CONSTITUTION OF BELIZE

CONSTITUTIONAL CHRONOLOGY

by Albert J. Ysaguire

1978

On January 27, Premier Price rejected a proposed compromise with Guatemala whereby Belize would cede 300 square miles of mainland and 600 square miles of seabed in the south of Belize in return for Guatemala's recognition of Belize's Independence. A similar proposal by Britain for Belize to cede between 1000 an 2000 square miles of land and adjacent seabed was earlier rejected.

Mr. Price announced on March 10 at a conference that Barbados, Guyana an Jamaica had agreed to take part in multilateral security arrangements that would defend the territorial integrity of an independent Belize. This agreement did not come into force since at the time Belize's Independence date could not be agreed upon.

On May 18, the Gutemalan foreign minister, Seņor Adolfo Molina Orantes said in a press interview that his government maintained its demand for a cession of territory by Belize. He insisted that the two governments set up a join military staff, consultations on Belize's external relations and economic integration into the Central American system.

The British Permanent Representative at the U.N. announced on November 28 that a four-point proposal had been put to Guatemala to resolve the conflict with Belize. Development aid including help with construction of roads to facilitate Guatemala's access to the coast, free port in the Port of Belize and a revision of the seaward boundaries of the two countries to guarantee permanent access for Guatemala to the open sea.

On December 7 the Guatemalan foreign minister, Seņor Castillo Valdez announced that the British plan for the settlement of the dispute with Belize was unacceptable and that he would now deal directly with Belize. Belize rejected any bilateral negotiations with Guatemala (1).

1979

In November the People's United Party was reelected to office winning thirteen of the eighteen in the House of Representatives. The opposition party--UDP--won the remaining five seats. This election victory was seen as a mandate for the government to proceed with the finalization of the independence status since the People's United Party ran on a platform of moving towards independence. The opposition party, UDP, ran on a platform against independence in the immediate future until the Guatemalan dispute was settled (2).

1980

By November, international support for Belize was virtually unanimous. A.U.N. resolution (A/35/596) called for independence for Belize without conditions, and security, by the end of 1981. This time the United States of America, which had previously abstained on all the Belize resolutions since 1975, voted in favour, and no country voted against.

The Organization of American States, which had traditionally taken Guatemala's side in the controversy, endorsed by an overwhelming majority the U.N. resolution calling for an independent Belize secure and without conditions before the end of 1981. (3)

1981

On January 31 the Belize government issued its White Paper on the Proposed Terms for the Independence Constitution of Belize. The National Assembly of Belize had earlier appointed a bi-partisan Joint Select Committee comprising of members of the House of Representatives and the Senate to consider the Proposals in the White Paper and to report thereon. The Committee was instructed to canvass the opinion of the country before making this report.

Special invitations were sent out to all organizations throughout the country inviting ideas both written and oral. The committee found a general and overriding acceptance of the monarchical form of government based on the westminister parliamentary pattern. Although the opposition party refused to serve on the Joint Select Committee, it took steps to appear before the Committee by a senior official of their political party in each district of the country and made a written presentation in Belize City. (4)

In March Britain and Guatemala signed the Heads of Agreements providing the basis for a fully negotiated settlement and a termination of Guatemala's claim to Belize. Basically, these agreements provided for Guatemala's recognition of Belize's Independence and territorial integrity, economic cooperation and Guatemala's access to the Caribbean Sea from the south of Belize. Subsequent negotiations ended without a formal treaty-both parties were unable to agree on the conditions of the use of two cayes and the sea corridor to south for Guatemala's access to the Caribbean. (5)

Between April 6-14, the Belize Constitutional Conference was held at Marlborough House, London. The basic conference document was the White Paper on Proposed Terms of the Independence Constitution prepared by the Belize government. Also considered was Belize's membership in international institutions an Belize's succession to obligations and responsibilities which the U.K. had hitherto exercised. (6)

On July 28 the Belize Independence Act received the Royal Assent. This Act provides for: the fully responsible status of Belize, the power to make a new constitution for Belize, the operation of existing laws, modification of the British Nationality Act and the retention of citizenship of the U.K. and colonies in certain cases.

The Belize Independence Order was made on July 31. this Independence Constitution Order includes, to a large extent, the institutions and procedures with which Belizeans have been familiar for the past eighteen years of self government under the constitution of 1963. The Belize Advisory Council was created under the Independence Constitution with the functions in relation to the security of tenure of individuals occupying judicial and public offices and provides for appeals against any act of the Public Services Commission. This Council will also advise the Governor General on the exercise of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy. There is a section on human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms which draws on the U.N. Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and similar to the equivalent section of other Commonwealth constitution. (7)

The Belize Independence Order was laid before Parliament on August 10.

On September 21 Belize became independent as provided for in the Belize Independence Order. Britain, however, has agreed to provide for the defense and security of Belize for an "appropriate" period of time.

On September 25 Belize was admitted to the UN, becoming the 156th member, by a vote of one- hundred-and-forty-four with Guatemala voting against.

NOTES

1. Most of the events of 1978 are listed in the Times Yearbook of World Affairs 1978, p. 48 and 113, and The Road to Independence, a chronology of events leading to Belize's Independence.

2. The Road To Independence, September, 1981.

3. The Road To Independence, September, 1981.

4. Command Paper 8245, "Report of the Belize Constitutional Conference, "London, April, 1981, p.24.

5. Brukdown the Magazine of Belize, Special Souvenir Issue # 3 & 4, 1981, p. 16-18.

6. Report of the Belize Constitutional Conference, p. 22.

7. Statutory Instruments 1981 No. 1107, "The Belize Independence Order 1981.

THE CONSTITUTION OF BELIZE

Comparative Analysis

by Mark J. Stratton

The Constitution of the State of Belize is a well drafted document which follows the general pattern of other newly independent states od the West Indies. It appears that the drafters of the Constitution used the British Honduras Constitution Ordinance of 1963 as the basis for Chapters VI, VII, VIII and IX in the new Constitution. The new features of the 1981 Constitution can be found in Chapters I, II, III, IV and V.

Chapter I states that "Belize shall be a sovereign democratic State of Central America in the Caribbean region. "The frontiers of Belize shall be comprised of those land and sea areas which immediately previous to Belize's Independence constituted the colony of Belize.

Chapter I, Section 2 contains the supremacy clause of the new Constitution. "This Constitution is the supreme law of Belize and if any other law is inconsistent with this Constitution that other law shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void."

Chapter II deals with the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms of the peoples of Belize. As stated in Section 3 of Chapter II, every person in Belize is entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms, regardless of "his race, place of origin, political opinions, color, creed, or sex, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others for the public interest, to each and all of the following, namely - a) life, liberty, security of the person, and the protection of the law; b) freedom of conscience, of expression and of assembly and association ; c) protection for his family life, his personal privacy, the privacy of his home and other property and recognition of his human dignity ; and d) protection from arbitrary deprivation of property. "These provisions are only limited if said rights prejudice the rights and freedoms of others or the public interest.

Chapter III sets forth the citizenship requirements of Belize.

Chapter IV establishes the Governor-General's office, powers, and duties. In section 31 provision is made for Acting Governor-General; the power to appoint a Deputy to perform his or her functions during a period of absence of a short duration; is specified in Section 33.

As stated in Section 35, the Prime Minister shall keep the Governor General informed concerning the general conduct of the government of Belize.

Chapter V of the Constitution defines organization and the powers of the executive branch of the government. As stated in Section 36, the executive authority may be exercised on her behalf by the Governor-General or the Governor-General's subordinate officers.

Section 37 provides that there shall be a Prime Minister of Belize who shall be appointed by the Governor-General. Provision is also made for the appointment of a Deputy Prime Minister (Section 38). The following section concerns the performance of functions of the office of Prime Minister during his absence or illness. The appointment of Minister of Government by the Governor-General, with the advice of the Prime Minister, is regulated in Section 40. It is the function of the Governor-General to assign any Minister the responsibility for any business of the Government, including the administration of any department of government (Section 41).

The principal legal officer is to be the Attorney-General (Section 42). Provisions for the performance of functions of Ministers during absence or illness are made in Section 43.

The Governor-General may, subject to the provisions of the Constitution, "constitute offices for Belize, make and terminate appointments to any such office." (Sec. 51).

The Governor-General may pardon, grant a respite, or lessen punishment to any person convicted of any offence, with the advice of the Belize Advisory Council (Sec. 52).

Provision is made for the establishment of the Belize Advisory Council "which shall consist of not less than six members of which two shall be appointed by the Governor-General, on the advice of the Prime Minister. The others are to be appointed by the Governor -General after consulting the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition (Sec. 54).

Chapter VI entitled "The Legislature" contains several new sections. According to Section 69, the National Assembly may alter any provisions of the Constitution. Section 88 provides for the establishment of an Elections and Boundaries Commission; Belize is to consist of eighteen electoral divisions (Art. 89), but the Election and Boundaries Commission may increase the number of electoral divisions (Sec. 90). The Election and Boundaries Commission may also redivide the electoral divisions (Sec. 91). The requirements for the right to vote (age, one vote, and secret ballot) are stated in Section 92. The conduct of elections is regulated in Section 93.

Chapter VII, entitled "The Judiciary," provides for the establishment of a Supreme Court and a Court of Appeals. Appeals to Her Majesty in Council are provided for in Section 104.

Chapter VIII which corresponds to Part IV of the 1963 Constitution, concerns the public service. Among the new features are the following: Appointment of a Director of Prosecutions by the Governor General (Sec. 108); and the appointment of the Auditor-General by the Governor-General (Sec.109).

Chapter X, entitled "Miscellaneous" refers to a variety of matters such as a Code of Conduct for persons to whom this section applies, which include the Governor-General, members of the National Assembly, the Belize Advisory Council and public officers (Sec.121); powers of appointment and acting appointments (Sec. 123); removal of public officers from office (Sec. 125); and resignations (Sec. 126). Section 131 gives interpretation and definition of certain terms in this document.

COEDITOR'S NOTE:

It should be noted that the printed text of the Belize Independence Order 1981 (1981 No. 1107), which was printed in London, contained only 10 Chapters and 131 sections. The Constitution which was subsequently published in Belize contains 12 Chapters and 142 sections. Chapter XI contains important transitional provisions. Unfortunately one page (74) was left blank and we were unable to obtain a corrected copy as this publication goes to press. We hope to obtain the missing page for insertion at a later time.

Chapter XII, consisting of two articles, concerns the date of commencement of this Constitution (September 21,1981).

G.H.F.

REPORT OF THE BELIZE CONSTITUTIONAL CONFERENCE HELD AT MARLBOROUGH HOUSE IN LONDON IN APRIL 1981


1. The Conference met at Marlborough House and held 18 Plenary Sessions between 6 and 14 April. A list of delegates, officials and advisers who took part in the Conference is at Annex A. An invitation to attend the Conference was extended to the Leader of the Belizean Opposition and representatives of the United Democratic Party but this was declined. The Minister of State, Mr. Nicholas Ridley, presided at the opening session and some of the Plenary Sessions. At the other Plenary Sessions the Chair was taken by the Alternate Chairman, Mr. John Hickman.

2. At the opening session speeches were made by Mr. Ridley and by Mr. Rogers, the Deputy Premier of Belize, The text of these speeches is at Annex B.

