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Belize

Capital

Belmopan

Territory

22,810km²

Population (2020)

397,621

GDP Total (2020)

1.764B USD

GDP Per Capita (2020)

4,436 USD

Icome Group

Lower middle income

Convention Implementation

58.1
In progress

Western Hemisphere Ranking

60.7

22nd of 31 countries

Central America Ranking

65.0

7th of 8 countries

Corruption Resilience

53.4
Moderately Resilient

Western Hemisphere Ranking

54.4

19th of 31 countries

Central America Ranking

50.3

3rd of 8 countries

Convention Implementation

Score by thematic sections and measures

Prevention

Core-deficient
42.7

Western Hemisphere 46.3

Central America 50.9

Standards of Conduct

In progress
57.8

Western Hemisphere 42.8

Central America 59.8

Enforcement of Standards of Conduct

In progress
57.8

Western Hemisphere 50.6

Central America 62.1

Training of Public Officials

In progress
45.3

Western Hemisphere 36.8

Central America 38.0

Asset and Conflicts of Interests Declarations

In progress
62.5

Western Hemisphere 42.3

Central America 57.0

Transparency in Government Contracting

Core-deficient
21.8

Western Hemisphere 33.1

Central America 36.6

Elimination of Favorable Tax Treatment

In progress
57.8

Western Hemisphere 47.1

Central America 65.1

Oversight Bodies

Core-deficient
26.5

Western Hemisphere 36.0

Central America 36.0

Measures to Deter Domestic and Foreign Bribery

In progress
43.7

Western Hemisphere 36.7

Central America 53.9

Encouraging Participation by Civil Society

In progress
50.7

Western Hemisphere 43.0

Central America 58.1

Study of Other Prevention Measures

Not Implemented
3.1

Western Hemisphere 44.9

Central America 42.9

Criminalization and law enforcement

In progress
59.0

Western Hemisphere 61.1

Central America 65.0

Protection of Those who Report Acts of Corruption

Core-deficient
31.2

Western Hemisphere 30.7

Central America 42.1

Scope

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 67.7

Central America 75.9

Jurisdiction: Offense-in-Territory

In progress
68.7

Western Hemisphere 74.6

Central America 90.0

Jurisdiction: Offense-by-National

In progress
68.7

Western Hemisphere 51.9

Central America 69.8

Jurisdiction: Offender-in-Territory

In progress
68.7

Western Hemisphere 58.8

Central America 55.0

Passive Public Bribery

Core-deficient
36.7

Western Hemisphere 55.8

Central America 56.7

Active Public Bribery

Core-deficient
36.7

Western Hemisphere 56.4

Central America 59.1

Abuse of Functions

Core-deficient
29.6

Western Hemisphere 47.0

Central America 57.7

Money Laundering

In progress
50.7

Western Hemisphere 55.8

Central America 54.2

Participation and Attempt

In progress
50.7

Western Hemisphere 58.4

Central America 67.1

Active Foreign Bribery

Not Implemented
0

Western Hemisphere 39.0

Central America 51.7

Illicit Enrichment

Implemented
71.8

Western Hemisphere 54.7

Central America 69.8

Use of State Property

Implemented
71.8

Western Hemisphere 79.5

Central America 87.6

Illicit Acquisition of a Benefit

Core-deficient
26.5

Western Hemisphere 52.1

Central America 62.5

Public Embezzlement

Implemented
71.8

Western Hemisphere 77.6

Central America 87.6

Passive Foreign Bribery

Not Implemented
0

Western Hemisphere 25.6

Central America 33.9

Private Bribery

In progress
68.7

Western Hemisphere 22.7

Central America 18.5

Private Embezzlement

Implemented
85.9

Western Hemisphere 64.7

Central America 63.2

Obstruction of Justice

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 71.4

Central America 74.0

Liability of Legal Persons

Implemented
71.8

Western Hemisphere 61.3

Central America 61.0

Statute of Limitations

Implemented
71.8

Western Hemisphere 79.6

Central America 87.6

Prosecution, Adjudication and Sanctions

Implemented
71.8

Western Hemisphere 69.5

Central America 75.5

Consequences and Compensation

In progress
65.6

Western Hemisphere 70.3

Central America 73.4

Cooperation With Law Enforcement

Implemented
87.5

Western Hemisphere 72.2

