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House considers final bills and motions of 2023

Posted: Thursday, December 7, 2023. 2:35 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The House of Representatives of Belize is meeting for the final time in 2023 in Belmopan, reviewing a lengthy schedule of bills both held over and new.

New bills needed to pass urgently by December 15 to meet the requirements of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) include amendments to various pieces of legislation.

Other bills include an amendment to the Families and Children Act to clarify the obligation of a spouse to maintain a non-biological child of a marriage and to change the name of the Committee from the “National Committee for Families and Children” to the “National Commission for Families and Children;” and to the Harbours and Merchant Shipping Act to provide for the regulation of marinas; to provide for the requirement to show financial capabilities of foreign vessels to sustain lawsuits and other liabilities; and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Bills returned for second reading are: Belizean Nationality (Amendment) Bill, 2023 to clarify the provisions relating to the grant of nationality to children born to non-Belizeans who have, since the birth of that child, acquired Belizean nationality; Economic Citizenship (Abolition of Rights) Bill, 2023, to finally abolish the right of persons to obtain Belizean Nationality through any relationship whether of descent or of marriage which can be traced back, directly or indirectly, to a person who obtained Belizean nationality by economic citizenship; the Municipal Securities Bill to provide for the regulation of municipal securities; and to provide for matters connected therewith and incidental thereto; the Fiscal Incentives (Decisions of the Minister) (Validation) Bill, 2023 to validate the decisions of the Minister; and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Both the Criminal Code (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, 2023, and Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) (Amendment) Bill, 2023 will be debated. The former expands the definition of aggravated assault and rationalizes and increases the penalty for the threat of death and similar character offenses, while the latter upgrades the ‘use of threatening words or behavior’ from a ‘petty offense’ to a serious offense.

Finally, the National Accreditation Council of Belize (Amendment) Bill, 2023 provides for the registration of institutions and providers with the Council.

 

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