The Legislature

The Legislature

The constitution and laws of Belize

THE LEGISLATURE

THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

46. There shall be a National Assembly, comprising a House of Representatives and a Senate.

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

47. The House of Representatives shall consist of members elected in the manner prescribed by the Representation of the People Ordinance. The basic principles regarding the right to vote and the Elections and Boundaries Commission will be included in the Constitution. If the person elected as Speaker is not a member of the House, then by virtue of holding the office of Speaker, he shall be a member of the House.

48. The National Assembly of Belize constituted on the day prior to the day of the independence of Belize shall continue and remain the National Assembly for the remainder of the term of office for which it was elected and shall enjoy all the powers and perform all the duties in this Constitution granted and imposed upon the National Assembly of Belize as if it had been elected hereunder.

49. After independence the Elections an Boundaries Commission shall, after considering the position in the whole of Belize, make proposals from time to time for dividing the country into constituencies in a manner which will ensure that each elected member represents a constituency comprising no less than 2,000 registered voters and no more than 3,000 until the number of constituencies reaches twenty-nine. These proposals shall not become effective until approved by a law adopted by the National Assembly.

50. Upon the elected membership of the House of Representatives reaching twenty-nine members, the National Assembly shall determine the formula to be followed by the Elections and Boundaries Commission thereafter for proposing to The National Assembly the number and size of constituencies.

MEMBERSHIP OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

51. A person shall be qualified to be elected a member of the House of Representatives or to be appointed to the Senate if he is a Belizean citizen, eighteen years old or older and has lived in Belize for at least one year immediately before the date of his nomination for election.

52. A person shall be disqualified from election as a member of the House of Representatives or appointment to the Senate if he owes allegiance to a foreign power or state, is an undischarged bankrupt, is certified insane, is under a sentence of death, or is serving a sentence of imprisonment exceeding twelve months. He is also disqualified from membership of The National Assembly if he is holding or acting in a public office, has been convicted of any offence relating to elections, or belongs to any contract with the Government of Belize and has not declared his interest publicly within one month before the date of election in the case of the House of Representatives or within one month of his appointment in the case of the Senate.

53. Every member of the National Assembly shall vacate his seat on the dissolution of the Legislature after the expiration of a period of five years from his election or appointment, or a dissolution brought about in any other manner.

54. A member of the National Assembly shall also vacate his seat if he is absent from the sittings of the House or Senate for such periods and in such circumstances as may be prescribed by the Standing Orders; if he ceases to be a citizen of Belize; or if any circumstances arise that were he not a member he would be disqualified for election or appointment to the National Assembly.

55. There shall be provision for a Speaker an Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.

THE SENATE

56. There shall be eight members of the Senate appointed by the Governor-General. The age qualification will be 18. If any person who is not a Senator is elected to be President of the Senate, he shall become a Senator.

57. Of the eight Senators five shall be appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister, two on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition, and one in his own deliberate judgment after consultation with the Belize Advisory Council.

58. If there is no opposition party represented in the House of Representatives, or if two or more opposition parties are equally represented, the two Senators may be appointed by the Governor-General on the advice in each case of a person selected by him, in his own deliberate judgment, for the purpose of tendering such advice.

59. The Governor-General may also, on advice or acting in his own deliberate judgment as the case may be, declare the seat of a Senator vacant. The Governor-General may declare a Senator to be temporarily incapable of performing his functions by reason of illness, in which case such Senator shall not perform his functions until he is declared by the Governor-General capable of performing them.

60. There shall be provision for a President and a Vice-President of the Senate.

THE CLERK OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

61. There shall be a Clerk and Deputy Clerk to the National Assembly who shall perform their functions at the direction of the presiding officers of the Assembly.

POWERS, PROCEDURES AND PRIVILEGES

62. The National Assembly may make laws for the peace, order and good government of Belize.

63. The National Assembly shall not have the power to amend the Constitution until after the first general election following independence (save for minor amendments on which there is unanimous agreement in the National Assembly).

