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House of Representatives latest and last meeting in calendar year

Posted: Friday, December 20, 2019. 11:04 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: A special sitting of the House of Representatives is underway today, Friday in Belmopan, the latest ever regular meeting of the House in a calendar year, coming just five days before Christmas.

After the December 14, 1984 general election, which brought Manuel Esquivel to power as Prime Minister in a 21-7 landslide, the first meeting of that Parliament was held on December 21, a week later (Esquivel personally took office on December 17).

At the last meeting held on Wednesday, December 4, Prime Minister Dean Barrow explained that the meeting was necessary to satisfy continuing compliance measures on offshore banking financial and tax resolutions imposed by the OECD and European Union (E.U.). The E.U. has moved Belize from a “blacklist” of non-cooperative jurisdictions for taxes to a “grey list”, but still requires more compliance.

We are also informed that the first reading of the long-awaited Fisheries Bill will be read, providing regulation for that important industry.

Six new bills will be introduced, all amendments: Social Security (Amendment) Bill, to remove offences in relation to insurance stamp; Income and Business Tax (Amendment) Bill, to provide for taxation of foreign source receipts under the business tax; Free Zones (Amendment) Bill, to remove the requirement for a permit for certain services to operate within the free zone; Fiscal Incentives (Amendment) Bill, to remove the prohibition on declaration as an approve enterprise if that enterprise has products destined for the domestic or CARICOM market; and Hotels and Tourist Accommodation (Amendment) Bill, to modernize the minimum registration, licensing and operating requirement for hotels and other tourist accommodations.

Bills being returned from committee for second reading are the Deposit Insurance Bill; the International Banking (Amendment) Bill; the Customs and Excise Duties (Amendment, No. 2) Bill; the Excise (Management and Tariff) Bill; and the Chief of Defence Staff Bill, all read at the previous meeting.

The recent crime situation and especially domestic violence issue involving relatives of members in the ruling party may potentially be discussed, if not during formal proceedings then on the adjournment.

Stay with BBN for the latest updates.


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