National Seal

Interpretation

The constitution and laws of Belize

INTERPRETATION

131.- (1) In this constitution, unless the context otherwise requires -

"Belize" means the land and sea areas defined in Schedule 1 to this Constitution;

"Commonwealth citizen" has such meaning as the National Assembly may prescribe;

"Court of Appeal" means the Court of Appeal established by this Constitution;

"Crown" means the Crown in right of Belize;

"financial year" means the twelve months ending on 31st March in any year or on such other date as may form time to time be prescribed by any law enacted by the National Assembly:

"the Gazette" means the Belize Government Gazette and includes any supplement thereto;

"the Government" means the Government of Belize;

"the House" means the House of Representatives or the Senate the context may require;

"the House of Representatives" means the House of Representatives established by this Constitution;

"Independence Day" means 21st September, 1981;

"law" means any law in force in Belize or any part thereof, including any instrument having the force of law and any unwritten rule of law, and "lawful" and "lawfully" shall be construed accordingly;

"Minister" means a Minister of the government;

"the National Assembly" means the National established by this Constitution;

"oath" of allegiance and office" means the oath prescribed in Schedule 3 to this Constitution;

"Police Force" means the Belize Police Force;

"President" and "Vice-President" mean the respective person holding office as President and Vice-President of the Senate;

"public office" means any office of emolument in the public service;

"public officer" means a person holding or acting in nay public office;

"the public service" means, subject to the provisions of this section, the service of the Crown in a civil capacity in respect of the Government;

"Senate" means the Senate Established by this Constitution;

"session" means, in relation to a House of the National Assembly, the sittings of that House commencing when it first meets after the prorogation or dissolution of the National Assembly at any time and terminating when the National Assembly is prorogued or is dissolved without having been prorogued;

"sitting" means, in relation to a House of the National Assembly, a period during which that House is sitting continuously without adjournment and includes any period during which the House is in committee;

"Speaker" and "Deputy Speaker" mean the respective persons holding office as Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives;

"Supreme Court" means the Supreme Court of Judicature established by this Constitution.

(2) Except in section 63(1) and 71 of this Constitution, references in this Constitution to a members of the House of Representatives or to a Senator or Senators do not include references to a person who, under section 56(2), is a member of the House by virtue of holding the office of Speaker, or who, under section 61(1), is a Senator by virtue of holding the office of President.

(3) In this Constitution, unless the context otherwise requires, references to an office in the public service shall be construed as including references to the offices of justice of the Supreme Court and Justice of Appeal, offices of members of the Police Force, and offices on the Governor General's personal staff.

(4) In this Constitution, unless the context otherwise requires, references to an office in the public service shall not be construed as including references to the offices of Prime Minister or other Minister, Deputy Minister, Speaker or Deputy Speaker or member of the House of Representatives, President or Vice-President or Senator member of the Belize Advisory Council, or member's of any Commission established by this Constitution.

(5) For the purposes of this Constitution, a person shall not be regarded as holding a public office by reason only of the fact that he is in receipt of a pension or other like allowance in respect of service under the Crown.

(6) Save as otherwise provided in this Constitution, the Interpretation Ordinance 1980 as in force immediately before Independence Day shall apply, with the necessary adaptations, for the purpose of interpreting this Constitution.