THE CONSTITUTION FOR AN INDEPENDENT BELIZE

3. The Conference had before it a White Paper issued by the Government of Belize containing "Proposed Terms of a Constitution for the Independent Belize" and the Report of a Joint Select Committee set up by both Houses of the Belize Legislature to which the White Paper had been referred and which had been directed to canvass the opinions of the Belizean people. The Committee met and received oral and written evidence in all district towns of Belize. The Report, which recommended a number of amendments to the proposals in the With Paper, was adopted by the House of Representatives on 27 March. Evidence submitted to the Committee was made available to the Conference.

4. Arising from the convening of the Constitutional Conference, a number of Belizean organizations and individuals addressed submissions to Her Majesty's Government. These were also formally tabled and, to the extent that they were relevant to the formulation of an Independence Constitution, were taken into consideration by the Conference. A list of these submissions is given at Annex C.

5. The conclusions of the Conference were as follows.

PREAMBLE

6. The Constitution shall set out, in a Preamble, principles which are desirable national goals and which may be referred to for purposes of interpretation. The proposed Preamble is at Annex D.

CHARACTER OF THE COUNTRY AND HEAD OF STATE

7. On independence Belize shall become a sovereign democratic State of Central America in the Caribbean Region. It shall comprise the territories which have hitherto constituted the Colony of Belize, including all Cays and other islands, and waters, forming part of the Colony. These territories shall be more precisely described in the Constitution.

8. Belize shall become a constitutional monarchy with The Queen as Head of State. The Queen shall be represented in Belize by a Governor-General, who shall be a citizen of Belize appointed by The Queen after consultation with the Prime Minister of Belize.

9. The Constitution shall be the supreme law of Belize. Any law inconsistent therewith shall be void to the extent of the inconsistency.

HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS

10. The Constitution shall include a comprehensive section on human rights and freedoms, elaborating the general principles set out in the White Paper and drawing as appropriate on the UN Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, and on other Commonwealth Constitutions (particularly those of Caribbean countries).

11. The human rights and fundamental freedoms protected by the Constitution will be:

a. Protection of the Right to Life;

b. Protection of the Right to Personal Liberty;

c. Protection of the Law;

d. Protection from Inhuman Treatment;

e. Protection from Forced Labour;

f. Protection against Arbitrary Search or Entry;

g. Protection of Freedom of Movement;

h. Protection of Freedom of Conscience;

i. Protection of Freedom of Expression;

j. Protection of Freedom of Assembly and Association;

k. Protection of Right to Privacy;

l. Protection of Freedom to pursue Profession or Occupation;

m. Protection from Discrimination;

n. Protection from Deprivation of Property.

These rights and freedoms shall be defined and qualified in such a way as to ensure that the enjoyment of them by one individual does not prejudice the rights and freedoms of another nor damage the public interest.

12. For the removal of doubt, every citizen shall have access to the Supreme Court of Judicature, and that Court shall have jurisdiction to hear and make such order as is appropriate to grant redress when a person alleges that one of his human rights or fundamentals freedoms is violated or is about to be violated. From the Supreme Court, a right of appeal shall lie to the Court of Appeal and thence to the Privy Council.

PUBLIC EMERGENCIES

13. The provisions protecting Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms shall be especially entrenched. However, laws passed during a period of public emergency may, if reasonably justified for the purpose of dealing with the situation that exists during the period, derogate from those provisions, other than paragraphs 11 a), d) and h).

14. A period of public emergency shall exist when:

a. Belize is engaged in any war;

b. there is in force a Proclamation by the Governor-General declaring that a state of public emergency exists;

c. there is in force a resolution of both Houses of the Legislature, in the House of Representatives passed by a majory of two-thirds of members present and voting, declaring that democratic institutions in Belize are threatened by subversion.

15. Proclamations of a state of emergency by the Governor-General may be made if he is satisfied a) of the imminence of a state of war or that an emergency exists as a result of a hurricane, flood, earthquake, fire, outbreak of pestilence or infectious disease, or other calamity; b) that action or the threat of action by any person is of such a nature or on so extensive a scale as to endanger the public safety or deprives the community, or a substantial portion thereof, of supplies or services essential to life, Such a proclamation shall remain in force for a period not exceeding one month unless previously revoked or extended by the legislature.

16. A resolution by the legislature under paragraph 14 c) shall not last longer than two months in the first instance, and may be extended for successive periods of two months.

PROTECTION OF EXISTING LAWS

17. The laws existing and in force in Belize at the commencement of the Constitution shall, for a period of five years, not be open to challenge on grounds of inconsistency with the provisions protecting Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

CITIZENSHIP

18. The following categories of person, being citizens of the United Kingdom an Colonies immediately before the day of independence, shall automatically become citizens of Belize on the day of independence:

i. citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies born in Belize;

ii. citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies born outside Belize, one of whose parents was born in Belize;

iii. citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies born outside Belize, one of whose grandparents was born in Belize, provided they have no other citizenship;

iv. citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies registered or naturalized as such in Belize;

v. citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies, one of whose parents was registered or naturalized as such in Belize;

vi. citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies, one of Whose grandparents was registered or naturalized as such in Belize, provided they have no other citizenship;

vii. women who became citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies by virtue of marriage to any person falling within any of categories i), vi) above.

19. With effect from the day of independence, the following persons may upon application be registered as a citizen of Belize:

a. the spouse of a Belizean citizen;

b. any other person who has been resident continuously in Belize for a period of five years (whether before or after independence) immediately prior to the day of making application.

20. On and after the day of independence every person born in Belize shall become a Belizean citizen at the date of his birth save for children of person with diplomatic immunity or of enemy aliens during a period of hostile occupation. Moreover, a person born of a citizen of Belize, who acquired that citizenship otherwise than by descent, shall become a Belizean citizen on the date of his birth.

21. Any person who is a Belizean citizen shall forfeit such citizenship by any voluntary act (other than marriage) by which he acquires a citizenship other than Belizean.

22. The Constitution will contain a provision enabling the National Assembly to provide by law for such matters as the acquisition of citizenship by persons who are not eligible to become citizens under the Constitution, the deprivation of citizenship, and the renunciation of citizenship.

PUBLIC OFFICES AND INSTITUTIONS

23. It was agreed that in general and except when indicated otherwise Belize should retain the institutions and procedures of the existing democratic system to which Belizeans are accustomed and which has served Belize well. Therefore, in elaborating the revelant sections of the Constitution the language of the present Constitution will in general be followed. In certain respects it was agreed that procedural provisions found in the Constitutions of many independent Commonwealth countries, especially those in the Caribbean, could be adapted for Belize.

THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL

24. The Governor-General shall be The Queen's representative in Belize.

EXERCISE OF GOVERNOR-GENERAL'S POWERS

25. In the exercise of his functions, the Governor-General shall act in accordance with the advice of Cabinet or a Minister acting under the general authority of Cabinet except in cases where the Constitution or any law requires him to act on the advice of any other person or authority,

26. He shall act in his own deliberate judgment in the appointments of Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition and the revocation of such appointments and in any other cases as the Constitution or any other law provides.

THE EXECUTIVE

CABINET

27. The Cabinet shall be the principal instrument of policy with general direction and control of the Government of Belize and shall be collectively responsible to the National Assembly for all things done by or under the authority of any Minister in the execution of his office. It shall consist of the Prime Minister and such number of Ministers as may be appointed by the Governor-General.

PRIME MINISTER AND MINISTERS

28. The Governor-General shall appoint as Prime Minister the member of the House of Representatives who is the leader of the Party that commands the support of the majority of the members of that House. In the event that no party has an undisputed majority, he shall appoint the member who is most likely to command the support of the majority of members of the House.

29. The Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister shall appoint Ministers responsible for any business of Government including responsibility for any department of Government from among members of the House of Representatives or the Senate, except the persons holding the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate. Where a Minister has ben charged with responsibility for departments or subjects of Government the Minister shall exercise general direction and control over the departments or institutions relating to the subjects in his portfolio. A Minister may also be designated Deputy Prime Minister to whom the functions of the Prime Minister may be deputed from time to time by the Prime Minister. The Minister of Finance shall be a member of the House of Representatives.

30. The Attorney- General, who must have been qualified for at least five years to practice as an advocate, shall be the principal legal adviser to the Government of Belize and shall also be responsible for the administration of legal affairs in the country. Legal proceedings for or against the State shall be taken, in the case of civil proceedings, in the name of the Attorney-General and, in the case of criminal proceedings, in the name of the Crown.

TENURE OF OFFICE

31. If the House of Representatives passes a motion declaring that it has no confidence in the Prime Minister, the Governor-General shall remove the Prime Minister from office if the Prime Minister does not within seven days either resign or advise the Governor - General to dissolve the National Assembly.

32. The Prime Minister shall also vacate his office if he is informed by the Governor-General that he is about to re-appoint him as Prime Minister or to appoint another person as Prime Minister or if for any reason other than a dissolution the Prime Minister ceases to be a member of the House of Representatives.

33. The office of every Minister shall become vacant upon the appointment or re-appointment of any person to the office of Prime Minister; if the Prime Minister resigns or is removed under paragraph 31; if his appointment is revoked by the Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister; if for any reason other than a dissolution of the National Assembly he ceases to be a member of the House of which he was a member when he was appointed Minister; if after a general election he is not a member of the House; or if for any other reason he is required to cease to exercise any of his functions as a member of either House.

34. Whenever the Prime Minister in unable to perform his functions by reason of illness or absence from Belize, the Governor-General may authorize any other Minister to perform the functions of the Prime Minister. This power shall be exercised by the Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister, but in the event that it is impracticable to obtain such advice owing to the Prime Minister's illness or absence, the Governor-General shall act in his own deliberate judgment.

35. There shall be provision for the appointment of Deputy Ministers and temporary Minister.

36. The Prime Minister shall so far as is practicable attend an preside at all Cabinet meetings, and in his absence any other Minister that he appoints shall preside.

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

37. Except at times when there are no members of the House of Representatives who do not support the Government, there shall be a Leader of the Opposition who shall be appointed by the Governor-General. He shall be the member of the House of Representatives who, in the deliberate judgment of the Governor-General, in best able to command support of a majority of those members who do not support the Government, or if there is no such person, the member who commands the support of the largest single group of members opposed to the Government.

38. The Leader of the Opposition shall vacate his office if for any reason, other than a dissolution of the National Assembly, he ceases to be a member of the House of Representatives; if he is required to cease to perform his functions as a member of the House; or if his appointment is revoked by the Governor-General because he is no longer able to command the support required for his appointment.

PERMANENT SECRETARIES

39. The office of Permanent Secretary shall be a public office. He shall be responsible for the supervision of any department or institution of Government assigned to him. Two or more Government departments or institutions may be placed under the supervision of one Permanent Secretary.

THE BELIZE ADVISORY COUNCIL

40. There shall be a Belize Advisory Council which shall consist of a minimum of six members appointed by the Governor-General, four or more on the advice of the Prime Minister after consulting the Leader of the Opposition, and two on the advice of the Prime Minister with the concurrence of the Leader of the Opposition. All the members of the Advisory Council must be citizens of Belize (except as may be necessary in respect of serving or retired Judges) and must be persons of integrity and high national standing. The membership of the Advisory Council shall include at least two members who hold or have held public office of high standing; one serving or retired

Judge of a Superior Court of Record; and one person who is an eminent member of a recognized profession in Belize.

