home   |   e-library   |   legal aid   |   the laws of Belize   |   the judiciary   |   sitemap   |   contact

Chapter 4 of the Laws of Belize - THE CONSTITUTION OF BELIZE

PART VI

The Legislature

55. There shall be in and for Belize a Legislature which shall
consist of a National Assembly comprising two Houses, that is to say, a House of Representatives and a Senate.

The House of Representatives

56.-(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, the House of Representatives shall consist of eighteen members who shall be elected in the manner provided by law.

(2) If any person who is not a member of the House of Representatives is elected to be Speaker of the House he shall, by virtue of holding the office of Speaker, be a member of the House in addition to the eighteen members aforesaid.

(3) The National Assembly, in accordance with the provisions of of section 90 of this Constitution, may by law increase the number of members of the House of Representatives.

57. Subject to the provisions of section 58 of this Constitution, a person shall be qualified to be elected as a member of the House of Repre-sentatives if, and shall not be qualified to be so elected unless, he-

(a) is a citizen of Belize of the age of eighteen years or upwards; and

(b) has resided in Belize for a period of at least one year immediately before the date of his nomination for election.

58.-(l) No person shall be qualified to be elected as a member of the
House of Representatives who-

(a) is, by virtue of his own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or State;

(b) is an undischarged bankrupt, having been adjudged or otherwise declared bankrupt under any law in force in any part of the Commonwealth;

(c) is a person certified to be insane or otherwise adjudged to be of unsound mind under any law;

(d) is under sentence of death imposed on him by a court in any part of the Commonwealth or is serving a sentence of imprisonment (by whatever name called) exceeding twelve months imposed on him by such a court or substituted by competent authority for some other sentence imposed on him by such a court, or is under such a sentence of imprisonment the execution of which has been suspended;

(e) is disqualified for membership of the House of Representatives by any law by reason of his holding, or acting in, any office the functions of which involve-

(i) any responsibility for, or in connection with, the con- duct of any election, or

(ii) any responsibility for the compilation or revision of any electoral register;

(f) is disqualified for membership of the House of Representatives by virtue of any law by reason of his having been convicted of any offence relating to elections;

(g) is disqualified for membership of the House of Representatives under any law by virtue of-

(i) his holding or acting in any office or appointment specified (either individually or by reference to a class of office or appointment) by such law;

(ii) his belonging to any of the armed forces of Belize or to any class of person that is comprised in any such force; or

(iii) his belonging to any police force or to any class of persons that is comprised in any such force; or

(h) is a party to, or a partner in a firm or a director or manager of a company which is a party to, any contract with the government for or on account of the public service and has not, within one month before the day of election, declared publicly and in a newspaper circulating in the electoral division for which he is a candidate a notice setting out the nature of the contract and his interest, or the interest of any such firm or company therein:

Provided that if it appears to the Governor-General, acting in his own
deliberate judgment, that it is proper so to do, he may by order direct that any such disqualification shall be disregarded for the purposes of this section, but no such order shall be made if proceedings have been commenced calling in question the right of that member to be a member of the House of Representatives on the ground that he is disqualified under this paragraph.

(2) For the purposes of paragraph (d) of subsection (1) of this section-

(a) two or more sentences of imprisonment that are required to be served consecutively shall be regarded as separate sentences if none of those sentences exceeds twelve months, but if any one of such sentences exceeds that term they shall be regarded as one sentence; and

(b) no account shall be taken of a sentence of imprisonment imposed as an alternative to or in default of the payment of a fine.

59.-(l) Every member of the House of Representatives shall vacate his
seat in the House at the next dissolution of the National Assembly after his election.

(2) A member of the House of Representatives shall also vacate his seat in the House -


(a) if he is absent from the sittings of the House for such period and in such circumstances as may be prescribed in the Standing Orders of the House;

(b) if he ceases to be a citizen of Belize;

(c) subject to the provisions of subsection (3) of the section, if any circumstances arise that, if he were not a member of the House of Representatives, would cause him to be disqualified for election thereto by virtue of section 58(l) of this Constitution; or

(d) if he shall become a party to any contract with the government for or on account of the public service, or if any firm in which he is a partner or any company of which he is a director or manager shall become a party to any such contract, or if he shall become a partner in a firm or a director or manager of a company which is a party to any such contract:

Provided that if in the circumstances it shall appear to them just so to do, the House of Representatives by resolution may exempt any member thereof from vacating his seat under the provisions of this paragraph if such member shall, before becoming a party to such contract as aforesaid or before or as soon as practicable after becoming otherwise interested in such contract (whether as partner in a firm or director or manager of a company), disclose to the House the nature of such contract and his interest or the interest of any such firm or company therein.

(3)(a) If circumstances such as are referred to in paragraph (c) of subsection (2) of this section arise because any member of the House of Representatives is under sentence of death or imprisonment, or adjudged to be insane or otherwise of unsound mind, or declared bankrupt and undischarged, or convicted of an offence relating to elections, and if it is open to the member to appeal against the decision (either with the leave of a court or other authority or without such leave), he shall forthwith cease to perform his functions as a member of the House but, subject to the provisions of this subsection, he shall not vacate his seat until the expiration of a period of thirty days thereafter:

Provided that the Speaker may from time to time extend that period for further periods of thirty days to enable the member to pursue an appeal against the decision, so, however, that extensions of time exceeding in the aggregate one hundred and fifty days shall not be given without the approval, signified by resolution, of the House.