Constitution of Belize

Preamble

Chapter I - The State And The Constitution


1. The State

2. Constitution Is Supreme Law

Chapter II - Protection Of Fundamental Rights And Freedoms


3. Fundamental Rights And Freedoms

4. Protection Of Right To Life

5. Protection Of Right To Personal Liberty

6. Protection Of Law

7. Protection From Inhuman Treatment

8. Protection From Slavery And Forced Labor

9. Protection From Arbitrary Search Or Entry

10. Protection Of Freedom Of Movement

11. Protection Of Freedom Of Conscience

12. Protection Of Freedom Of Expression

13. Protection Of Freedom Of Assembly And Association

14. Protection Of Right Of Privacy

15. Protection Of Right To Work

16. Protection From Discrimination On The Grounds Or Race, Etc

17. Protection From Deprivation Of Property

18. Provisions For Periods Of Public Emergency

19. Protection Of Persons Detained Under Emergency Laws

20. Enforcement Of Protective Provisions

21. Protection Of Existing Laws

22. Interpretation And Savings

Chapter III - Citizenship


23. Person Who Become Citizens On Independence Day

24. Person Born In Belize On Or After Independence Day

25. Person Born Outside Belize On Or After Independence Day

26. Registration

27. Avoidance Of Dual Nationality

28. Citizenship Legislation

29. Interpretation

Chapter IV - The Governor-general


30. Establishment Of Office

31. Acting Governor-general

32. Oath To Be Taken By Governor-general

33. Deputy To Governor-general

34. Exercise Of Governor-general's Functions

35. Governor-general To Be Informed Concerning Matters Of Government

Chapter V - The Executive


36. Executive Authority

37. Prime Minister

38. Deputy Prime Minister

39. Performance Of Functions Of Prime Minister During Absence Or Illness

40. Ministers Of Government

41. Allocation Of Portfolios To Ministers

42. Attorney General

43. Performance Of Functions Of Minister During Absence Or Illness

44. Cabinet

45. Deputy Minister

46. Oath To Be Taken By Ministers Etc.

47. Leader Of The Opposition

48. Permanent Secretaries

49. Secretary To The Cabinet

50. Control Of Public Prosecutions

51. Constitution Of Offices Etc

52. Prerogative Of Mercy

53. Procedure In Capital Cases

54. Belize Advisory Council

Chapter VI - The Legislature


55. Establishment Of Legislature

The House Of Representatives


56. Composition Of House Of Representatives

57. Qualifications For Election As Member

58. Disqualifications For Election As Member

59. Tenure Of Office Of Members

60. Speaker And Deputy Speaker

The Senate


61. Composition Of Senate

62. Qualifications For Appointment As Senator

63. Disqualifications For Appointment As Senator

64. Tenure Of Office Of Senator

65. Appointment Of Temporary Senators

66. President And Vice-president

67. Clerks To Houses Of National Assembly

Powers And Procedure


68. Power To Make Laws

69. Alteration Of Constitution

70. Regulation Of Procedure In National Assembly, Etc

71. Oath To Be Taken By Members Of National Assembly

72. Presiding In House Of Representatives And Senate

73. Voting

74. Freedom Of Speech

75. Validity Of Proceedings

76. Quorum

77. Introduction Of Bills, Etc

78. Restriction On Powers Of Senate As To Money Bills

79. Restriction On Powers Of Senate As To Bill Other Than Money Bills

80. Provisions Relating To Sections 77, 78 And 79

81. Mode Of Exercise Of Legislative Power

82. Words Of Enactment

83. Sessions Of Legislature, Etc

84. Prorogation And Dissolution Of Legislature

85. General Elections And Appointment Of Senators

86. Determination Of Questions As To Membership Of National Assembly

87. Unqualified Persons Sitting Or Voting

88. Election And Boundaries Commission

89. Electoral Divisions

90. Increase Of Electoral Divisions

91. Redivision Of Electoral Divisions

92. Conduct Of Voting

93. Conduct Of Elections, Etc

Chapter VII - The Judiciary


94. Establishment Of Supreme Court And Court Of Appeal

95. The Supreme Court

96. Reference Of Constitutional Questions To Supreme Court

97. Appointment Of Justices Of Supreme Court

98. Tenure of office of justices of Supreme Court

99. Oath To Be Taken By Justices Of Supreme Court

100. Appeals To The Court Of Appeal

101. Appointment of justices of appeal

102. Tenure of office of justices of appeal

103. Oath to be taken by justice of appeal

104. Appeals to her majesty in council

Chapter VIII - The Public Service


105. Public Services Commission

106. Appointment, Etc. Of Public Officers

107. Appointment, etc. of permanent secretaries and certain other officers

108. Director of public prosecutions

109. Auditor General

110. Appointment, etc, of junior police officers

111. Appeals in discipline cases

112. Pension laws and protection of pension rights

113. Grant and withholding of pensions, etc

Chapter IX - Finance


114. Establishment of consolidated revenue fund

115. Authorization of expenditure from consolidated revenue fund

116. Authorization of expenditure in advance of appropriation

117. Contingencies Fund

118. Remuneration of certain officers

119. Public Debt

120. Audit of public accounts, etc

Chapter X - Miscellaneous


121. Code of conduct

122. National Symbols

123. Powers of appointment and acting appointments

124. Reappointments and concurrent appointments

125. Removal from office

126. Resignations

127. Saving for jurisdiction of courts

128. Power to amend and revoke instruments, etc

129. Consultation

130. National Seal

131. Interpretation

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