41. The office of a member shall become vacant at the expiration of 10 years or such earlier period as may be specified in the instrument of his appointment; when he attains the age of 75 years; if he resigns; or if by a two-thirds majority of the House of Representatives he is declared unable to perform his functions as a member of the Council by reason of his absence or infirmity of body or mind or by reason of a breach of paragraph 106.

42. One of the Council's functions shall be to advise the Governor-General on the exercise of the royal prerogative of mercy. Other functions and duties of the Council shall be those conferred or imposed upon or under the Constitution or any other law. In the exercise of its functions the Council shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority.

43. The Council shall be summoned by the Governor-General in the circumstances envisaged in the Constitution and otherwise by the Governor-General acting in his own deliberate judgment. He shall, so far as is practicable, attend and preside at all meetings of the Council.

44. On the advice of the Prime Minister after consultation with the Leader of the Opposition, the Governor-General shall appoint one of the members of the Council to be the Senior Member who shall preside over any meeting of the Council at which the Governor-General is absent. If at any meeting of the Council the Senior Member is absent, the members present shall elect one of their number to exercise the powers and perform the duties of the Senior Member at that meeting. In the event that the Governor-General, shall have a casting vote in addition to his deliberative vote.

45. In any case where the Council is summoned to discharge its duties under paragraph 82 and 85 it shall be presided over by a member who holds or has held judicial office deputed by the Governor-General acting in his own deliberate judgment. A quorum of the Council shall not be less than five members. Subject to the provisions of the Constitution, the Council may regulate its own procedure. The question whether the Council has validly performed any function vested in it by the Constitution or by any other law shall not be questioned in any court.

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.

THE JUDICIARY

79. There shall be a Supreme Court of Judicature for Belize and a Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court shall have unlimited original jurisdiction to hear and determine any civil or criminal proceedings under any law. Any question concerning the interpretation of the Constitution arising in a lower court shall be referred by it to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court shall be a superior court of record and shall have all the powers of such a court, including all the powers that are vested in the Supreme Court of Belize immediately before the Constitution comes into effect.

80. The Judges of the Supreme Court shall be the Chief Justice and such number of Judges of that Court as the National Assembly may determine. The Chief Justice shall be appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister after consulting the Leader of the Opposition. The other Judges shall be appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the Judicial and Legal Services section of the Public Services Commission and with the concurrence of the Prime Minister after consulting the Leader of the Opposition. The Governor-General may also appoint temporary Supreme Court Judges in the event that the office of a Supreme Court Judge is vacant or any Supreme Court Judge is unable to perform his functions.

81. A Judge of the Supreme Court shall vacate his office on raching the age of 62 years, unless otherwise authorized by the Governor-General. No office of Judge of the Supreme Court shall be abolished while there is a substantive holder of such office.

82. A Judge of the Supreme Court may be removed from office only for inability to perform his functions or for misbehavior, and the question of his removal has been referred by Her Majesty The Queen to the Belize Advisory Council and the Council has advised Her Majesty accordingly. When considering the removal of a Judge, the Belize Advisory Council shall sit as a tribunal with a Judge or retired Judge of a Superior Court of Record as Chairman.

THE COURT OF APPEAL

83. The Judges of the Court of Appeal shall be the President, who shall preside, and such number of Justices of Appeal as may be prescribed by the National Assembly. No office of Judge of the Court of Appeal shall be abolished while there is a substantive holder of such office.

84. The Court of Appeal shall be a superior court of record and shall have all the powers of such a court. All Judges of the Court of Appeal shall be appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister after consulting the Leader of the Opposition.

85. A Judge of the Court of Appeal may be removed from office only for inability to perform his functions or for misbehavior, after the question of his removal has been referred by Her Majesty The Queen to the Belize Advisory Council (acting as provided in paragraph 82) and Her Majesty has been advised accordingly.

APPEALS TO HER MAJESTY IN COUNCIL

86. An appeal from a decision of the Court of Appeal to Her Majesty in Council shall lie as of right in the case of a final decision in any civil, criminal or other proceedings which involves a question of interpretation of the Constitution, and in any other case prescribed by law.

87. The Court of Appeal may give leave for an appeal to Her Majesty in Council from decisions in any civil case which in the Court's opinion has general or public importance or otherwise, or in any other cases prescribed by law. Her Majesty may grant special leave to appeal from decisions of the Court of Appeal in any civil, criminal or other matter.

DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS

88. There shall be a Director of Public prosecutions for Belize whose office shall be a public office. He shall be appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the Public Service Commission with the concurrence of the Prime Minister after consulting the Leader of the Opposition.

He shall have power to institute, control, take over and discontinue all criminal prosecutions. His functions shall be exercised by him in person or through any person acting under and in accordance with his general or special instructions.

89. The Director of Public Prosecutions shall be removed from office only for inability to perform his functions or for misbehavior by the Governor-General acting on the advice of the Belize Advisory Council.

THE PUBLIC SERVICE

THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION

90. There shall be a Public Services Commission comprising a Chairman and twelve members, four of whom shall be authorized to deal with matters relating to the Civil Service, two authorized to deal with matters relating to the Judicial and Legal Services, four authorized to deal with matters relating to the Military Service and two authorized to deal with matters in the Police Service. The Permanent Secretary Establishment shall be the secretary to the Public Services Commission.

91. Except for ex-officio members, the Chairman and the members of the Public Services Commission shall be appointed by the Governor-General on the advise of the Prime Minister. Before tendering his advice the Prime Minister shall consult the Leader of the Opposition. Members of the Commission shall hold office for such period as their appointment designates and in no case for more than three years. Removal from office shall be made by the Governor-General only for inability to perform his functions or for misbehavior after the matter or removal has been referred to and recommended by the Belize Advisory Council. Members of the National Assembly shall not be eligible for membership of the Commission.

92. The Chief Justice and a Supreme Court Judge designate by the Chief Justice shall be ex-officio members of the Public Services Commission authorized to deal with matters relating to the Judicial and Legal Services. The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence and the Commandant, Belize Defence Force, shall be ex-officio members of the Public Services Commission authorized to deal with matters relating to the Military Service. The Commissioner or Police shall be ex-officio a member of the Public Services Commission authorized to deal with matters relating to the Police Service.

93. The effect of the foregoing will be to continue existing arrangements but in a more economical and streamlined way. As at present certain office holders will be debarred from membership of the Commission. It was agreed that the Belize Government shall continue the present convention of consulting the Public Services Union about appointments to the Commission.

APPOINTMENTS

94. Power to appoint persons to hold office in the Public Services, to exercise disciplinary control over persons in the Services, and to remove such persons from office, shall vest in the Public Services Commission. The following offices shall be excluded from the authority of the Public Services Commission: Secretary of the Cabinet, Permanent Secretaries, the heads of Departments of Government, the chief professional advisors to Departments of Government, the Auditor-General, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Commandant of the Belize Defence Force, the Commissioner of Police, Ambassadors, High Commissioner or other principal representatives of Belize accredited to any international organization and any other office designate by the Commission.

95. Except as otherwise provided in the Constitution, the appointment to, discipline of, and removal from the offices listed above shall vest in the Governor-General acting on the advice of the Prime Minister.

PENSIONS

96. The provisions of Sections 53 and 54 of the present Constitution and the law relating to pensions for members of the Public Services and teachers shall remain in force and apply to persons in the Public Services and in relation to those already enjoying a pension, shall remain unaltered. All pensions and rights thereto stand charged on the consolidate Revenue Fund of Belize. The discretion relating to pensions formerly vested in the Governor shall vest in the Governor-General acting on the advice of the Public Services Commission.

APPEALS

97. Appeals against any act of the Public Services Commission or the Governor-General in relation to the Public Services shall lie to the Belize Advisory Council.

REGULATION OF SERVICES

98. Cabinet shall provide for and determine all matters relating to employment in the Public Services including the formulation of schemes or recruitment; determining a code of conduct; fixing salaries and privileges, terms of employment, and the principles to be follower in making promotion and transfers; measures to endure discipline, to govern dismissals and retirement; procedures for the delegation of authority, and generally for the good management and control of the Public Services. All such decisions and directives issued by Cabinet shall be laid on the table of both Houses of the National Assembly.

FINANCE

THE CONSOLIDATED REVENUE FUND

99. All revenues or other moneys raised or received by Belize (not being revenues or other moneys payable under any law into some other public fund established for a specific purpose) shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund. No moneys shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund except to meet expenditure charge upon the Fund by the Constitution or by an Act of the National Assembly, or where the issue of those moneys has been authorized by an appropriate law.

100. The Minister responsible for Finance shall lay before the House of Representatives in each financial year estimates of the revenues and expenditure of Belize for the next financial year. If in any financial year the amount appropriated for any purpose is insufficient, or a need arises for expenditure for a purpose for which no amount of money was appropriated, or moneys have been spent in excess of that appropriated, a supplementary estimate showing the sums required or spent shall be laid before the House of Representatives.

101. The National Assembly may make provision to allow the Minister responsible for Finance to authorize expenditure necessary to carry on the services of Government for a specified period. The National Assembly may also provide for the establishment of a Contingencies Fund and authorize the Minister responsible for Finance to make advances from this Fund to meet any urgent and unforeseen need for expenditure for which no other provision exists.

102. The salaries and allowances of the Governor-General and certain other officers, including the Chief Justice, Justices of Appeal, Supreme Court Judges, members of the Belize Advisory Council and the Public Services Commission, members of the Elections and Boundaries Commission, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Auditor-General, shall be a charge on the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

THE AUDITOR-GENERAL

103. There shall be an Auditor-General for Belize, whose office shall be a public, office. He shall be appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the Public Services Commission with the concurrence of the Prime Minister after consulting the Leader of the Opposition. He shall audit and report annually on the public accounts of Belize, and of all officers, courts and authorities of Belize. The Auditor-General shall submit his reports annually to the Minister responsible for Finance to be laid before the House of Representatives. If the Minister responsible for Finance fails to lay any such reports before the House of Representatives within the prescribed time, the Auditor-General shall transmit copies of the reports to the Speaker of the House of Representatives for presentation to the House. In the exercise of his functions, the Auditor-General shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority.

104. The Auditor-General shall be removed from office only for inability to perform his functions or for misbehavior by the Governor-General acting on the advice of the Belize Advisory Council.

THE PUBLIC DEBT

105. The public debt of Belize shall be a charge on the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

CODE OF CONDUCT

106. The Governor-General, members of the National Assembly, the Belize Advisory Council, the Public Services Commission, and the Elections and Boundaries Commission, public officers, officers of statutory corporations and government agencies and such other officers as the National Assembly may prescribe, have a duty to conduct themselves in such a way as not:

a. to place themselves in positions in which they have or could have a conflict of interest;

b. to compromise the fair exercise of their public or official functions and duties;

c. to use their office for private gain;

d. to demean their office or position;

e. to allow their integrity to be called into question; or,

f. to endanger or diminish respect for, or confidence in, the integrity of the Government of Belize.

