Posted: Wednesday, March 29, 2017. 12:36 p.m. CST.
By BBN Staff: This week, the Senate voted against the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (Amendment) Bill on its second reading making legislative history.
The amendment bill proposed to introduce a development fee to be collected from any border administered with support from PACT – an important bill to help increase revenue in Government’s 2017/2018 Budget .
The bill was voted seven to six in the Senate with all social partners voting with the Opposition; however, today, the Government of Belize (GOB) Press Office issued a press release informing the nation that the PACT Amendment Bill will still be presented to the Governor General for assent.
“In the sitting of the House of Representatives on Friday, March 24, 2017, the House passed the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (Amendment) Act, 2017 to vary the rate of the conservation fee collected from every non-Belizean departing from any air border; to apportion such fees between the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT) and the Consolidated Revenue Fund,” the GOB press release states.
The release goes on to say that pursuant to Section 80(1) of the Constitution of Belize, a “money Bill means a public Bill, which in the opinion of the Speaker, contains only provisions dealing with all or any of the following matters, namely, the imposition, repeal, remission, altercation or regulation of taxation; …”
Even though the PACT Amendment Bill did not receive consent by the Senate, the Speaker of the National Assembly was of the respectful opinion that the PACT Amendment Bill fits the definition of a “money Bill” and it was passed in the House as such.
The release also says that the, “Constitution allows for a money Bill defeated in the Senate to be presented to the Governor General for his assent in accordance with section 78(1) of the Constitution of Belize.”
According to the press release, Section 78(1) of the Constitution of Belize prescribes, “If a money bill, having been passed by the House of Representatives and sent to the Senate at least one month before the end of the session, is not passed by the Senate without amendment within one month after it is sent to that House, the Bill shall, unless the House of Representatives otherwise resolves, be presented to the Governor-General for assent notwithstanding that the Senate has not consented to the Bill.”
BBN readers who need more information can contact the Attorney General the Solicitor General’s Office at 501-828-4819.
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