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House meets; loaded agenda includes loan motions and new and pending legislation

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Posted: Friday, July 15, 2022. 10:23 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: The House of Representatives’ last meeting before summer recess gets underway with a loaded agenda.

Loan motions will be introduced for US$24 million from the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) for the Expansion and Rehabilitation of the Philip Goldson Highway and the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) – Loan Commitment Under Bilateral Cooperation Program (US$75,000,000) Loan Motion, 2022, part of the four-year program between the countries from 2021-2025.

Bills up for second reading are the Belizean Nationality (Amendment) Bill, providing for the forthcoming amnesty program due to start in August; the Defamation Bill repealing and updating existing legislation; the Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Bill, 2022 to give effect to the provisions of the CITES on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and to promote the management, conservation and protection of threatened and endangered species; and the Married Persons (Protection) Amendment Bill, removing fault grounds for application for judicial separation.

New Bills include the repeal of Act No. 14 of 2021 which established the 10 percent salary cut for public officers and teachers; the Trade Marks (Amendment) Bill which brings Belize into line with the Madrid Protocol; the first Supplementary Appropriation for the current fiscal year which will fund the forthcoming cannabis referendum; the Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (Amendment) Bill, 2022 which will amend the Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters Act to increase the statutory period for retention of records by reporting financial institutions; to impose civil sanctions on reporting financial institutions for failure to apply due diligence procedures on persons for providing false self-certifications and to provide a threshold for controlling persons.

In the area of tourism, the Hotels and Tourist Accommodation (Amendment) Bill, 2022 is presented to provide for the Minister to make regulations to adjust the rate of accommodation tax to encourage tourism among certain classes of persons; while the Accommodation Tax (Remission of Arrears) Bill, 2022 is to provide for the remission of arrears of accommodation tax under the Hotels and Tourist Accommodation Act.

The People’s Constitution Commission Bill, 2022 is to provide for the establishment of a People’s Constitution Commission to draft and guide the process of promulgating a new Constitution for Belize or amendments to the Belize Constitution; and the Digital Government Bill, 2022 to establish the E-Governance and Digitalization Department and provide for its powers, duties and functions; to promote and regulate the provision of electronic government (e-government) services; and to enhance service delivery, citizen’s access, and the efficiency and effectiveness of government administrative procedures.

There are also questions to and statements by Ministers.

We’ll have more from the capital as it happens.

 

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