NATIONAL SYMBOLS

107. The Government of Belize will establish a representative committee which will, as a matter of priority, consider and make proposals on national symbols for Belize. These proposals will be put before the House of Representatives. The Constitution will provide for the proposals adopted by the House of Representatives to be part of the Constitution.

NICHOLAS RIDLEY C.L.B. ROGERS

ANNEX D

PROPOSED PREAMBLE TO THE CONSTITUTION OF BELIZE

THE CONSTITUTION OF BELIZE shall commence with a preamble which shall state that the people of Belize:

a. affirm that the Nation of Belize shall be founded upon principles which acknowledge the supremacy of God, faith in human rights and fundamental freedoms, the position of the family in a society of free men and free institutions, the dignity of the human person and the equal and inalienable rights with which all members of the human family are endowed by their Creator;

b. respect the principles of social justice and therefore believe that the operation of the economic system must result in the material resources of the community being so distributed as to subserve the common good, that there should be adequate means of livelihood for all, that labour should not be exploted or forced by economic necessity to operate in inhumane conditions but that there should be opportunity for advancement on the basis of recognition of merit ability and integrity, that equal protection should be given to children regardless of their social status, and that a just system should be ensured to provide for education an health on the basis of equality;

c. believe that the will of the people shall form the basis of government in a democratic society in which the government is freely elected by universal adult suffrage and in which all persons may, to the extent of their capacity, play some part in the institutions of national life and this develop and maintain due respect for lawfully constituted authority;

d. recognize that men and institutions remain free only when freedom in founded upon respect for moral and spiritual values and upon the rule of law;

e. require policies of state which protect an safeguard the unity, freedom, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Belize; which eliminate economic and social privilege and disparity among the citizens of Belize whether by race, color, creed or sex; which protect the rights of the individual to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; which preserve the right of the individual to the ownership of private property and the right to operate private businesses; which prohibit the exploitation of man by man or by the state; which ensure a just system of social security and welfare; which protect the environment; which promote international peace, security and co-operation among nations, the establishment of a just and equitable international economic and social order in the world with respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings among nations;

f. desire that their society shall reflect and enjoy the above mentioned principles, belief and needs and that their Constitution should therefore enshrine and make provisions for ensuring the achievement of the same in Belize.

BELIZE ACT 1981

CHAPTER 52

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

SECTION

1. Fully responsible status of Belize.

2. Power to provide new constitution for Belize.

3. Operation of existing law.

4. Consequential modifications of the British Nationality Acts.

5. Retention of citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies in certain cases.

6. Interpretation.

7. Short title.

SCHEDULES:

Schedule 1 - Legislative power of Belize.

Schedule 2 - Consequential amendments not affecting the law of Belize.

BELIZE ACT 1981

CHAPTER 52

An Act to make provision for, and in connection with, the attainment by Belize of independence within the Commonwealth. [28th July 1981]

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:-

1. 1) On and after Independence Day Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom shall have no responsibility for the government of Belize. (Fully responsible status of Belize.)

2) No Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed on or after Independence Day shall extend, or be deemed to extend, to Belize as part of its law; and on and after that day the provisions of Schedule 1 to this Act shall have effect with respect to the legislative powers of Belize.

2. 1) Her Majesty may by Order in Council made before Independence Day provide a constitution for Belize to come into effect on that day.

2) An Order in Council under this section (in this section referred to as a "Constitution Order") may include provision as to the manner in which the legislature of Belize may alter any provisions of that Order, or may alter any law which alters any of those provisions; and a constitution provide by a Constitution Order may include provisions as to the manner in which the legislature of Belize may alter any law which alters that constitution or any provisions thereof.

3) In this section references to altering a constitution or to altering any provision or law 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 operation for any period, or terminating any such suspension.

4) A Constitution Order may contain dutch transitional or other incidental or supplementary provisions as appear to Her Majesty to be necessary or expedient.

5) Any Constitution Order shall be laid before Parliament after being made.

3. 1) Subject to the other provisions of this Act, all lae to each this section applies, whether being a rule of law or a provision of an Act of Parliament or of any other enactment or instrument whatsoever, which is in force on Independence Day, or, having been passed or made before that day, comes into force thereafter, shall, unless and until provision to the contrary is made by Parliament or some other authority having power in that behalf, have the same operation in relation to Belize and persons and things belonging to or connected with Belize as it would have had apart from this subsection if there had been no change in the status of Belize.

2) This section applies to the law of, or of any part of, the United Kingdom, the Channel Island and the Isle of Man and, in relation only to any enactment of the Parliament of the United Kingdom or any Order in Council made by virtue of any such enactment whereby any such enactment applies in relation to Belize, to law of any other country or territory to which that enactment or Order extends.

3) Subsection 1) above shall not apply in relation to the British Nationality Act 1981.

4) On an after Independence Day the enactments specified in Schedule 2 to this Act shall have effect subject to the amendments there specified.

5) Subsection 4) above and that Schedule shall not extend to Belize as part of its law.

4. 1) On and after Independence Day the British Nationality Act 1984 shall have effect as if in section 1 3) (Commonwealth countries having separate citizenship) there were added at the end the words "and Belize". (Consequential modifications of the British Nationally Acts. 1948 c.56.)

2) Except as provided by section 5 below, any person who immediately before Independence Day citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies shall on that day cease to be such a citizen if he becomes on that day a citizen of Belize.

3) Except as provide by section 5 below, a person in relation to whom the following conditions are satisfied, that is to say-

a. immediately before Independence Day, he is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies; and

b. one of his grandparents-

i. was born in Belize, or

ii. was naturalized in the United Kingdom and Colonies by virtue of a certificate of naturalization granted in Belize, or

iii. was registered in Belize as a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies; and

c. on Independence Day cease to be a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies if he then a citizen of some other country.

4) Section 6 (2) of the 1948 Act (registration as citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies of women who have been married to such citizen) shall not apply to a woman by virtue of her marriage to a person who on Independence Day ceases to be such a citizen under subsection 2) or 3) above or who would have done so if living on that day.

5) In accordance with section 3 (3) of the West Indies Act 1967 it is hereby declared that this section and section 5 below extend to all associated states.

5. 1) A person shall not cease to be a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies under section 4 (2) or 3) above if he, his father or his father's father- ( Retention of citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies in certain cases.)

a. was born in the United Kingdom or a relevant territory; or

b. is or was a person naturalized in the United Kingdom and Colonies by virtue of a certificate of naturalization granted in the United Kingdom or a relevant territory; or

c. was, in the United Kingdom or a relevant territory, registered as a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies, or was so registered by a High Commissioner exercising functions under section 8 (2) or 12 (7) of the 1948 Act; or

d. became a British subject by reason of the annexation of any territory included in a relevant territory, or if his father or his father's father would, if living immediately before the commencement of the 1948 Act, have become a person naturalized in the United Kingdom and Colonies under section 32 (6) of that Act (previous local naturalization in a colony or protectorate) by virtue of having enjoyed the privileges of naturalization in a relevant territory.

2) In subsection 1) above "relevant territory" means any territory which on Independence Day is a colony or an associated state other than a territory which on that day is not a colony for the purposes of the 1948. Act as then in force (and accordingly does not include Belize).

3) Subsection 1) above does not apply to a woman by virtue of her registration as a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies if that registration was effected under section 6 (2) of the 1948 Act (registration as citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies of women who have been married to such citizens).

4) A person shall not cease to be a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies under section 4 (2) or 3) above if, immediately before Independence Day, he has the right of above in the United Kingdom under the Immigration Act 1971.

5) A woman who is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies and is the wife of such a citizen shall not herself cease to be such a citizen under section 4 (2) or 3) above unless her husband does so.

6) Part III of the 1948 Act (supplementary provisions) as in force from time to time, except section 23 (legitimated children), shall have effect for the purposes of this section as if this section were included in that Act.

7) A person born out of wedlock and legitimated (within the meaning of section 23 (2) of the 1948 Act) by the subsequent marriage of his parents shall be treated, for the purpose of determining whether he has by virtue of this Act ceased to be a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies, as if he had been born legitimate.

6. 1) In this Act, and in any amendment made by this Act in any other enactment, "Belize" means the territories which immediately before Independence Day constitute the colony of Belize (formerly Known as British Honduras).

2) In this Act "Independence Day" means such day as Her Majesty may by Order in Council appoint; and any Order in Council under this subsection shall be laid before Parliament after being made.

3) In this Act " the 1948 Act" means the British Nationality Act 1948.

7. This Act may be cited as the Belize Act 1981.

S C H E D U L E S

SCHEDULE 1

LEGISLATIVE POWERS OF BELIZE

1. The Colonial Laws Validity Act 1865 shall not apply to any law made on or after Independence Day by the legislature of Belize.

2. No law and no provision of any law made on or after Independence Day by that legislature shall be void or inoperative on the ground that it is repugnant to the law of England, or to the provisions of any Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, including this Act, or to any order, rule or regulation made under any such Act, and accordingly the powers of that legislature shall include the power to repeal or amend any such Act, order, rule or regulation in so far as it is part of the law of Belize.

3. The legislature of Belize shall have full power to make laws having extra-territorial operation.

4. Without prejudice to the generality of the preceding provisions of this Schedule-

a) section 735 and 736 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894 shall be construed as if references therein to the legislature of a British possession did not include references to the legislature of Belize;

b) section 4 of the Colonial Courts of Admiralty Act 1890 (which requires certain laws to be reserved for the signification of Her Majesty's pleasure or to contain a suspending clause), and so much of section 7 of that Act as requires the approval of Her Majesty in Council to any rules of court for regulating the practice and procedure of a Colonial Court of Admiralty, shall cease to have effect in Belize.

SCHEDULE 2

CONSEQUENTIAL AMENDMENTS NOT AFFECTING THE LAW OF BELIZE

Armed Forces

1. The expression "colony" in the Army Act 1955, the Air Force Act 1955 and the Naval Discipline Act 1957 shall not include Belize; and in the definitions of "Commonwealth force" in section 225(1) and 223(1) respectively of those Acts of 1955, and in the definition of "Commonwealth country" in section 135(1) of that Act of 1957, at the end there shall be added the words "or Belize".

2. In the Visiting Forces (British Commonwealth) Act 1933. section 4 (attachment and mutual powers of command) shall apply in relation to forces raised in Belize as it applies to forces raised in Dominions within the meaning of the Statute of Westminster 1931.

3. In the Visiting Forces Act 1952-

a) in section 1 (1) a) (countries to which the Act applies) at the end there shall be added the words "Belize.or";

b) in section 10(1) a), the expression "colony" shall not include Belize;

and, until express provision with respect to Belize is made by Order in Council under section 8 of that Act (application to visiting forces of law relating to home forces), any such Order for the time being in force shall be deemed to apply to visiting forces of Belize.

Ships and Aircraft

4. In section 427 (2) of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894, as set out in section 2 of the Merchant Shipping (Safety Convention) Act 1949, before the words"or in any" there shall be inserted the words "or Belize".

5. In the Whaling Industry (Regulation) Act 1934, the expression "British ship to which this Act applies " shall not include a British ship registered in Belize.

6. Belize shall not be a relevant overseas territory for the purposes of section 21(2) and 22(3) of the Civil Aviation Act 1971.