(b) If, on the determination of any appeal, such circumstances continue to exist and no further appeal is open to the member, or if, by reason of the expiration of any period for entering an appeal or notice thereof or the refusal of leave to appeal or for any other reason, it ceases to be open to the member to appeal, he shall forthwith vacate his seat.

(c) If at any time before the member of the House vacates his seat such circumstances as aforesaid cease to exist, his seat shall not become vacant on the expiration of the period referred to in paragraph (a) of this subsection and he may resume the performance of his functions as a member of the House.

60.-(l) When the House of Representatives first meets after any general election and before it proceeds to the despatch of any other business it shall elect a person to be Speaker of the House; and, if the office of Speaker falls vacant at any time before the next dissolution of the National Assembly, the House shall, as soon as practicable, elect another person to that office.

(2) The Speaker shall be above the age of thirty years and may be elected either from among the members of the House of Representatives who are not Ministers or from among persons who are not members of either House:

Provided that a person who is not a member of either House shall not be elected as Speaker if-

(a) he is not a citizen of Belize; or

(b) he is a person disqualified for election as a member of the House of Representatives by virtue of section 58(l) of this Constitution.

(3) When the House of Representatives first meets after any gen- eral election and before it proceeds to the despatch of any other business except the election of the Speaker, the House shall elect a member of the House, who is not a Minister, to be Deputy Speaker of the House; and if the office of Deputy Speaker falls vacant at any time before the next dissolution of the National Assembly, the House shall, as soon as practica- ble, elect another such member to that office.

(4) A person shall vacate the office of Speaker or Deputy Speaker-

(a) in the case of a Speaker elected from among members of the House of Representatives or in the case of the Deputy Speaker-

(i) if he ceases to be a member of the House; or

(ii) if he is appointed to be a Minister;

(b) in the case of a Speaker elected from among persons who are not members of either House-

(i) upon any dissolution of the National Assembly;

(ii) if he ceases to be a citizen of Belize; or

(iii) if any circumstances arise which would cause him to be disqualified for election as a member of the House by virtue of section 58(l) of this Constitution;

(c) in the case of the Deputy Speaker, if he is elected to be Speaker.

(5)(a) If, by virtue of section 59(3) of this Constitution, the Speaker or Deputy Speaker is required to cease to perform his functions as a member of the House of Representatives he shall also cease to perform his functions as Speaker or Deputy Speaker, as the case may be, and those functions shall, until he vacates his seat in the House or resumes the performance of the functions of his office, be performed-

(i) in the case of the Speaker, by the Deputy Speaker or, if the office of Deputy Speaker is vacant, by such member of the House (not being a Minister) as the House may elect for the purpose;

(ii) in the case of the Deputy Speaker, by such member of the House (not being a Minister) as the House may elect for the purpose.

(b) If the Speaker or Deputy Speaker resumes the performance
of his functions as a member of the House, in accordance with the provisions of section 59(3) of this Constitution, he shall also resume the performance of his functions as Speaker or Deputy Speaker, as the case may be.

The Senate

61.-(l) The Senate shall consist of eight members (in this Constitution referred to as “Senators”) who shall be appointed by the Governor-General in accordance with the provisions of this section:

Provided that if any person who is not a Senator is elected to be President of the Senate he shall, by virtue of holding office of President, be a Senator in addition to the eight members aforesaid.

(2) Of the eight Senators-

(a) five shall be appointed by the Governor-General acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister;

(b) two shall be appointed in accordance with the provisions of subsection (3) of this section;

(c) one shall be appointed by the Governor-General acting after consultation with the Belize Advisory Council.

(3) The two Senators referred to in subsection (2)(b) of this
section shall be appointed-

(a) by the Governor-General acting in accordance with the
advice of the Leader of the Opposition; or

(b) if the office of Leader of the Opposition is vacant, then-

(i) by the Governor-General acting in accordance with the advice of a person selected by him, in his own deliberate judgment, for the purpose of tendering such advice; or

(ii) if the Governor-General, in his own deliberate judgment, decides to select two such persons, by the Governor-General acting in accordance with the advice of such persons, each of whom shall advise him on the appointment of one Senator.

62. Subject to the provisions of section 63 of this Constitution, a person shall be qualified to be appointed as a Senator if, and shall not be qualified to be so appointed unless, he-

(a) is a citizen of Belize of the age of eighteen years or upwards; and

(b) has resided in Belize for a period of at least one year immediately before the date of his appointment.

