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Ten Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) in Belize after Death of the Queen

Posted: Saturday, September 17, 2022. 12:57 pm CST.

By Dylan Vernon: Below are 10 frequently asked questions and the answers as to what happens after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

1. Q: Is King Charles III already the King of Belize?
A: Yes. Belize’s Head of State is the British monarch. In principle, King Charles became King of Belize automatically on the death of the Queen on 8 September 2022 – without either the people of Belize or the National Assembly having any say. He is also now King of the 14 other members of the Commonwealth (including the UK) that have the British monarch as Head of State.

2. Q: Does the Constitution of Belize have to be amended?
A: Yes. Even if Belize decides to keep the King Charles as our Head of State, the Constitution will have to be amended. The Constitution now says that “the executive authority in Belize is vested in Her Majesty” and is exercised on her behalf by the Governor General. The nine occurrences of ‘Her Majesty’ will need to change to ‘His Majesty’; and the two occurrences of ‘Her Majesty’s’ will need to change to ‘His Majesty’s’. A two-thirds majority in the House of Representatives is needed to affect the change.

3. Q: Does Belize have to keep King Charles III as Head of State?
A: No. Belize can decide to remove the British monarch as Head of State and have its own Belizean Head of State. A two-thirds majority in the House of Representatives will be needed to amend the Constitution and establish a new way for selecting a Head of State. However, the government will likely have a referendum to decide. This could come after the imminent People’s Constitutional Reform process.

4. Q: Will anything change with the Governor General’s role and her recognition?
A: No. If King Charles is kept by Belize as Head of State, the Governor General’s role does not change after the Queen’s death. The Governor General, H.E. Froyla Tzalam, automatically became King Charles’ representative in Belize when the Queen died. Yet, the Constitution of Belize will need to be amended to reflect this if the government decides to keep King Charles as Head of State.

5. Q: Does the oath of allegiance and office need to change?
A: No. The Belize oath of allegiance and office (Schedule 3 to the Constitution) was amended in 2001 to remove swearing allegiance to “Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second”.

6. Q: Will any other laws or documents need to be amended?
A: Whether Belize decides to keep King Charles or eventually replace him with a Belizean Head of State, a comprehensive review of the laws of Belize and official documents will need to be conducted to ensure the change is reflected where relevant.

7. Q: Does Belize have to remove the Queen’s image from our currency now?
A: No, but Belize can decide to do so at some point. If Belize decides to keep the British monarch as Head of State, King Charles’ image could be used. If Belize decides to become a republic, it can use any image it wants – such as national heroes/heroines or even non-human images.

8. Q: If Belize removes the Queen’s image, will the Belize dollar devalue?
A: No. The Belize dollar is fixed at 2BZD = 1US by the Central Bank of Belize Act (Section 20). Its value has nothing to do with the Queen or the King or with whose image is on the currency.

9. Q: If Belize removes the British monarch as Head of State, will Belize be expelled from the Commonwealth?
A: No. Of the 54 members of the Commonwealth, 39 do not have the British monarch as Head of State and they still participate fully in the Commonwealth.

10. Q: Is King Charles now the Head of the Commonwealth?
A: Yes. In 2018, the leaders of the Commonwealth decided that upon the Queen’s death, Prince Charles (now King) would become Head of the Commonwealth. However, the Head of the Commonwealth is not a hereditary position. The 54 Commonwealth members can decide to select another Head of the Commonwealth when they meet again in 2024.

 

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