Colonial Stock

7. Section 20 of the Colonial Stock Act 1877 (which relates to the jurisdiction of courts of the United Kingdom as to colonial stock) shall, in its application to stock of Belize, have effect as if for the second paragraph there were substituted-

"(2) Any person claiming to be interested in colonial stock to which this Act applies, or in any dividend thereon, may institute civil proceedings in the United Kingdom against the registerer in relation to that stock or dividend.

(3) Notwithstanding anything in the foregoing provisions of this section, the registerer shall not by virtue of an order made by any court in the United Kingdom in any such proceedings as are referred to in this section be liable to make any payment otherwise than out of moneys in his possession in the United kingdom as registerer.".

Commonwealth Institute

8. In section 8 (2) of the Imperial Institute Act 1925, as amended by the Commonwealth Institute Act 1958 (power to vary the provisions of the said Act of 1925 if an agreement for the purpose is made with the focernments of certain territories which for the time being are contributing towards the expenses of the Commonwealth Institute) at the end there shall be added the words "and Belize".

I assent,

J. P. I. HENNESSY

Governor

20th September, 1981.

A CONSTITUTION FOR AN INDEPENDENT STATE OF BELIZE.

(Gazetted 20th September, 1981.)

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty, 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:-

This Law may be cited as the Short Title.

BELIZE CONSTITUTION

THE CONSTITUTION OF BELIZE

WHEREAS THE PEOPLE OF BELIZE

a. affirm that the Nation of Belize shall be founded upon principles which acknowledge the supremacy of God, faith in human rights and fundamental freedoms, the position of the family in a society of free men and free institutions, the dignity of the human person and the equal and inalienable rights with which all members of the human family are endowed by their Creator;

b. respect the principles of social justice and therefore believe that the operation of the economic system must result in the material resources of the community being so distributed as to subserve the common good, that there should be adequate means of livelihood for all, that labour should not be exploited or forced by economic necessity to operate in inhuman conditions but that there should be opportunity for advancement on the basis of recognition of merit, ability and integrity, that social status, and that a just system should be ensured to provide for education and health on the basis of equality;

c. believe that the will of the people shall form the basis of government in a democratic society in which the government is freely elected by universal adult suffrage and in which all persons may, to the extent of their capacity, play some part in the institutions of national life and this develop and maintain due respect for lawfully constituted authority;

d. recognize that men and institutions remain free only when freedom is founded upon respect for moral and spiritual values and upon the rule of law;

e. require policies of state which protect and safeguard the unity, freedom, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Belize; which eliminate economic and social privilege and disparity among the citizens of Belize whether by race, color, creed or sex; which protect the rights of the individual to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; which preserve the right of the individual to the ownership of private property and the right to operate private businesses; which prohibit the explotation of man by man or by the state; which ensure a just system of social security and welfare; which protect the environment; which promote international peace, security and co-operation among nations, the establishment of a just and equitable international economic and social order in the world with respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings among nations;

f. desire that their society shall reflect and enjoy the above mentioned principles, belief and needs and that their Constitution should therefore enshrine and make provisions for ensuring the achievement of the same in Belize;

NOW, THEREFORE. the following provisions shall have effect as the Constitution of Belize:

CHAPTER I

THE STATE AND THE CONSTITUTION

THE STATE.

1. (1) Belize shall be a sovereign democratic State of Central America in the Caribbean region.

(2) Belize comprises the land and sea areas defined in Schedule 1 to this Constitution, which immediately before Independence Day constituted the colony of Belize.

CONSTITUTION IS SUPREME LAW.

2. This Constitution is the supreme law of Belize and if any other law is inconsistent with this Constitution that other law shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.

CHAPTER II

PROTECTION OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS

FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS.

3. Whereas every person in Belize is entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say, the right, whatever his race, place of origin, political opinions, color, creed or sex, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest, to each and all of the following, namely-

a. life, liberty, security of the person, and the protection of the law;

b. freedom of conscience, of expression and of assembly and association;

c. protection for his family life, his personal privacy, the privacy of his home and other property and recognition of his human dignity; and

d. protection from arbitrary deprivation of property, the provisions of this Chapter shall have effect for the purpose of affording protection as are contained in those provisions, being limitations designed to ensure that the enjoyment of the said rights and freedoms by any person does nor prejudice the rights and freedoms of others or the public interest.

PROTECTION OF RIGHT TO LIFE.

4. (1) A person shall not be deprived of his life intentionally save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence under any law of which he has been convicted.

(2) A person shall not be regarded as having been deprived of his lief in contravention of this section if he dies as the result of the use, to such extent and in such circumstances as are permitted by law, of such force as is reasonably justifiable-

a. for the defence of any person from violence or for the defence of property;

b. in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully detained;

c. for the purpose of suppressing a riot, insurrection or mutiny; or

d. in order to prevent the commission by that person of a criminal offence.

or if he dies as the result of a lawful act of war.

PROTECTION OF RIGHT TO PERSONAL LIBERTY.

5. (1) A person shall not be deprived of his personal liberty save a may be authorized by law in any of the following cases, that is to say:-

a. in consequence of his unfitness to plead to a criminal charge or in execution of the sentence or order of a court, whether establisher for Belize or some other country in respect of a criminal offence on which he has been convicted;

b. in execution of the order of the Supreme Court of the Court o Appeal punishing him for contempt of the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeal or of another court or tribunal;

c. in execution of the order of a court made to secure the fulfilmen of any obligation imposed on him by law;

d. for the purpose of bringing him before a court in execution of the order of a court;

e. upon a reasonable suspicion of his having committed, or being about to commit, a criminal offence under any law;

f. under the order of a court or with the consent of his parent or guardian, for his education or welfare during any period ending not later than the date when he attain the age of eighteen years;

g. for the purpose of preventing the spread of an infectious of contagious disease;

h. in the case of a person who is, or is reasonably suspected to be, of unsound mind, addicted to drugs or alcohol, or a vagrant, for the purpose of his care or treatment or the protection or the community;

i. for the purpose of preventing his unlawful entry into Belize, or for the purpose of effecting his expulsion, extradition or other lawful removal from Belize or for the purpose of restraining him while he is being conveyed through Belize in the course of his extradition or removal as a convicted prisoner from one country to another; or

j. to such extent as may be necessary in the execution of a lawful order requiring him to remain within a specified area within Belize, or prohibiting him from being within such an area, or to such extent as may be reasonably justifiable for the taking of proceedings against him with a view to the making of any such order or relating to such an order after it has been made, or to such extent as may be reasonably justifiable for restraining hum during any visit that he is permitted to make to any part of Belize in which, in consequence of any such order, his presence would otherwise be unlawful.

(2) Any person who is arrested or detained shall be entitled-

a. to be informed promptly, and in any case no later than forty-eight hours after such arrest or detention, in a language he understands, of the reasons for his arrest or detention:

b. to communicate without delay and in private with a legal practitioner of his choice and, in the case of a minor, with his parents or guardian, and to have adequate opportunity to give instructions to a legal practioner of his choice:

c. to be informed immediately upon his arrest of his rights under paragraph (b.) of his subsection: and

d. to the remedy by way of habeas corpus for determining the vality of his detention.

(3) Any person who is arrested or detained-

a. for the purpose of bringing him before a court in execution of the order of a court; or

b. upon reasonable suspicion of his having committed, or being about to commit, a criminal offence under any law.

and who is not released, shall be brought before a court without undue delay and in any case not later than seventy-two hours after such arrest or detention.

(4) Where any person is brought before a court in execution of the order or a court in any proceedings or upon suspicion of his having committed or being about to commit an offence, he shall not be thereafter further held in custody in connection with those proceeding or that offence save upon the order of a court.

(5) If any person arrested or detained as mentioned in subsection (3)b. of this section is not tried within a reasonable time, then without prejudice to any further proceedings that may be brought against him, he shall, unless he is released, be entitled to bail on reasonable conditions.

(6) Any person who is unlawfully arrested or detained by any other person shall be entitled to compensation therefor from that other person or from any other person or authority on whose behalf that other person was acting:

Provided that no person shall be liable for any act done in the performance of a judicial function for which he would not be liable apart from this subsection.

(7) For the purposes of subsection (1)a. of this section a person charged before a court with a criminal offence in respect of whom a special veredict has been returned that he was guilty of the act or omission charged but was insane when he did the act or made the omission shall be regarded as person who has been convicted of a criminal offence and the detention in execution of the order of a court.

PROTECTION OF LAW.

6. (1) All persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law.

(2) If any person is charged with a criminal offence, then unless the charge is withdrawn, the case shall be afforded a fair hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial court established by law.

(3) Every person who is charged with a criminal offence-

a. shall be presumed to be innocent until he is proved or has pleaded guilty;

b. shall be informed as soon as reasonably practicable in a language that the understands, of the nature and particulars of the offence charged;

c. shall be given adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence:

d. shall be permitted to defend himself before the court in person or at his own expense, by a legal practitioner of his own choice:

e. shall be afforded facilities to examine in person or by his legal representative the witnesses called by the prosecution before the court, and to obtain the attendance and carry out the examination of witnesses to testify on his behalf before the court on the same conditions as those applying to witnesses called by the prosecution; and

f. shall be permitted to have without payment the assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand the language used at the trial.

and except with his own consent the trial shall not take place in his and except with his own consent the trial shall not take place in his absence unless he so conducts himself as to render the continuance of the proceedings in his presence impracticable and the court has ordered him to be removed and the trial to proceed in his absence:

Provided that the trial may take place in his absence in any case in which it is so provide by a law under which he is entitled to adequate notice of the charge and the date, time and place of the trial and to a reasonable opportunity or appearing before the court.

(4) A person shall not be held to be guilty of a criminal offence on account of any act or omission that did not, at the time it took place, constitute sich an offence, and not penalty shall be imposed for any criminal offence that is severer in degree or description than the maximum penalty that might have been imposed for that offence at the time when it was committed.

(5) A person who shows that he has been tried by a competent court for a criminal offence and either convicted or acquitted shall not again be tried for that offence or for any other criminal offence if which he could have been convicted at the trial for that offence, save upon the order of a superior court in the course of appeal or review proceedings relating to the conviction or acquittal.

(6) A person who is tried for a criminal offence shall not be compelled to give evidence at the trial.

(7) Any court or other authority prescribed by law for the determination of the existence or extent of any civil right or obligation shall be established by law and shall be independent and impartial; and where proceedings for such a determination are instituted by any person before such a court or other authority, the case shall be given a fair hearing within a reasonable time.

(8) Except with the agreement of all the parties thereto, all proceedings of every court and proceedings for the determination of the existence or extent of any civil right or obligation before any other authority, including the announcement of the decision of the court or other authority, shall be held in public.

(9) Nothing in subsection (8) of this section shall prevent the court or other adjudicating authority from excluding from the proceedings persons other than the parties thereto and the legal practitioners representing them to such extent as the court or other authority-

a. may by law be empowered to do and may consider necessary or expedient in circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice or in interlocutory proceedings or in the interest of public morality, the welfare of persons under the age of eighteen years or the protection of the private lives of persons concerned in the proceedings; or

b. may by law be empowered or required to do in the interests of defence, public safety or public order.