63.-(1) No person shall be qualified to be appointed as a Senator who-

(a) is, by virtue of his own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or State;

(b) is a member of the House of Representatives;

(c) is an undischarged bankrupt, having been adjudged or otherwise declared bankrupt under any law in force in any part of the Commonwealth;

(d) is a person certified to be insane or otherwise to be of unsound mind under any law;

(e) is under sentence of death imposed upon him by a court in any part of the Commonwealth or is serving a sentence of imprisonment (by whatever name called) exceeding twelve months imposed on him by such a court or substituted by competent authority for some other sentence imposed on him by such a court, or is under such a sentence of imprisonment the execution of which has been suspended;

(f) is disqualified for membership of the House of Representatives by any law by reason of his holding, or acting in, any office the functions of which involve-

(i) any responsibility for, or in connection with, the con- duct of any election; or

(ii) any responsibility for the compilation or revision of any electoral register;

(g) is disqualified for membership of the House of Representa- tives by virtue of any law by reason of his having been con- victed of any offence relating to elections;

(h) is disqualified for membership of the Senate under any law by virtue of-

(i) his holding or acting in any office or appointment speci- fied (either individually or by reference to a class of office or appointment) by such law;

(ii) his belonging to any of the armed forces of Belize or to any class of person that is comprised in any such force; or

(iii) his belonging to any police force or to any class of person that is comprised in any such force; or

(i) is a party to, or a partner in a firm or a director or manager of a company which is a party to, any contract with the Government for or on account of the public service, and has not disclosed to the Governor-General the nature of such contract and his interest, or the interest of any such firm or company, therein:

Provided that if it appears to the Governor-General, acting in his own deliberate judgment, that it is proper so to do, he may by order direct that any such disqualification shall be disregarded for the purposes of this section.

(2) For the purposes of paragraph (e) of subsection (1) of this section-

(a) two or more sentences of imprisonment that are required to be served consecutively shall be regarded as separate sentences if none of those sentences exceeds twelve months, but if any one of such sentences exceeds that term they shall be regarded as one sentence; and

(b) no account shall be taken of a sentence of imprisonment imposed as an alternative to or in default of the payment of a fine.

64.-(l) Every Senator shall vacate his seat in the Senate at the next dissolution of the National Assembly after his appointment.

(2) A Senator shall also vacate his seat in the Senate-

(a) if he is absent from the sittings of the Senate for such period and in such circumstances as may be prescribed in the Standing Orders of the Senate;

(b) if, with his consent, he is nominated as a candidate for election to the House of Representatives;

(c) if he ceases to be a citizen of Belize;

(d) subject to the provisions of subsection (3) of this section, if any circumstances arise that, if he were not a Senator, would cause him to be disqualified for appointment as such by virtue of section 63(1) of this Constitution;

(e) if the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister in the case of a Senator appointed in accordance with that advice, or acting in accordance with the advice of the Leader of the Opposition in the case of a Senator appointed in accordance with that advice, or acting after consultation with the Belize Advisory Council in the case of a Senator appointed after such consultation, declares the seat of that Senator to be vacant; or

(f) if he shall become a party to any contract with the Govern- ment for or on account of the public service, or if any firm in which he is a partner or any company of which he is a director or manager shall become a party to any such contract, or if he shall become a partner in a firm or a director or manager of a company which is a party to any such contract:

Provided that if in the circumstances it shall appear to him to be just so to do, the Governor-General, acting in his own deliberate judgment, may exempt any Senator from vacating his seat under the provisions of this paragraph if such Senator shall, before becoming a party to such contract as aforesaid or before or as soon as practicable after becoming otherwise interested in such contract (whether as partner in a firm or director or manager of a company), disclose to the Governor-General the nature of such contract and his interest or the interest of any such firm or company therein.


(3)(a) If circumstances such as are referred to in paragraph (d) of subsection (2) of this section arise because a Senator is under sentence of death or imprisonment, or adjudged to be insane or otherwise of unsound mind, or declared bankrupt and is undischarged, or convicted of an offence relating to elections, and it is open to the Senator to appeal against the decision (either with the leave of a court or other authority or without such leave), he shall forthwith cease to perform his functions as a Senator but, subject to the provisions of this subsection, he shall not vacate his seat until the expiration of a period of thirty days thereafter:

Provided that the President of the Senate may from time to time extend that period for further periods of thirty days to enable the Senator to pursue an appeal against the decision, so, however, that extensions of time exceeding in the aggregate one hundred and fifty days shall not be given without the approval, signified by resolution, of the Senate.

(b) If, on the determination of an appeal, such circumstances continue to exist and no further appeal is open to the Senator, or if, by reason of the expiration of any period for entering an appeal or notice thereof or the refusal of leave to appeal or for any other reason, it ceases to be open to the Senator to appeal, he shall forthwith vacate his seat.

(c) If at any time before the Senator vacates his seat such circumstances as aforesaid cease to exist, his seat shall not become vacant on the expiration of the period referred to in paragraph (a) of this subsection and he may resume the performance of his functions as Senator.

65.-(l) The Governor-General may declare a Senator to be, by reason of illness, temporarily incapable of performing his functions as a Senator and thereupon such Senator shall not perform his said functions until he is declared by the Governor-General again to be capable of performing them.

(2) Whenever a Senator is incapable of performing his functions as a Senator by reason of his absence from Belize or by virtue of the provisions of section 64 of this Constitution or by reason of a declaration made under the last foregoing subsection, the Governor-General may appoint a person qualified for appointment as a Senator to be temporarily a member of the Senate.