Central America 79.2

Asset Recovery

In progress
68.7

Western Hemisphere 66.4

Central America 72.7

International cooperation

In progress
66.8

Western Hemisphere 68.9

Central America 74.5

Assistance Without Criminalization

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 79.8

Central America 89.0

Inclusion in Extradition Treaties

Core-deficient
9.3

Western Hemisphere 55.1

Central America 55.8

Convention as Legal Basis for Extradition

Not Implemented
4.6

Western Hemisphere 47.5

Central America 57.6

Automatic Application Without Treaty

Core-deficient
9.3

Western Hemisphere 52.7

Central America 54.4

Prosecution Without Extradition

In progress
57.8

Western Hemisphere 57.2

Central America 55.8

Custody

In progress
57.8

Western Hemisphere 73.4

Central America 79.1

Assistance

In progress
50.7

Western Hemisphere 58.0

Central America 58.9

Impossibility of Claiming Bank Secrecy

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 84.0

Central America 98.2

Limited Use of Information

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 82.6

Central America 88.0

Nature of Act

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 84.3

Central America 97.8

Designate Central Authorities

Implemented
71.8

Western Hemisphere 75.9

Central America 90.2

Responsibilities of Central Authorities

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 71.5

Central America 72.7

Communication Between Central Authorities

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 67.3

Central America 73.6

Special Investigative Techniques

Implemented
71.8

Western Hemisphere 56.9

Central America 75.7

Technical Cooperation

In progress
68.7

Western Hemisphere 62.8

Central America 69.9

Anti-corruption conventions timeline

20012002200320042005200620072008200920102011201220132014201520162017201820192020

Conventions

  • IACAC - Inter-American Convention Against Corruption
  • UNCAC - United Nations Convention against Corruption
  • OECD Anti-Bribery Convention

Key events

  • Signed
  • Ratifed / acceded
  • Review rounds

Convention Implementation Analysis

Belize signed the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption (IACAC) on June 5, 2001, and ratified it on August 2, 2002. It is a State Party to the Follow-Up Mechanism for the Implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (MESICIC) since June 9, 2003. The country also acceded to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) on December 12, 2016. Accordingly, Belize has undergone five rounds of review under MESICIC, and one round of review under the UNCAC review mechanism.

Belize’s record in implementing its commitments to IACAC and UNCAC exhibits a number of failures and very few successes, with the bulk of the committed measures still in progress. With an overall score of 58.1, the measures adopted place the country in the lower level of compliance with international norms—but not far from countries at the middle point—surrounded by El Salvador (51.5), Dominican Republic (55.7), Haiti (58.2), and Paraguay (60.8). Despite the low level of implementation and enforcement, some degree of progress is found in all three sections (although leaning towards criminalization and international cooperation rather than prevention, as is the case throughout the region). Conversely, Belize’s significant measures may also be described as lacking across prevention and criminalization.

The prevention of corruption is deficient but not totally lacking, classified as “core-deficient” by its average score and with prominent measures given a score below 30—i.e., transparency in government contracting and the state of oversight bodies. However, aside from these and the study of preventive measures related to equitable compensation and measures to deter domestic and foreign bribery related to accounting regulations, all other provisions found in this section are found to be in progress. Indeed, preventive measures account for less than one third of all underdeveloped measures in the country.