(10) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of-

a. subsection (3)a. of this section to the extent that the law in question imposes upon any person charged with a criminal offence the burden of proving particular facts;

b. subsection (3)e. of this section to the extent that the law in question imposes reasonable conditions that must be satisfied if witnesses called to testify on behalf of an accused person are to be paid their expenses out of public funds; or

c. subsection(5) of this section to the extent that the law in question authorizes a court to try a member of a disciplined force for a criminal offence notwithstanding any trial and conviction or acquittal of that member under the disciplinary law of that force, so however, that any court so trying such a member and convicting him shall in sentencing him to any punishment take into account any punishment awarded him under that disciplinary law.

(11) In the case of any person who is held in lawful detention the provisions of subsection (2) and paragraphs (d.) and (e.) of subsection (3) of this section shall not apply in relation to his trial for a criminal offence under the law regulating the discipline of persons held in such detention.

(12) In this section"criminal offence" means a criminal offence under a law.

PROTECTION FROM INHUMAN TREATMENT

7. No person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading punishment or other treatment.

PROTECTION FROM SLAVERY AND FORCED LABOR

8. (1) No person shall be held in slavery or servitude.

(2) No person shall be required to perform forced labor.

(3) For the purposes of this section, the expression "Forced labor" does not include-

a. any labor required in consequence of the sentence or order of a court;

b. labor required of any person while he is lawfully detained that, though not required in consequence of the sentence or order of a court, is reasonably necessary in the interests of hygiene or for the maintenance of the place at which he is detained;

c. any labor required of a member of a disciplined force in pursuance of his duties as such or, in the case of a person who has conscientious objections to service as a member of a naval, military or air force, any labor that that person is required by law to perform in place of such service; or

d. any labor required during any period of public emergency or in the event of any accident or natural calamity that threatens the life and well-being of the community, to the extent that the requiring of such labor is reasonably justifiable in the circumstances of any situation arising or existing during that period or as a result of that accident or natural calamity for the purpose of dealing with that situation.

PROTECTION FROM ARBITRARY SEARCH OR ENTRY.

9. (1) Except whit his own consent, a person shall not be subjected to the search of his person or his property or the entry by others on his premises.

(2) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this section to the extent that the law in question makes reasonable provision-

a. that is required in the interests of the defence, public safety, public order, public morality, public health, town and country planning the development and utilization of mineral resources or the development or utilization of any property for a purpose beneficial to the community;

b. that is required for the purpose of protecting the rights or freedoms of other persons;

c. that authorizes an officer or agent of the Government, a local government authority or a body corporate established by law for public purposes to enter on the premises or any person in order to inspect those premises or anything thereon for the purpose of any tax, rate or due or in order to carry out work connected with any property that is lawfully on those premises and that belongs to the Government or to that authority or body corporate, as the case may be; or

d. that authorizes, for the purpose of enforcing the judgment or order of the court in any civil proceedings, the search of any person or property by order of a court or entry upon any premises by such order.

PROTECTION OF FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT

10. (1) A person shall not be deprived of his freedom of movement, that is to say, the right to move freely throughout Belize, the right to reside in any part of Belize, the right to enter Belize, the right to leave Belize and immunity from expulsion from Belize.

(2) Any restriction on a person's freedom of movement that is involved in his lawful detention shall not be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this section.

(3) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this section to the extent that the law in question makes reasonable provision-

a. for the imposition of restrictions on the movement or residence within Belize of any person or on any person's rights to leave Belize that are required in the interests of defence, public safety or public order;

b. for the imposition or restrictions on the movement or residence within Belize or on the right to leave Belize or persons generally or any class of persons in the interests of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health or, in respect of the right to leave Belize, of securing compliance with any international obligation of the Government;

c. for the imposition or restrictions, by order of a court, on the movement or residence within Belize or any person or on any person's right to leave Belize either in consequence of his having been found guilty of a criminal offence under a law or for the purpose of ensuring that he appears before a court at a later date for trial of such a criminal offence or for proceedings preliminary to trial or for proceedings relating to his extradition or lawful removal from Belize;

d. for the imposition of restrictions on the freedom of movement of any person who is not a citizen of Belize;

e. for the imposition of restrictions on the acquisition or use by any person of land or other property in Belize;

f. for the imposition of restriction on the movement or residence within Belize or on the right to leave Belize of any officer in the public service that are required for the proper performance of his functions;

g. for the removal of a person from Belize to be tried or punished in some other country for a criminal offence under the law of that other country or to undergo imprisonment in some other country in execution of the sentence or a court in respect or a criminal offence under a law of which he has been convicted; or

h. for the imposition or restrictions on the right or any person to leave Belize that are required in order to secure the fulfillment of any obligation imposed on that person by law.

(4) If any person whose freedom of movement has been restricted by virtue of such a provision as is referred to in subsection (3)a. of this section so requests at any time during the period of that restriction not earlier than twenty-one days after the order was made or three months after he last made such a request, as the case may be, his case shall be reviewed by an independent and impartial tribunal presided over by a person appointed by the Chief Justice from among persons who are legal practitioners.

(5) On any review by a tribunal in pursuance of subsection (4) of this section of the case of any person whose freedom of movement has been restricted, the tribunal may make recommendations concerning the necessity or expediency of the continuation of that restriction to the authority by whom it was ordered and, unless is otherwise provided by law, that authority shall be obliged to act in accordance with any such recommendations.

PROTECTION OF FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE.

11. (1) Except with his own consent, a person shall not be hindered in the enjoyment of his freedom of conscience, including freedom of thought and of religion, freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others, and both in public and in private, to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship teaching, practice and observance.

(2) Except with his own consent (or, if he is a person under the age of eighteen years, the consent of his parent or guardian) a person attending any place of education, detained in any prison or corrective institution or serving in a naval, military or air force shall not be required to receive religious instruction or to take part in or attend any religious ceremony or observance if that instruction, ceremony or observance relates to a religion which is not his own.

(3) Every recognized religious community shall be entitled, at its own expense to establish and maintain places of education and to manage any place of education which or maintains; and no such community shall be prevented from providing religious instruction for persons of that community in the course of any education provided by that community whether or not it is in receipt of a government subsidy or other form financial assistance designed to meet in whole or in part the cost of such course of education.

(4) A person shall not be compelled to take any oath which is contrary to his religion or belief or to take any oath in a manner which is contrary his religion or belief.

(5) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention or this section to the extent that the law in question makes provision which is reasonably required-

a. in the interests of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health;

b. for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedoms of other persons, including the right to observe and practice any religion without the unsolicited intervention of members of any other religion; or

c. for the purpose or regulating educational institutions in the interest of the persons who receive or may receive instruction in them.

(6) References in this section to a religion shall be construed as including references to a religious denomination, and cognate expressions shall be construed accordingly.

PROTECTION OF FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

12. (1) Except with his own consent, a person shall not be hindered in the enjoyment of his freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions without interference, freedom to receive ideas and information without interference, freedom to communicate ideas and information without interference (whether the communication be to the public generally or to any person or class of persons) and freedom from interference with his correspondence.

(2) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this section to the extent that the law in question makes reasonable provision-

a. that is required in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health;

b. that is required for the purpose of protecting the reputations, rights and freedoms of other persons or the private lives of persons concerned in legal proceedings, preventing the disclosure or information received in confidence, maintaining the administration or the technical operation of telephony, telegraphy posts, wireless broadcasting, television or other means of communication, public exhibitions or public entertainments; or

c. that imposes restrictions on officers in the public service that are required for the proper performance of their functions.

PROTECTION OF FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY AND ASSOCIATION.

13. (1) Except with his own consent, a person shall not be hindered in the enjoyment of his freedom of assembly and association, that is to say, his right to assemble freely and associate with other persons and in particular to form or beling to trade unions or other associations for the protection of his interests or to form or belong to political parties or other political associations.

(2) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this section to the extent that the law in question makes reasonable provision-

a. that is required in the interests of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health;

b. that is required for the purpose of protecting the rights or freedoms of other persons;

c. that imposes restrictions on officers in the public service that are required for the proper performance of their functions; or

d. that is required to prohibit any association the membership or which is restricted on grounds of race or color.

PROTECTION OF RIGHT OF PRIVACY.

14. (1) A person shall not be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honor and reputation. The private and family life, the home and the personal correspondence of every person shall be respected.

(2) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention or this section to the extent that the law in question makes provision of the kind specified in subsection (2) of section 9 of this Constitution.

PROTECTION OF RIGHT TO WORK

15. (1) No person shall be denied the opportunity to gain his living by work which he freely chooses or accepts, whether by pursuing a profession or occupation or by engaging in a trade or business, or otherwise.

(2) It shall not be inconsistent with subsection (1) of this section to require, as a condition for embarking upon or continuing work, the payment of professional fees, trade or business license fees, or similar charges, or the possession or appropriate licenses or qualifications.

(3) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this section to the extent that the law in question makes reasonable provision-

a. that is required in the interests of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health;

b. that is required for the purpose of protecting the rights or freedoms of other persons; or

c. for the imposition of restrictions on the right to work of any person who is not a citizen of Belize.

PROTECTION FROM DISCRIMINATION ON THE GROUNDS OR RACE, ETC.

16. (1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (4) (5) and (7) of this section, no law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect.

(2) Subject to the provisions of subsections (6) (7) and (8) of this section, no person shall be treated in a discriminatory manner by any person or authority.

(3) In this section, the expression "discriminatory" means affording different treatment to different persons attributable wholly or mainly to their respective description by sex, race, place or origin, political opinions, color or creed whereby persons of one such description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another such description are not made subject or are accorded privileges or advantages which are not accorded to persons of another such description.

(4) Subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to any law so far as that law makes provision-

a. for the appropriation or public revenues or other public funds;

b. with respect to persons who are not citizen of Belize;

c. for the application, in the case of any such description as is mentioned in subsection (3) of this section (or of persons connected with such persons), of the law with respect to adoption, marriage, divorce, burial, devolution of property on death or other like matters which is the personal law of persons of that description; or

d. whereby persons of any such description as is mentioned in subsection (3) of this section may be subjected to any disability or restriction or may be accorded any privilege or advantage that, having regard to its nature and to special circumstances pertaining to those persons or to persons of any other such description, is reasonably justifiable.

(5) Nothing contained in any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of subsection (1) of this section to the extent that it makes provision with respect to standards or qualifications (not being standards or qualifications specifically relating to sex, race, place of origin, political opinions, color or creed) to be required or any person who is appointed to or to act in any office or employment.

(6) Subsection (2) of this section shall not apply to anything which is expressly or by necessary implication authorized to be done by any such provision of law as is referred to in subsection (4) or subsection (5) of this section.

(7) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention or this section to the extent that the law in question makes provision whereby persons of any such description as is mentioned in subsection (3) of this section may be subjected to any restriction on the rights and freedoms guaranteed by sections 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 of this Constitution, being such a restriction as is authorized by section 9(2), paragraph a., b. or h. of section 10 (3), section 11(5), section 12(2) or section 13(2), as the case may be.

(8) Nothing contained in subsection (2) of this section shall affect any discretion relating to the institution, conductor or discontinuance of civil or criminal proceedings in any court that is vested in any person by or under this Constitution or any other law.