(3) Subsections (1) and (2) of section 64 of this Constitution shall apply in relation to a person appointed as a Senator under this section as they apply in relation to a Senator appointed under section 61 (except that paragraph (d) of the said subsection (2) shall apply as if it were not expressed to be subject to subsection (3) of the said section 64) and an appointment made under this section shall in any case cease to have effect when the person appointed is notified by the Governor-General that the circumstances giving rise to his appointment have ceased to exist.

(4) In the exercise of the powers conferred on him by this section the Governor-General shall act-

(a) in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister in relation to an appointment to be temporarily a member of the Senate in place of a Senator appointed in pursuance of paragraph (a) of subsection (2) of section 61 of this Constitution;

(b) in accordance with the advice of the Leader of the Opposi- tion in relation to an appointment to be temporarily a member of the Senate in place of a Senator appointed in pursuance of paragraph (b) of subsection (2) of the said section;

(c) after consultation with the Belize Advisory Council in any other case.

66.-(1) When the Senate first meets after any general election and before it proceeds to the despatch of any other business, it shall elect a person to be President of the Senate; and, if the office of President falls vacant at any time before the next dissolution of the National Assembly, the Senate shall, as soon as practicable, elect another person to that office.

(2) When the Senate first meets after any general election and before it proceeds to the despatch of any other business except the election of the President, it shall elect a Senator, who is not a Minister, to be Vice-President of the Senate; and if the office of Vice-President falls vacant at any time before the next dissolution of the National Assembly, the Senate shall, as soon as practicable, elect another Senator to that office.

(3) The President and the Vice-President shall be above the age of thirty years and the President may be elected either from among the Senators who are not Ministers or from among persons who are not members of either House:

Provided that a person who is not a member of either House shall not be elected as President if-

(a) he is not a citizen of Belize; or

(b) he is a person disqualified for election as a member of the House of Representatives by virtue of section 58(l) of this Constitu- tion.

(4) A person shall vacate the office of President or Vice-President
of the Senate-

(a) in the case of a President elected from among members of the Senate or in the case of the Vice-President-

(i) if he ceases to be a Senator; or

(ii) if he is appointed to be a Minister;


(b) in the case of a President elected from among persons who are not members of either House-

(i) upon any dissolution of the National Assembly;

(ii) if he ceases to be a citizen of Belize; or

(iii) if any circumstances arise which would cause him to be disqualified for election as a member of the House of Representatives by virtue of section 58(l) of this Constitution;

(c) in the case of the Vice-President, if he is elected to be President.

(5)(a) If, by virtue of section 64(3) of this Constitution, the President or the Vice-President is required to cease to perform his functions as a Senator he shall also cease to perform his functions as President or Vice-President, as the case may be, and those functions shall, until he vacates his seat in the Senate or resumes the performance of the functions of his office, be performed-

(i) in the case of the President, by the Vice-President or, if the office of Vice-President is vacant, by such Sena- tor (not being a Minister) as the Senate may elect for the purpose;

(ii) in the case of the Vice-President, by such Senator (not being a Minister) as the Senate may elect for the purpose.

(b) If the President or Vice-President resumes the performance of his functions as Senator, in accordance with the provisions of section 64(3) of this Constitution, he shall also resume the performance of his functions as President or Vice-President, as the case may be.

67.-(l) There shall be a Clerk to the National Assembly (who shall be the Clerk of both Houses) and a Deputy Clerk and such other assistants as may be necessary.

(2) The National Assembly may by law regulate the recruitment and the conditions of service of persons referred to in subsection (1).

Powers and Procedure

68. Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the National Assembly may make laws for the peace, order and good government of Belize.

69.-(1) The National Assembly may alter any of the provisions of this Constitution in the manner specified in the following provisions of this section.

(2) Until after the first general election held after Independence Day a Bill to alter any of the provisions of this Constitution shall not be regarded as being passed by the National Assembly unless on its final reading in each House the Bill is supported by the unanimous vote of all members of that House.

(3) A Bill to alter this section, Schedule 2 to this Constitution or any of the provisions of this Constitution specified in that Schedule shall not be regarded as being passed by the House of Representatives unless on its final reading in the House the Bill is supported by the votes of not less than three-quarters of all the members of the House.

(4) A Bill to alter any of the provisions of this Constitution other
than those referred to in subsection (3) of this section shall not be regarded as being passed by the House of Representatives unless on its final reading in the House the Bill is supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds of all the members of the House.

(5) A Bill to alter any of the provisions of this Constitution referred to in subsection (3) of this section shall not be submitted to the Governor-General for his assent unless there has been an interval of not less than ninety days between the introduction of the Bill in the House of Representatives and the beginning of the proceedings in the House on the second reading of the Bill.

(6) (a) A Bill to alter any of the provisions of this Constitution shall not be submitted to the Governor-General for assent unless it is accompanied by a certificate of the Speaker signed by him that the provisions of sub-section (2), (3) or (4) of this section, as the case may be, have been complied with.

(b) The certificate of the Speaker under this subsection shall be conclusive that the provisions of subsection (2), (3) or (4) of this section, as the case may be, have been complied with and shall not be enquired into by any court of law.

