In 1999, Belize Prime Minister Said Musa came to The Carter Center to evaluate anti-corruption efforts in the Americas.
The Carter Center and its Council of Presidents and Prime Ministers of the Americas initiated a multiyear project working with governments and civil societies to develop monitoring mechanisms to ensure transparency in government transactions that can serve as a worldwide model. Transparency, or openness, will improve investor confidence, spur economic growth, improve public services to the population, and increase public confidence in democratic institutions.
At a high-level conference in May 1999, leaders from across the hemisphere, including Belize Prime Minister Said Musa, came to The Carter Center to evaluate anti-corruption efforts and seek commitments from other governments to implement similar strategies in their own countries.
Although Latin America spends relatively less on defense than most other regions, expenditures on expensive weapons systems divert scarce foreign exchange from more effective investments, including education. They also compel neighbors to spend more on defense and, by doing so, generate international tensions. Concerned about an arms race in Latin America, the Carter Center's Council of Presidents and Prime Ministers of the Americas urged governments in the region to pause before embarking on major arms purchases. Between April 1997 and March 1998, 28 current and 14 former heads of government signed a written pledge to accept a moratorium of two years on purchasing sophisticated weapons. Among the signatories were former Belize Prime Ministers Manuel A. Esquivel and George Price.
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Size: 22,966 square kilometers
Population below poverty line: 41 percent
Life expectancy: 68 years
Ethnic groups: Mestizo, Creole, Maya, Garifuna, and others
Religions: Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, Seventh Day Adventist, Anglican, Mennonite, Baptist, Methodist, Nazarene, Jehovah's Witnesses, other (includes Baha'i Faith, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Mormonism), other (unknown), none
Languages: Spanish, Creole, Mayan dialects, English (official), Garifuna (Carib), German, other, unknown, none
Source: U.S. Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook 2015