PROTECTION FROM DEPRIVATION OF PROPERTY

17. (1) No property of any description shall be compulsorily taken possession of and no interest in or right over property of any description shall be compulsorily acquired except by or under a law that-

a. prescribes the principles on which and the manner in which reasonable compensation therefor is to be determined and given within a reasonable time; and

b. secures to any person claiming an interest in or right over the property a right or access to the courts for the purpose of-

i) establishing his interest or right (if any)

ii) determining whether that taking of possession or acquisition was duly carried out for a public purpose in accordance whit the law authorizing the taking of possession or acquisition;

iii) determining the amount of the compensation to which he may be entitled; and

iv) enforcing his right to any such compensation.

(2) Nothing in this section shall invalidate any by reason only that it provides for the taking possession of any property or the acquisition of any interest in or right over property-

a. in satisfaction of any tax, rate or due;

b. by way of penalty for breach of the law or forfeiture in consequence of a breach of the law;

c. by way of taking a sample for the purposes of any law;

d. as an incident of any deposit required to be made with the Government of a reasonable number of copies of every book, magazine, newspaper or other printed work published in Belize;

e. where the property consist of an animal, upon its being found trespassing or straying;

f. as an incident of a lease, tenency, mortgage, bill of sale or any other right or obligation arising under a contract;

g. by way of requiring persons carrying on business in Belize to deposit money with the Government or an agency or the Government for the purpose of controlling credit or investment in Belize;

h. by way of the vesting and administration of trust property, enemy property, the property of deceased persons, persons of unsound mind or persons adjudged or otherwise declared bankrupt or the property of companies or other societies (whether incorporated or not) in the course of being wound up;

i) in the execution of judgments or orders of courts;

j) in consequence of any law with respect to the limitation of actions;

k) by reason of its being in a dangerous state or injurious to the health of human beings, animals or plants;

l) for the purpose of marketing property of that description in the common interests of the various persons otherwise entitled to dispose of that property; or

m) for so long only as may be necessary for the purpose of an examination, investigation, trial or enquiry or, in the case of land, the carrying out on the land-

i) of work of soil conservation or the conservation for other natural resources; or

ii) of agricultural development or improvement which the owner or occupier of the land has been required and has without reasonable and lawful excuse refused or failed to carry out.

PROVISIONS FOR PERIODS OF PUBLIC EMERGENCY

18.- (1) In this Chapter "period of public emergency" means any period during which-

a. Belize is engaged in any war; or

b. There is in force a resolution of the National Assembly declaring that democratic institutions in Belize are threatened by subversion.

(2) The Governor-General may by proclamation which shall be published in the Gazette, declare that a state of public emergency exists for the purposes of this Chapter.

(3) A proclamation made by the Governor-General under subsection (2) of this section shall not be effective unless it contains a declaration that the Governor-General is satisfied-

a. that state of war between Belize and another State is imminent or that a public emergency has arisen as a result of the occurrence of any earthquake, hurricane, flood, fire, outbreak of pestilence, outbreak of infectious disease, or other similar calamity; or

b. that action has been taken or is immediately threatened by any person or body of persons of such a nature and on so extensive a scale as to be likely to endanger the public safety or to deprive the community, or any substantial portion of the community, of supplies or services essential to life.

(4) A proclamation made under subsection (2) of this section may be made so as to apply only to such part of Belize as may be specified in the proclamation (in this subsection called "the emergency area"), in which case regulations made under subsection (9) of this section shall except as otherwise expressly provided in such regulations have effect only in the emergency area.

(5) A proclamation made by the Governor-General for the purposes of and in accordance with this section-

a. shall, unless previously revoked, remain in force for a period not exceeding one month;

b. may be extended from time to time by a resolution passed by the National Assembly for further periods, not exceeding in respect of each such extension a period of twelve months; and

c. may be revoked at any time by a resolution of the National Assembly.

(6) A resolution of the National Assembly passed for the purposes of subsection (1) (c) of this section shall remain in force for two months or such shorter period as may be specified therein:

Provided that amy such resolution may be extended from time to time by a further such resolution, each extension not exceeding two months from the date of the resolution effecting the extension; and any such resolution may be revoked at any time by a further resolution.

(7) A resolution of the National Assembly for the purposes of subsection (1) (c) of this section, and a resolution of the National Assembly extending or revoking any such resolution, shall not be passed unless it is supported by the votes of two-thirds of the members of the House of Representatives present and voting.

(8) Any provision of this section that a proclamation or resolution shall lapse or cease to be in force at any particular time is without prejudice to the making of a further such proclamation or resolution whether before or after that time.

(9) During any period of public emergency, the following provisions shall have effect-

a. the Governor-General may make such regulations as are necessary or expedient for securing public safety, the defence of Belize, the maintenance of public order and the suppression of mutiny, rebellion and riot and for maintaining supplies and services essential to the life of the community;

b. any such a regulations may empower such authorities or persons as may be specified in the regulations to make orders and tales for any of the purposes for which such regulations are authorized by this subsection to be made and may contain such incidental and supplementary provisions as are necessary or expedient for the purposes of the regulations;

c. any such regulations or any order or rule made in pursuance of such regulations may amend or suspend the operation of any law and shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in any law;

d. in this subsection, "law" does nor include this Constitution or ant provision thereof or any law that alters this Constitution or any provision thereof.

(10) Nothing contained in or don under the authority of any law (including any regulations made under subsection (9) of this section) shall be help to be inconsistent with or in contravention of sections 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 or 17 of this Constitution to the extent that the law in question makes in relation to any period of public emergency provision, or authorizes the doing during any such period of any thing, that is reasonably justifiable in the circumstances of any situation arising or existing during the period for the purpose of dealing with that situation.

PROTECTION OF PERSONS DETAINED UNDER EMERGENCY LAWS

19. (1) When a person is detained by virtue of a law that authorizes the taking during a period of public emergency of measures that are reasonably justifiable for the purpose of dealing with the situation that exists in Belize during that period, the following provisions shall apply, that is to say:-

a. he shall, with reasonable promptitude and in any case not more than seven days after the commencement of his detention, be informed in a language that he understands of the grounds upon which he is detained and furnished with a written statement in English specifying the particulars of those grounds;

b. not more than fourteen days after the commencement of his detention, a notification shall be published in the Gazette stating that he has been detained and giving particulars of the provision of law under which his detention is authorized;

c. not more than one month after the commencement of his detention and thereafter during his detention at intervals of not more than three months, his case shall be reviewed by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law and presided over by a person appointed by the Chief Justice from among persons who are legal practitioners;

d. he shall be afforded reasonable facilities for private communication and consultation with a legal practitioner of his own choice who shall be permitted to make representations to the tribunal appointed for the review of the case of the detained person; and

e. at the hearing of his case by the tribunal appointed for the review of his case he shall be permitted to appear in person or to be represented by a legal practitioner of his own choice.

(2) On any review by a tribunal in pursuance of this section of the case of a detained person, the tribunal may make recommendations concerning the necessity or expediency of continuing his detention to the authority by which it was ordered but, unless it is otherwise provided by law, that authority shall not be obliged to act in accordance with any such recommendations.

(3) Nothing contained in subsection (1) (d) or subsection (1) (e) of this section shall be construed as entitling a person to legal representation at public expense.

ENFORCEMENT OF PROTECTIVE PROVISIONS

20.- (1) If any person alleges that any of the provisions of sections 3 to 19 inclusive of this Constitution has been, is being or is likely to be contravened in relation to him (or, in the case of a person who is detained, if any other person alleges such a contravention in relation to the detained person), then, without prejudice to any other action with respect to the same matter which is lawfully available, that person (or that other person) may apply to the Supreme Court for redress.

(2) The Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction-

a. to hear and determine any application made by any person in pursuance of subsection (1) of this section; and

b. to determine any question arising in the case of any person which is referred to it in pursuance of subsection (3) of this section, and may make such declarations and orders, issue such writs and give such directions as it may consider appropriate for the purpose of enforcing or securing the enforcement of any of the provisions of sections 3 to 10 inclusive of this Constitution:

Provided that the Supreme Court may decline to exercise its powers under this subsection if it is satisfied that adequate means of redress for the contravention alleged are or have been available to the person concerned under any other law.

(3) If in any proceedings in any court (other than the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court or a court-martial) any question arises as to the contravention of any of the provisions of sections 3 to 19 inclusive of this Constitution, the person presiding in that court may, and shall if any party to the proceedings so requests, refer the question to the Supreme Court unless, in his opinion, the raising of the question is merely frivolous or vexatious.

(4) Any person aggrieved by any determination of the Supreme Court under this section may appeal therefrom to the Court of Appeal:

Provided that no appeal shall lie from a determination for the Supreme Court under this section dismissing an application on the grounds that it is frivolous or vexatious.

(5) Where any question is referred to the Supreme Court in pursuance of subsection (3) of this section, the Supreme Court shall give its decision upon the question and the court in which the question arose shall dispose of the case in accordance with that decision or, if that decision is the subject of an appeal to the Court of Appeal or to Her Majesty in Council, in accordance with the decision to the Court of Appeal or, as the case may be, of Her Majesty in Council.

(6) Notwithstanding the validity of any law under section 9(2), 10(3), 11(5), 12(2), 13(2) or 16(4)(d) of this Constitution, any act or thing done under the authority of such law shall be unlawful if such act or thing is shown not to be reasonably required in the actual circumstances in which it is done.

(7) The Supreme Court shall have such powers in addition to those conferred by this section as may be conferred on it by the National Assembly for the purpose of enabling it more effectively to exercise the jurisdiction conferred on it by this section.

(8) The Chief Justice may make rules with respect to the practice and procedure of the Supreme Court in relation to the jurisdiction and powers conferred on it by or under this section (including rules with respect to the time within which applications may be brought and references shall be made to the Supreme Court).

PROTECTION OF EXISTING LAWS

21.- Nothing contained in any law in force immediately before Independence Day nor anything done under the authority of any such law shall, for a period of five years after Independence Day, be held to be inconsistent with or done in contravention of any of the provisions of this Chapter.

INTERPRETATION AND SAVINGS

22.- (1) In this Chapter, unless the context otherwise requires-

"contravention", in relation to any requirement, includes a failure to comply with that requirement, and cognate expressions shall be construed accordingly;

"court" means any court of law having jurisdiction in Belize other than a court established by a disciplinary law, and includes Her Majesty in Council and in sections 4 and 8 of this Constitution a court established by a disciplinary law;

"disciplinary law" means a law regulating the discipline of any disciplined force;

"disciplined force" means-

a. a naval, military or air force;

b. the Police force;

c. a prison service; or

d. any such other force or service as may be prescribed by the National Assembly;

"legal practitioner" means a person admitted and enrolled as an attorney-at-law under the laws of Belize;

"member", in relation to a disciplined force, includes any person who, under the law regulating the discipline of that force, is subject to that discipline.

(2) In relation to any person who is a member of a disciplined force of Belize, nothing contained in or done under the authority of the disciplinary law of that force shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of any of the provisions of this Chapter other than sections 4, 7 and 8 of this Constitution.

(3) In relation to any person who is a member of a disciplined force of a country other than Belize that is lawfully present in Belize, nothing contained in or done under the authority of the disciplinary law of that force shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of any of the provisions of this Chapter.

CHAPTER III

CITIZENSHIP

PERSON WHO BECOME CITIZENS ON INDEPENDENCE DAY

23. (1) Every person who, having been born in Belize, is immediately before Independence Day a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies shall become a citizen of Belize on Independence Day.