(c) In this subsection, references to the Speaker shall, if the person holding the office of Speaker is for any reason unable to perform the functions of his office and no other person is performing them, include references to the Deputy Speaker.

(7) In this section and Schedule 2 to this Constitution, references to any of the provisions of this Constitution include references to any law that alters that provision.

(8) In this section, references to altering this Constitution or any provision thereof include references-

(a) to revoking it, with or without re-enactment thereof or the making of different provision in lieu thereof;

(b) to modifying it, whether by omitting or amending any of its
provisions or inserting additional provisions in it or otherwise; and

(c) to suspending its operations for any period or terminating any such suspension.

70.-(l) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, each House may
make, amend or revoke Standing Orders for the regulation and orderly conduct of its own proceedings and the despatch of business, and the passing, instituting and numbering of Bills and the presentation of the same to the Governor-General for assent.

(2) A Minister shall be permitted to address the House of which he is not a member but shall have no vote in that House.

71.-(1) Except for the purposes of enabling this section to be complied with, no member of either House shall sit or vote therein, or be entitled to receive any salary or emoluments in respect of his office until he has made and subscribed before that House the oath of allegiance and office:

Provided that the election of a Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and the election of a President and Vice-President of the Senate may take place before the members of the House of Representatives or of the Senate, as the case may be, have made and subscribed such oath.

(2) If between the time when a person becomes a member of the House of Representatives and the time when that House first meets thereafter, a meeting takes place of any committee of that House of which that person is a member, that person may, in order to enable him to attend the meeting and take part in the proceedings of the committee, make and subscribe the oath before the Speaker or, if the Speaker is absent from Belize or the office of Speaker is vacant, before the Deputy Speaker; and the making and subscribing of the oath in such manner shall suffice for all the purposes of this section.

(3) The provisions of subsection (2) of this section shall apply in relation to a person who becomes a member of the Senate as they apply in relation to a person who becomes a member of the House of Representatives but as if references to the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker were references to the President and the Vice-President.

72.-(l) The Speaker, or in his absence, the Deputy Speaker, or, if they are both absent, a member of the House of Representatives (not being a Minister) elected by the House for that sitting shall preside at each sitting of the House.

(2) The President, or in his absence, the Vice-President, or, if they are both absent, a Senator (not being a Minister) elected by the Senate for that sitting shall preside at each sitting of the Senate.

(3) References in this section to circumstances in which the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, President or Vice-President is absent include references to circumstances in which the office of Speaker, Deputy Speaker, President or Vice-President is vacant.

73.-(l) Save as otherwise provided in this Constitution, all questions proposed for decision in either House shall be determined by a majority of the votes of the members thereof present and voting.

(2) A Speaker elected from among persons who are members of the House of Representatives or a President elected from among persons who are Senators or a member of either House presiding in that House shall have a original but not a casting vote.

(3) A Speaker elected from among persons who are not members of the House of Representatives or a President elected from among persons who are not Senators shall have no vote.

(4) If upon any question before either House the votes of the members are equally divided the motion shall be lost.

74. Without prejudice to any provision made by the National Assembly relating to the powers, privileges and immunities of the Senate or the House of Representatives and the committees thereof, or the privileges and immunities of the members and officers of either House and of other persons concerned in the business of either House or the committees thereof, 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 thereof or by reason of any matter or thing brought by him therein by petition, Bill, resolution, motion or otherwise.

75. A House shall not be disqualified for the transaction of business by reason of any vacancy in the membership thereof (including any vacancy not filled when the House is first constituted or is reconstituted at any time) and any proceedings therein shall be valid notwithstanding that some person who was not entitled so to do sat and voted in the House or otherwise took part in the proceedings.

76.-(l) If at any sitting of either House any member of the House who is present draws the attention of the person presiding at the sitting to the absence of a quorum and, after such interval as may be prescribed in the Standing Orders of the House, the person presiding at the sitting ascertains that a quorum of the House is still not present, the House shall be adjourned.

(2) For the purposes of this section-

(a) a quorum of the House of Representatives shall consist of seven members of the House;

(b) a quorum of the Senate shall consist of three Senators;

(c) the person presiding at the sitting of either House shall not be included in reckoning whether there is a quorum of that House present.

77.-(l) A Bill other than a money Bill may be introduced in either
House. A money Bill shall not be introduced in the Senate.

(2) Except on the recommendation or with the consent of the Cabinet, signified by a Minister, neither House shall-

(a) proceed with any Bill (including any amendment to a Bill) which, in the opinion of the person presiding, makes provi- sion for any of the following purposes-

(i) for imposing or increasing or reducing or abolishing any tax;

(ii) for imposing or increasing any charge on the rev- enues or other funds of Belize or for altering any such charge otherwise than by reducing it; or

(iii) for compounding or remitting any debt due to Belize;

(b) proceed upon any motion (including any amendment to a motion) the effect of which, in the opinion of the person presid- ing, would be to make provision for any of the purposes aforesaid; or

(c) receive any petition which, in the opinion of the person presiding, requests that provision be made for any of the purposes aforesaid.

