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Belizean dissident seeks safe haven abroad

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Noel Awak, a Belizean whistleblower wanted in Belize for espionage, is seeking political protection abroad. As a member of Clandestine Services tasked with collecting data and classified information to expose corruption at the upper levels of government in the region, he found overwhelming evidence that showed that while some lower-ranking officials faced criminal charges and/or disciplinary action, higher-ranking officials were less likely to face the penalty, resulting in a perception of impunity.

Corruption in Belize, accepted as normal behavior or culture, threatens the stability, integrity, and security of the nation that is fast becoming a haven for local and international criminals and spreading beyond its borders. Although the government passed an Act in 2007 against political corruption, there remained corruption deeply rooted in the government that enacted the Act into law. In 2008, Belize scored 2.9 points out of 10 on a scale from zero (highly corrupt) to ten (highly clean) on the Corruption Perception Index reported by Transparency International. Since then, the Belizean government has chosen not to participate again.

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Leaked data included communications between government officials to ignore the official inquiry and not acknowledge receipt of the hаnd-dеlіvеrеd formal request from the Belize Peace Movement (BPM) to report on the progress of the implementation of the Unіtеd Nаtіоnѕ Соnvеntіоn Аgаіnѕt Соrruрtіоn (UNСАС) whісh thе gоvеrnmеnt ѕіgnеd іn 2016. Other shocking data from hacked government emails and phone conversations reveal numerous scandals: selling of passports, facilitating illegal votes, buying votes, ties to police corruption, favorable treatments and nepotism, non-accountability of revenues, deposits of vast sums of money by top government officials in offshore bank accounts, and massive violations of human rights.

From Parliament to the Judiciary, from the Senate to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, embezzlement and bribery greased the wheels of government and business. Opportunistic politicians extort, rule by self-interest, and destroy industries for greed. The theft of public funds that should build infrastructure and provide social services has stalled the nation’s growth and development. These egregious acts also undermine law enforcement, the national character, and any trust in the government. Therefore, the so-called “government of the people” does not work for the people.

Consequently, the Belizean government is persecuting and torturing Noel’s son, Aaron. “It’s unfair for any child to suffer for his father’s actions,” he lamented. There is a saying in Belize, “if you can’t ketch Harry, yu ketch hi shirt,” meaning if the government cannot take actions against you, your loved ones become the targets for retaliation and retribution. “My son is being detained and tortured in an attempt to coerce and extort confessions about my whereabouts,” he said. A government with the shameless audacity to arbitrarily deprive anyone of his or her freedom for months without due process is a government that believes it is above the law.

Noel appeals to the free-world to come to his aid because his son is suffering intense persecution and torture from the Belizean government.

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