(2) Every person who, immediately before Independence Day is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies-

a. having become such a citizen under the British Nationality Act 1948 a. by virtue of his having been naturalized in Belize as a British subject before that Act came into force; or

b. having while resident in Belize become such a citizen by virtue of his having been naturalized or registered under that Act,

shall become a citizen of Belize on Independence Day.

(3) Every person who, having been born outside Belize, is immediately before Independence Day a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies shall, if his father or mother becomes, or would but for his death or the renunciation of his citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies have become a citizen of Belize by virtue of subsection (1) or (2) of this section, become a citizen of Belize on Independence Day.

(4) Every person who having been born outside Belize, is immediately before Independence Day a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies shall, if one of his grandparents becomes, or would but for his death or the renunciation of his citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies have become, a citizen of Belize by virtue of subsection (1) or (2) of this section, become a citizen of Belize on Independence Day:

Provided that a person shall not become a citizen of Belize by virtue of this subsection if immediately before Independence Day he possesses the citizenship of any country other than the United Kingdom.

(5) Every woman who, having been married to a person who becomes, or but for his death or the renunciation of his citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies would have become, a citizen of Belize by virtue of subsection (1), (2), (3) or (4) of this section, is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies immediately before Independence Day shall become a citizen of Belize on Independence Day.

(6) In this section"the British Nationality Act 1948" includes any Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom amending that Act.

PERSON BORN IN BELIZE ON OR AFTER INDEPENDENCE DAY

24. Every person born in Belize on or after Independence Day shall become a citizen or Belize at the date of his birth:

Provided that a person shall not become a citizen of Belize by virtue of this section if at the time of his birth-

a. neither of his parents is a citizen of Belize and his father or mother possesses such immunity from suit and legal process as is accorded to the envoy of a foreign sovereign power accredited to Belize; or

b. his father or mother is a citizen of a country with which Belize is at war and the birth occurs in a place then under occupation by that country.

PERSON BORN OUTSIDE BELIZE ON OR AFTER INDEPENDENCE DAY

25. A person born outside Belize on or after Independence Day shall become a citizen of Belize at the date of his birth if, at that date, his father or mother is a citizen of Belize otherwise than by virtue of this section or subsection (3) or (4) of section 23 of this Constitution.

REGISTRATION

26. (1) the following persons may, upon making application at any time after Independence Day, be registered as citizens of Belize-

a. any person who is married to a citizen of Belize;

b. any person who has been resident continuously in Belize for a period of five years immediately before the date of his application.

(2) The National Assembly shall prescribe by law the procedure for making and determining applications, and the conditions to be fulfilled by persons making applications, for registration under this section.

(3) A person registered as a citizen of Belize under this section shall become a citizen of Belize on the date on which he is so registered.

AVOIDANCE OF DUAL NATIONALITY

27. Any citizen of Belize who, by virtue of any voluntary act of his (other than marriage), acquires the citizenship of any other country shall, with effect from the date of such acquisition, cease to be a citizen of Belize.

CITIZENSHIP LEGISLATION

28. The National Assembly may make provision, not inconsistent with this Chapter, in respect of citizenship, including provision for-

a. the acquisition of citizenship of Belize by person who are not eligible or who are no longer eligible to become citizens of Belize under this Chapter;

b. depriving any person of his citizenship of Belize;

c. the renunciation by any person of his citizenship of Belize.

INTERPRETATION

29. (1) For the purposes of this Chapter, a person born aboard a registered ship or aircraft, or aboard an unregistered ship or aircraft of the government of any country, shall be deemed to have been born in the place in which the ship or aircraft was registered or, as the case may be, in that country.

(2) Any reference in this Chapter to the national status of the father of a person at the time of that person's birth shall, in relation to a person born after the death of his father, be construed as a reference to the national status of the father at the time of the father's death; and where that death occurred before Independence Day and the birth occurred on or after Independence Day the national status that the father would have had if he had died on Independence Day shall be deemed to be his national status at the time of his death.

CHAPTER IV

THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL

ESTABLISHMENT OF OFFICE

30. There shall be a Governor-General of Belize who shall be a citizen of Belize appointed by Her Majesty and shall hold office during Her Majesty's pleasure and who shall be Her Majesty's representative in Belize.

ACTING GOVERNOR-GENERAL

31. (1) During any period when the office of Governor-General is vacant or the holder of the office of Governor-General is absent from Belize or is for any other reason unable to perform the functions of his office those functions shall be performed by such person as Her Majesty may appoint.

(2) Any such person as aforesaid shall nor continue to perform the functions of the office of Governor-General or some other person having a prior right to perform the functions of that office has notified him that he is about to assume or resume those functions.

(3) The holder of the office of Governor-General shall not, for the purposes of this section, be regarded as absent from Belize or as unable to perform the functions of his office-

a. by reason that he is in passage from one part of Belize to another; or

b. at any time when there is a subsisting appointment of a deputy under section 33 of this Constitution.

OATH TO BE TAKEN BY GOVERNOR-GENERAL

32. A person appointed to hold the office of Governor-general shall before entering upon the duties of that office, take and subscribe the oath of allegiance and office.

DEPUTY TO GOVERNOR-GENERAL

33. (1) Whenever the Governor-General

a. has occasion to be absent from the seat of government but not from Belize;

b. has occasion to be absent from Belize for a period which he considers, acting in his own deliberate judgment, will be of short duration; or

c. is suffering from an illness which he considers, acting in his own deliberate judgment, will be of short duration.

he may, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, appoint, any person in Belize to be his deputy during such absence or illness and in that capacity to perform on his behalf such of the functions of the office of Governor-General as may be specified in the instrument by which he is appointed.

(2) The power and authority of the Governor-General shall not be abridged, altered or in any way affected by the appointment of a deputy under this section, and subject to the provisions of this Constitution, a deputy shall conform to and observe all instructions that the Governor-General, acting in his own deliberate judgment, may from time to time address to him:

Provided that the question whether or not a deputy has conformed to and observed any such instructions shall not be enquired into by any court of law.

(3) A person appointed as deputy under this section shall hold that appointment for such period as may be specified in the instrument by which he is appointed, and his appointment may be revoked at any time by the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister.

EXERCISE OF GOVERNOR-GENERAL'S FUNCTIONS

34. (1) In the exercise of his functions the Governor-General shall act in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet or a Minister acting under the general authority of the Cabinet except in cases where he is required by this Constitution or any other law to act in accordance with the advice of, or after consultation with, any person or authority other than the Cabinet or in his own deliberate judgment.

(2) Any reference in this Constitution to the functions of the Governor-General shall be construed as a reference to his powers and duties in the exercise of the executive authority of Belize and to any other powers and duties conferred or imposed on him as Governor-General by or under this Constitution or any other law.

(3) Where by this Constitution the Governor-General is required to perform any function after consultation with any person or authority he shall not be obliged to exercise that function in accordance with the advice of that person or authority.

(4) Where by this Constitution the Governor-General is required to perform any function in accordance with the advice of, or after consultation with, any person or authority, the question whether the Governor General has so exercised that function shall not be enquired into by any court of law.

GOVERNOR-GENERAL TO BE INFORMED CONCERNING MATTERS OF GOVERNMENT

35. The Prime Minister shall keep the Governor-General fully informed concerning the general conduct of the government of Belize and shall furnish the Governor-General with such information as he may request with respect to any particular matter relating to the government of Belize.

CHAPTER V

THE EXECUTIVE

EXECUTIVE AUTHORITY

36. (1) The executive authority of Belize is vested in Her Majesty,

(2) Subject to the provision of this Constitution, the executive authority of Belize may be exercised on behalf of Her Majesty by the Governor-General either directly or through officers subordinate to him .

(3) Nothing in this section shall prevent the National Assembly from conferring functions on persons or authorities other than the Governor-General.

PRIME MINISTER

37. (1) There shall be a Prime Minister of Belize who shall be appointed by the Governor-General.

(2) Whenever the Governor-General has occasion to appoint a Prime Minister he shall appoint a member of the House of Representatives who is the leader of the political party which commands the support of the majority of the members of that House; and if no political party has an overall majority, he shall appoint a member of that House who appears to him likely to command the support of the majority of the members of that House.

(3) If occasion arises for making an appointment to the office of Prime Minister while the National Assembly is dissolved, then not withstanding the provisions of subsection (2) of this section, a person who was a member of the House of Representatives and the Prime Minister does not within seven days either resign from his office or advise the Governor-General to dissolve the National Assembly.

(5) The office of Prime Minister shall also become vacant-

a. if the holder of the office ceases to be a member of the House of Representatives otherwise than by reason of the dissolution of the National Assembly;

b. if, by virtue of section 59(3) of this Constitution, he is required to cease to perform his function as a member of the House; or

c. if he is informed by the Governor-General that the Governor-General is in accordance with subsection (2) or (3) of this section about to reappoint him as Prime Minister or to appoint another person as Prime Minister.

(6) In exercise of the powers conferred on him by this section the Governor-General shall act in his own deliberate judgment.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER

38. The Governor-General shall, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, designate a Minister as Deputy Prime Minister to whom the Prime Minister may from time to time depute such of his functions as he may specify.

PERFORMANCE OF FUNCTIONS OF PRIME MINISTER DURING ABSENCE OR ILLNESS

39. (1) Whenever the Prime Minister is absent from Belize or is by reason of illness unable to perform the functions conferred on him in accordance with this Constitution, those functions (other than the functions conferred by this section) shall be performed-

a. by the Deputy Prime Minister; or

b. in the absence of the Deputy Prime Minister or if he too is likewise unable to perform those functions, by such other Minister as the Governor-General may authorize for that purpose.

(2) The Deputy Prime Minister shall cease to perform the functions of the Prime Minister when he is informed by the Governor-General that the Deputy Prime Minister is about to assume, or that the Prime Minister is about to resume, those functions.

(4) The powers of the Governor-General under this section shall be exercised by him in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister:

Provided that if the Governor-General, acting in his own deliberate judgment, considers that it is impracticable to obtain the advice of the Prime Minister owing to the absence or illness of the Prime Minister he may exercise those powers-

a. in accordance with the advice of the Deputy Prime Minister, or

b. if he likewise considers it impracticable to obtain the advice of the Deputy Prime Minister, in his own deliberate judgment.

MINISTERS OF GOVERNMENT

40. (1) There shall be, in addition to the office of Prime Minister, such other offices of Minister of the Government as may be established by the National Assembly or, subject to the provision of any law enacted by the National Assembly, by the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister.

(2) Appointment to the office of Minister shall be made by the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, from among members of the House of Representatives and of the Senate:

Provided that person holding the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives of President of the Senate may not be appointed to the office of Minister.

(3) If occasion arises for making an appointment to the office of Minister while the National Assembly is dissolved, then notwithstanding the provisions of subsection(2) of this section, a person who was a member of the House of Representatives or of the Senate immediately before the dissolution may be appointed as Minister.

(4) The office of any Minister shall become vacant-

a. if the holder of the office ceases to be a member of the House of Representatives or of the Senate otherwise than by reason of the dissolution of the National Assembly;

b. if, by virtue of section 59(3) or 64(3) of this Constitution, he is required to cease to perform his functions as a member of the House of Representatives or of the Senate;

c. if the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, so directs;