78.-(1) If a money Bill, having been passed by the House of Representatives and sent to the Senate at least one month before the end of the session, is not passed by the Senate without amendment within one month after it is sent to that House, the Bill shall, unless the House of Representatives otherwise resolves, be presented to the Governor-General for assent notwithstanding that the Senate has not consented to the Bill.

(2) There shall be endorsed on every money Bill when it is sent to the Senate the certificate of the Speaker signed by him that it is a money Bill; and there shall be endorsed on any money Bill that is presented to the Governor-General for assent in pursuance of subsection (1) of this section the certificate of the Speaker signed by him that it is a money Bill and that the provisions of that subsection have been complied with.

79.-(l) If any Bill other than a money Bill is passed by the House of Representatives in two successive sessions (whether or not the National Assembly is dissolved between those sessions) and, having been sent to the Senate in each of those sessions at least one month before the end of the session, is rejected by the Senate in each of those sessions, that Bill shall, on its rejection for the second time by the Senate, unless the House of Representatives otherwise resolves, be presented to the Governor-General for assent notwithstanding that the Senate has not consented to the Bill:

Provided that the foregoing provisions of this subsection shall not have effect unless at least six months have elapsed between the date on which the Bill is passed by the House of Representatives in the first session and the date on which it is passed by the House in the second session.

(2) For the purposes of this section a Bill that is sent to the Senate from the House of Representatives in any session shall be deemed to be the same Bill as a former Bill sent to the Senate in the preceding session if, when it is sent to the Senate, it is identical with the former Bill or contains only such amendments as are certified by the Speaker to be necessary owing to the time that has elapsed since the date of the former Bill or to represent any amendments which have been made by the Senate in the former Bill in the preceding session.

(3) The House of Representatives may, if it thinks fit,on the passage through that House of a Bill that is deemed to be the same Bill as a former Bill sent to the Senate in the preceding session, suggest any amendments without inserting the amendments in the Bill, and if agreed to by the Senate the said amendments shall be treated as amendments made by the Senate and agreed to by the House of Representatives; but the exercise of this power by the House of Representatives shall not affect the operation of this section in the event of the rejection of the Bill in the Senate.

(4) There shall be inserted in any Bill that is presented to the Governor-General for assent in pursuance of this section any amendments that are certified by the Speaker to have been made in the Bill by the Senate in the second session and agreed to by the House of Representatives.

(5) There shall be endorsed on any Bill that is presented to the Governor-General for assent in pursuance of this section the certificate of the Speaker signed by him that the provisions of this section have been complied with.

80.-(l) In sections 77, 78 and 79 of this Constitution, “money Bill” means a public Bill, which, in the opinion of the Speaker, contains only provisions dealing with all or any of the following matters, namely, the imposition, repeal, remission, alteration or regulation of taxation; the imposition, for the payment of debt or other financial purposes, of charges on public money, or the variation or repeal of any such charges; the grant of money to the Crown or to any authority or person, or the variation or revocation of any such grant; the appropriation, receipt, custody, investment, issue or audit of accounts of public money; the raising or guarantee of any loan or the repayment thereof, or the establishment, alteration, administration or abolition of any sinking fund provided in connection with any such loan; or subordinate matters incidental to any of the matters aforesaid; and in this subsection the expressions “taxation”, “debt”, “public money” and “loan” do not include any taxation imposed, debt incurred or money provided or loan raised by any local authority or body for local purposes.
(2) For the purposes of section 79 of this Constitution a Bill shall be deemed to be rejected by the Senate if-

(a) it is not passed by the Senate without amendment; or

(b) it is passed by the Senate with any amendment which is not agreed to by the House of Representatives.

(3) Whenever the office of Speaker is vacant or the Speaker is for any reason unable to perform any functions conferred on him by section 78 or 79 of this Constitution or subsection (1) of this section, that function may be performed by the Deputy Speaker.

(4) A certificate of the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker under section 78 or 79 of this Constitution shall be conclusive for all purposes and shall not be questioned in any court of law.

(5) Before giving any certificate under section 78 or 79 of this Constitution the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker, as the case may be, shall consult the Attorney-General or, if the Attorney-General is absent from the seat of Government, such member of the Attorney-General’s staff as the Attorney-General may designate for that purpose.

81.-(1) The power of the National Assembly to make laws shall be exercised by Bills passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives (or in the cases mentioned in sections 78 and 79 of this Constitution by the House of Representatives) and assented to by the Governor-General.

(2) When a Bill is submitted to the Governor-General for assent in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution he shall signify that he assents or that he withholds assent thereto.

(3) When the Governor-General assents to a Bill that has been submitted to him in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution the Bill shall become law and the Governor-General shall thereupon cause it to be published in the Gazette as law.

(4) No law made by the National Assembly shall come into operation until it has been assented to by the Governor-General but the National Assembly may postpone the coming into operation of any such law and may make laws with retrospective effect.

(5) All laws made by the National Assembly shall be styled “Acts”.