64. Thereafter the powers of the National Assembly to amend the Constitution shall be as follows:

a. No amendment shall be made to the Constitution except by a Bill approved by a final vote in the House of Representatives of no less than two-thirds of the membership; and

b. in regard to the provisions relating to Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the House of Representatives, the Judiciary, the Belize Advisory Council, the Public Services Commission, and the provisions concerning amendment of the Constitution, no amendment shall be made unless ninety days have elapsed between the presentation of a Bill and its second reading in the House of Representatives and the Bill is approved in the House of Representatives by a final vote of no less than three-quarters of the membership.

65. A Minister shall be permitted to address the House of which he is not a member, but shall not have a vote in that House.

66. No civil or criminal proceedings may be instituted against any member of either House for words spoken before, or written in a report to, either House or a committee of both Houses, or for any matter brought by him in the form of a petition, bill, resolution, motion or otherwise.

67. Except as otherwise provide in the Constitution, all questions proposed for decision in either House shall be determined by a majority of the votes of the members present and voting.

68. A Speaker elected from among members of the House of Representatives (or in the case of the Senate, the President) shall have an original vote, but not a casting vote. A Speaker elected from outside the House of Representatives (or in the case of the Senate, the President) shall have no vote.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

69. A Bill, other than a money Bill, may be introduced in either House. A money Bill shall not be introduced in the Senate.

70. Except on the recommendation or with the consent of the Cabinet signified by a Minister, neither House shall proceed with not amend any Bill which provides for taxation, imposing or altering any charge on the country's revenues or funds, or compound or remit any debt due to Belize.

71. If a money Bill passed by the House of Representatives and sent to the Senate is not passed by the Senate without amendment within one month after it is sent to that House, the Bill shall be present to the Governor-General for assent, not withstanding that the Senate has not consented. The Speaker shall endorse with his certificate every money Bill when it is passed by the National Assembly.

72. A Bill passed by the House of Representatives for two successive sessions, and having been sent to the Senate on two successive occasions, shall, on its rejection the second time by the Senate, be presented to the Governor-General for assent, notwithstanding that the Senate has not consented to the Bill. Six months must elapse between the time the Bill is first passed by the House of Representatives in the first session and the time it is passed in the second session.

73. When a Bill is presented to the Governor-General for assent, he shall signify his assent or that he withholds assent. A Bill shall not become law inless it has been duly passed and assented to in accordance with the Constitution.

SESSIONS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

74. Each session of the National Assembly shall be held at such place within Belize and shall commence at such time as the Governor-General shall by Proclamation appoint. There shall be a session of each House at least once in every year so that a period of six months shall not intervene between the last sitting of the National Assembly in one session and the first sitting in the next session.

75. The Governor General, acting on the advice of the Prime Minister may at any time prorogue or dissolve the National Assembly shall continue for five years from the date of the first sitting of both House after any dissolution and shall then stand dissolved. If at any time Belize is at war, the National Assembly may by legislation extend the period of five years for not more than twelve months at a time, provide that the life of the National Assembly shall not be extended for more than two years.

76. If between the dissolution of the National Assembly and the next ensuing general election, an emergency arises that in the opinion of the Prime Minister makes it necessary to convene the National Assembly before the general election can be held, the Governor-General, acting on the advice of the Prime Minister, may summon the two Houses of the preceding National Assembly and that National Assembly shall be deemed not to have been dissolved until the date on which the next general election is held.

77. A general election shall be held at such time within three months of every dissolution of the National Assembly as the Governor-General, on the advice of the Prime Minister, shall appoint. As soon as is practicable after any general election, The Governor-General shall proceed to the appointment of Senators.

78. During the period between a dissolution of the National Assembly and the first meeting thereof after any general election, the Government of Belize shall continue to be administered by the Prime Minister and the other Ministers and Deputy Ministers of Government.

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

Constitution Legislature 2022


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