing from a government in many ways, has been with humans for at least 5,500 years. The most one could hope for; is a system of checks and balances that reduce the amounts available lost to corruption and stealing from the government. That of course is the tack that the Belize Development Trust has taken. Not so much to stop such things, because that is impossible. But to make it harder and the amounts available for theft smaller and less damaging to the economy.

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