82.-(1) In every Bill presented to the Governor-General for assent, other than a Bill presented under section 78 or 79 of this Constitution, the words of enactment shall be as follows:-

“Be it enacted, by and with the advice and consent of the House of Representatives and the Senate of Belize and by the authority of the same, as follows:-”

(2) In every Bill presented to the Governor-General for assent under section 78 or 79 of this Constitution, the words of enactment shall be as follows:-

“Be it enacted, by and with the advice and consent of the House of Representatives of Belize in accordance with the provisions of section 78 (or section 79, as the case may be) of the Constitution and by the authority of the same, as follows:-”

(3) Any alteration of the words of enactment of a Bill made in consequence of the provisions of the preceding subsection shall not be deemed to be an amendment of the Bill.

83.-(l) There shall be a session of the National Assembly at least once in every year, and each session shall be held at such place within Belize and shall begin at such time (not being later than six months from the end of the preceding session if the National Assembly has been prorogued or four months from the end of the session if the National Assembly has been dissolved) as the Governor-General shall appoint by proclamation published in the Gazette.

(2) Subject to the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, the sittings of each House shall be held at such time and place as that House may, by its Standing Orders or otherwise, determine:

Provided that the first sitting of each House after the National Assembly has at any time been prorogued or dissolved shall begin at the same time.

84.-(l) The Governor-General may at any time prorogue or dissolve the National Assembly.

(2) Subject to the provisions of subsection (3) of this section the
National Assembly, unless sooner dissolved, shall continue for five years
from the date of the first sitting of the House of Representatives after any
dissolution and shall then stand dissolved.

(3) At any time when Belize is at war, the National Assembly may by law extend the period of five years specified in subsection (2) of this section for not more than twelve months at a time:

Provided that the life of the National Assembly shall not be extended under this subsection for more than two years.

(4) In the exercise of his powers to dissolve the National Assembly, the Governor-General shall act in accordance with the advice of the Prime
Minister:


Provided that-

(a) if the Prime Minister advises a dissolution and the Governor-General, acting in his own deliberate judgment, considers that the government of Belize can be carried on without a dissolution and that a dissolution would not be in the interests of Belize, he may, acting in his own deliberate judgment, refuse to dissolve the National Assembly;

(b) if a resolution of no confidence in the Government is passed by the House of Representatives and the Prime Minister does not within seven days either resign or advise a dissolution, the Governor-General, acting in his own deliberate judgment, may dissolve the National Assembly; and

(c) if the office of the Prime Minister is vacant and the Governor-General, acting in his own deliberate judgment, considers that there is no prospect of his being able within a reasonable time to make an appointment to that office, the Governor-General shall dissolve the National Assembly.

(5) If, between a dissolution of the National Assembly and the next ensuing general election of members of the House of Representatives, an emergency arises of such a nature that, in the opinion of the Prime Minister, it is necessary for the two houses or either of them to be summoned before that general election can be held, the Governor-General may, by proclamation published in the Gazette, summon the two Houses of the preceding National Assembly and that National Assembly shall thereupon be deemed (except for the purposes of section 85 of this Constitution) not to have been dissolved but shall be deemed (except as aforesaid) to be dissolved on the date on which the polls are held in the next ensuing general election.

(6) During the period between the dissolution of the National Assembly and the appointment of a Prime Minister after a general election, the government of Belize shall continue to be administered by the Prime Minister and the other Ministers and Deputy Ministers of the Government.

85.-(1) A general election of members of the House of Representatives shall be held at such time within three months after every dissolution of the National Assembly as the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, shall appoint.

(2) As soon as practicable after every general election, the Governor-General shall proceed under section 61 of this Constitution to the appointment of Senators.

(3) Where the seat of a member of the House of Representatives or a Senator falls vacant otherwise than by reason of a dissolution of the
National Assembly-

(a) if the vacant seat is that of a member of the House, a by-election shall be held; or

(b) if the vacant seat is that of a Senator, an appointment shall be made,

to fill the vacancy within three months of the occurrence of the vacancy unless the National Assembly is sooner dissolved.

86.-(1) Any question whether-

(a) any person has been validly elected as a member of the House of Representatives or validly appointed as a Senator;

(b) any member of the House of Representatives or Senator has vacated his seat or is required, under the provisions of section 59(3) or section 64(3) of this Constitution, to cease to exercise any of his functions as a member of the House of Representatives or as a Senator; or

(c) any person has been validly elected as Speaker of the House of Representatives or President of the Senate from among persons who are not members of the House of Representatives or Senators, or, having been so elected, has vacated the office of Speaker or of President,

shall be determined by the Supreme Court in accordance with the provisions of any law.

(2) Proceedings for the determination of any question referred to in the preceding subsection shall not be instituted except with the leave of a justice of the Supreme Court.

(3) No appeal shall lie from the decision of a justice of the Supreme Court granting or refusing leave to institute proceedings in accordance with the preceding subsection.

87. Any person who sits or votes in either House knowing or having reasonable cause for knowing that he is not entitled to do so shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding one hundred dollars for every day upon which he so sits or votes in that House, which penalty shall be recoverable by action in the Supreme Court at the suit of the Attorney-General.

88.-(l) There shall be an Elections and Boundaries Commission which shall consist of a Chairman and four other members who shall be persons of integrity and high national standing.

