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Promote Government transparency and accountability

This will result in policies and social programs that would have more objective evaluations and consequently improve planning. This would make sure that program benefits reach those in greater in need. Additionally, if the Government regularly reports on the way investment decisions are made, citizens would understand why money is often not enough, as well as the difficulties making benefits reach those who need it.

Following are some opinions on this option:

Francis, from Corozal: Promoting this option would make the Government more transparent and officials would be held accountable for their decisions. It would make them think twice before making any illegal move or take a decision that goes against the public interest; they would have to bear the consequences.

 

Robert, from Belmopan: If the Government is transparent, citizens would have more information to get involved in public affairs, this would allow them to monitor Government actions, the investment of resources and request financial records. This could also mobilize citizens to demand a better quality of the services they receive.

 

Kaycee, from Belmopan: It would be important to promote this option because we are unaware of many things that go on in the Government and for us citizens, it would be very important to review the audit reports of the Belize Audit Office that evaluate State programs and finances. The problem is that we don’t have access to them, there are many restrictions that don’t allow us to know what the Audit Office really does.

 

Brenda, from Belize City: Working on this alternative would help a lot because although there is a law that requires that elected officials formally disclose their wealth, assets, and liabilities, it’s poorly applied. Transparency would help reduce favouritism in the awards of licenses and public contracts. We have seen cases where the Government contracts in a manner that harms the interests of all Belizeans.

 

Despite agreeing with this alternative, some have expressed difficulties in carrying it out:

 

Peter, from San Ignacio: Increasing transparency and accountability can meet resistance, mainly from Government officials who may view this as a political risk that would expose their actions and decisions to the public. This can lead to severe criticism from voters, who could rebuke politicians who make bad decisions and who resist being transparent and accountable for the management of public resources.

 

Petrona, a University of Belize student: There’s technology to reduce corruption and guarantee public sector transparency. In other countries, audit entities use technologies that warn about corruption and mismanagement of public resources. They allow information to be crossed checked to identify which companies contract the most with the State, and to identify who are the largest shareholders. This facilitates the identification of vicious alliances between politicians and those who finance their campaigns.

 

María, a University of Belize student: The problem is that technological changes require a lot of resources and trained personnel to operate well and there’s a risk that they will become obsolete due to rapid technological advances.

John, from San Ignacio: This alternative is good, but there must be rules that regulate the handling of Government data and sensitive information; even if this can affect national security, this should be known by the people.

 

José, from Placencia: I think that delving into this alternative is wishful thinking, as long as there is no real political will to be transparent on the part of the Government, nothing is going to change.

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