In terms of criminalization and law enforcement, Belize shows better results than those regarding prevention—yet, significant deficiencies remain, with over a quarter of measures within this section classified as core-deficient or not implemented. The country is found to have successfully implemented two key commitments: actions to control embezzlement in the private section and the obstruction of justice. However, significant measures are found completely lacking—i.e., the criminalization of active and passive bribery of foreign officials—or given low scores, including those pertaining to the abuse of functions, whistleblower protection, and the active and passive bribery of public officials in the country. Other measures, such as the fight against money laundering, the establishment of jurisdiction over corruption offenses, and the liability of legal persons, among several others, are found in progress due to limitations in their legal features. Belize’s record in promoting and engaging with international cooperation is also lackluster, achieving an average section score only slightly higher than that for criminalization and law enforcement (discussed in the previous paragraph) and receiving a classification of “in progress”. Among the few highlights identified here, the country is found fully compliant in its commitments to establish effective central authorities charged with the handling of requests for assistance and cooperation. On the other hand, measures related to extradition are severely deficient, not least due to the fact that Belize does not recognize either convention as a legal basis for extradition. In this regard, the report for the third round of MESICIC reached the following conclusion: “Therefore, because the Convention cannot be the basis for extradition, and because Belize has only entered into bilateral extradition treaties with Guatemala, Mexico, and the United States, extradition would not be possible with any of the remaining States Parties to the Convention, with respect to the acts of corruption contained therein.”

Finally, the review of implementation and/or enforcement activities pertaining to several measures contained in this report could not be elaborated on due to the lack of information. Belize is frequently cited during MESICIC rounds as providing little or no statistical information to assess the level of implementation of legally adopted measures. This point is also brought forward by the UNCAC review mechanism. While lack of monitoring and data collection mechanisms is not solely found in Belize, the issue is worth emphasizing in order to support a more detailed and effective assessment.

Corruption Resilience

Score by indicator

Social Context

Resilient
74.4

Western Hemisphere 64.8

Central America 59.7

Quality of Government

Moderately Resilient
47.9

Western Hemisphere 50.6

Central America 47.3

Rule of Law

Moderately Resilient
49.0

Western Hemisphere 51.1

Central America 43.5

Business Stability

Moderately Resilient
45.0

Western Hemisphere 50.5

Central America 51.6

Violence & Security

Moderately Resilient
50.6

Western Hemisphere 55.0

Central America 49.1

Corruption Resilience score over the time

Analysis

In 2020, Belize's social context indicator was above the Western Hemisphere average by 9.56 points. Despite the country's score dropping by 4.11 points from the previous year, the country's civil liberties, political rights, and media freedom are respected and guaranteed. In 2010 and 2013, Belize's social context indicator scores were (81.20 and 82.77, respectively) the highest scores it has had in a decade.

With respect to the quality of government indicators, in 2020, Belize's score declined by 1.96 points from the previous year. The country's score was below the Western Hemisphere average for 2020 by 2.67 points. Since 2010, the country's score has been steadily declining. Belize's score for quality of government indicator is not optimal, and it is attributed to the serious problem of corruption within the country.

In 2020, Belize's rule of law indicator declined by 3.11 points from the previous year. The country's rule of law score has been consistently low over the decade and declining since 2010. Within the Western Hemisphere, the rule of law indicator is 51.15 for 2020, and Belize's score is 2.06 points below the average for the region. Despite an independent judicial system, there are occasions of interference in the courts by political and business entities within the country. In addition, the country has a problem with its criminal and civil justice system. The country's score improved over the decade primarily due to the independence of the judicial system. Nonetheless, the judicial system does have a few shortcomings, such as limited resources.

Belize's business stability indicator declined in 2020 by 2.53 points from the previous year. The country is 5.47 points below the Western Hemisphere 2020 average and falls in the 25th percentile. Since 2010, the country's score has been declining, where it had the highest score in 2010 of 52.36 and the lowest score of 43.04 in 2015. Belize’s declining score is largely attributed to the uneven enforcement of private property rights and inefficiency within regulations and policies.

The country's violence and security indicator decreased in 2020 by 9.81 points from the previous year. Belize's score is 3.58 points below the Western Hemisphere average for 2020. The country's indicator score has varied over the decade, reaching its lowest score in 2020 and its highest score of 70.83 in 2016. Belize's fluctuating score is largely impacted by illicit trafficking and organized crime.