(2) The chairman and two other members of the Elections and Boundaries Commission shall be appointed by the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister given after consultation with the Leader of the Opposition, and the remaining two members shall be appointed by the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister given with the concurrence of the Leader of the Opposition:

Provided that in the process of consultation with the Leader of the Opposition for the appointment of the Chairman, the Prime Minister shall use his best endeavours to secure the agreement of the Leader of the Opposition.

(3) No person shall be qualified to be appointed as a member of the Commission if he is a member of the National Assembly or if he holds or is acting in any public office.

(4) If any member of the Commission dies or resigns, the Governor-General shall appoint another person in his place in the same manner in which such member was appointed.

(5) Subject to the provisions of this section, the office of a member of the Comniission shall become vacant-

(a) at the expiration of five years from the date of his appointment; or

(b) if any circumstances arise that, if he were not a member of the Commission, would cause him to be disqualified for appointment as such.

(6) A member of the Commission may be removed from office only for inability to perform the functions of his office (whether arising from infirmity of mind or body or from any other cause) or for misbehaviour, and shall not be so removed except in accordance with the provisions of this section.

(7) A member of the Commission shall be removed from office by the Governor-General if the question of the removal of that member from office has been referred to the Belize Advisory Council in accordance with the next following subsection and the Belize Advisory Council has advised the Governor-General that that member ought to be removed from office for inability as aforesaid or for misbehaviour.

(8) If the Prime Minister represents to the Governor-General that the question of removing a member of the Commission under this section ought to be investigated, then-

(a) the Governor-General shall refer the matter to the Belize Advisory Council which shall sit as a tribunal in the manner provided in section 54 of this Constitution; and

(b) the Belize Advisory Council shall enquire into the matter and report on the facts thereof to the Governor-General and advise the Governor-General whether that member of the Commission should be removed under this section.

(9) If the question of removing a member of the Commission from office has been referred to the Belize Advisory Council under the preceding subsection, the Governor-General may suspend the member from performing the functions of his office, and any such suspension may at any time be revoked by the Governor-General and shall in any case cease to have effect if the Belize Advisory Council advises the Governor-General that the member should not be removed from office.

(10) If the office of a member of the Commission is vacant or a member is for any reason unable to perform the functions of his office, the Governor-General may appoint another person in the same manner in which such member was appointed, to act as a member of the Commission, and any person so appointed shall, subject to the provisions of subsections (6), (7), (8) and (9) of this section, continue to act until he is notified by the Governor-General that the circumstances giving rise to the appointment have ceased to exist.

(11) A member of the Commission shall not enter upon the duties of his office unless he has taken and subscribed the oath of allegiance and office.

(12) The Commission may regulate its own procedure and, with the approval of the Governor-General given in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, confer powers or impose duties on any public officer or authority of the Government for the purpose of the discharge of its functions.

(13) The Commission shall be responsible for the direction and supervision of the registration of voters and the conduct of elections, referenda and all matters connected therewith.

(14) In the exercise of its functions, the Commission shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority and shall, subject to the provisions of this Constitution, act in accordance with the Representation of the People Act or any other law, rule or regulation relating to elections.

89.-(1) For the purposes of the election of members of the House of Representatives, Belize shall be divided into eighteen electoral divisions, the names and boundaries of which are set out in Schedule 1 to the Representation of the People Act.

(2) Each electoral division shall be represented in the House of Representatives by one elected member.

90.-(1) The Elections and Boundaries Commission shall, after considering the distribution of the population throughout Belize, make proposals from time to time for dividing Belize into electoral divisions in such a way that-

(a) each electoral division shall have as nearly as may be an equal number of persons eligible to vote;

(b) the total number of electoral divisions shall be not less than twenty-eight.

(2) In fixing the boundaries of electoral divisions the Commission shall have regard to the transport and other facilities of the division, and to its physical features.

(3) The proposals of the Commission made pursuant to this section shall be laid before the National Assembly by the Chairman of the Commission, and the electoral divisions specified in those proposals shall be the electoral divisions of Belize for the purposes of any law for the time being in force relating to the election of members of the House of Representatives when, and shall not be such electoral divisions until, enacted as law by the National Assembly.

(4) When the Elections and Boundaries Commission considers it necessary to increase the number of electoral divisions as specified in subsection (1), it shall make proposals to the National Assembly, and the National Assembly may enact a law to give effect to such proposals, with such amendments and modifications as may seem appropriate to the National Assembly.

91. Any redivision of electoral divisions effected in accordance with section 90 of this Constitution shall, in respect of the election of members of the House of Representatives, come into operation at the next general
election held after such redivision and not earlier.

92. At any general election-

(a) every citizen of Belize or a citizen of any Commonwealth Country who has attained the age of eighteen years and who satisfies the requirements of the Representation of the People Act shall have the right to vote;

(b) no person shall be entitled to more than one vote; and

(c) votes shall be cast in a secret ballot.

93. Subject to the provisions of sections 88 to 92 inclusive of this Constitution, the provisions of the Representation of the People Act shall apply to the franchise, registration of voters, the administration of the electoral system, offences relating to the electoral system, the conduct of elections, and all matters connected therewith.

<< Part V | Part VII >>

Arrangement of Sections

:: Copyright 2007::