Eighth Amendment Bill to the Belize Constitution: Formerly the Ninth Amendment Bill


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The controversial Bill goes to the House in less than 24 hours for approval on October 24, 2011. It has been rename the Eight Amendment Bill and critis claim that it still contains some "Offensive" Sections---Sopme notes and a copy of the Bill.

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Eighth Amendment Bill to the Belize Constitution: Formerly the Ninth Amendment Bill

  1. 1. Copy of Ninth Amendment Bill to the Belize Constitution The EIGHTH AMENDMENT Bill NOW RENAMEDConsultations and Objections to October 19, 2011 1. Political and sometimes confrontational consultations countrywide with attendance ranging from 600 to 1000 in Belmopan, Belize City and each District Town with the exception of San Pedro Ambergris Caye—Totaling approximately 7, 000 persons 2. Those who presented objections: The Bar Association, Chamber of Commerce, The National Teachers’ Union, APAMO, COLA, Belizeans for Justice 3. The Council of Churches withdrew its objections after meeting with the Prime Minister and getting some assurances satisfactory to them. The Organizations above continued to object even after these assurances to the Council of Churches. 4. Friends of Belize submitted approximately 21,000 signatures to the Governor General of Electors requesting a Referendum on the Ninth Amendment 5. KREM’s Two Cents Cam on October 18, 2011—8 out of 10 persons want a ReferendumHouse Meeting held October 21, 2011 1. Attendees: All 24 members of the UDP, 1 Relegated member of the UDP (Hon. Marcel Cardona), 3 members of the Opposition (Rt. Hon Said Musa, Hon Francis Fonseca (Leader Designate), Hon Florencio) 2. Non-Attendees: Hon John Briceno, Hon Mark Espat, Hon Cordel Hyde—no excuse given to the People of Belize 3. Those who voted for the Ninth: All 24 UDP Members of the House 4. Those who voted Against the Ninth: All 3 PUP Members of the House 5. Those who Abstained: Hon Marcel Cardona who has been relegated by the UDP to the side with the Opposition 6. The Bill went through ALL 3 readings in one House sitting—it was “rammed” through 7. The Bill now goes to the Senate on Monday, October 24, 2011 for approval before being signed into law by the Governor General 8. Please NOTE the Ninth Amendment Bill is now renamed as the Eighth Amendment Bill which will go to the Senate
  2. 2. 9. The Ninth now the New Eighth Amendment Bill still contains the Sections which amend Sections 2 and 69 of the Constitution. These amendments are considered “Offensive” due to the Ouster Clauses which excludes the Courts. 10. Attached is a copy of the Ninth Amendment Bill now called the Eighth Amendment Bill which will be going to the Senate for approval on Monday, October 24, 2011.Myrtle PalacioOctober 23, 2011
  3. 3. Belize Constitution BELIZE: BILL for AN ACT to amend the Belize Constitution, Chapter 4 of the Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 2000-2003, to provide that the Government shall at all times have majority ownership and control of public utilities; to clarify the provisions relating to the amendment of the Constitution; and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. (Gazetted 23rd July 2011). BE IT ENACTED, by and with the advice and consent of the House of Representatives and the Senate of Belize and by the authority of the same, as follows: -Short title. 1. This Act may be cited as the BELIZE CONSTITUTION (EIGHTH AMENDMENT) ACT, 2011, CAP. 4 and shall be read and construed as one with the Belize Act 2/01 39/01 Constitution which, as amended, is hereinafter referred to as the 23/05 13/08 Constitution. 4/10 1
  4. 4. Amendment ofsection 2. 2. Section 2 of the Constitution is hereby amended by renumbering that section as subsection (1) and by adding the following as subsection (2):- “(2) The words “other law” occurring in subsection (1) above do not include a law to alter any of the provisions of this Constitution which is passed by the National Assembly in conformity with section 69 of the Constitution.”Amendment ofsection 69. 3. Section 69 of the Constitution is hereby amended by the addition of the following new subsection after subsection (8):- “(9) For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that the provisions of this section are all-inclusive and exhaustive and there is no other limitation, whether substantive or procedural, on the power of the National Assembly to alter this Constitution; and a law passed by the National Assembly to alter any of the provisions of this Constitution which is passed in conformity with this section shall not be open to challenge in any court of law on any ground whatsoever.” Addition of new Part XIII and 4. The Constitution is hereby amended by the addition of the sections 143 to 145. following as new Part XIII (containing sections 143 to 145) immediately after section 142:- 2
  5. 5. “PART XIII GOVERNMENT CONTROL OVER PUBLIC UTILITIESInterpretation. 143. For the purposes of this Part:- “public utilities” means the provision of electricity services, telecommunication services and water services; “public utility provider” means — “(a) Belize Electricity Limited, a CAP. 250 company incorporated under the Companies Act, or its successors by whatever name called; (b) Belize Telemedia Limited, a company incorporated under the CAP. 250 Companies Act, or its successors by whatever name called; (c) Belize Water Services Limited, a company incorporated under the Companies Act, or its CAP. 250 successors by whatever name called; and (d) any other entity designated as a public utility provider for the 3
  6. 6. purposes of this Part by a resolution passed by the National Assembly in that behalf; “Government” means the Government of Belize; “Government shareholding” shall be deemed to include any shares held by the Social Security Board; “majority ownership and control” means the holding of not less than fifty one per centum (51%) of the issued share capital of a public utility provider together with a majority in the Board of Directors, and the absence of any veto power or other special rights given to a minority shareholder which would inhibit the Government from administering the affairs of the public utility provider freely and without restriction.Majority ownership 144. (1) From the commencement of the Belizeand control ofpublic utilities. Constitution (Eighth Ninth Amendment) Act, 2011,No. __ of 2011. the Government shall have and maintain at all times majority ownership and control of a public utility provider; and any alienation of the Government shareholding or other rights, whether voluntary or 4
  7. 7. involuntary, which may derogate from Government’smajority ownership and control of a public utilityprovider shall be wholly void and of no effectnotwithstanding anything contained in section 20 orany other provision of this Constitution or any otherlaw or rule of practice: Provided that in the event the Social SecurityBoard (“the Board”) intends to sell the whole or partof its shareholding which would result in theGovernment shareholding (as defined in section 143)falling below 51% of the issued stock capital of apublic utility provider, the Board shall first offer forsale to the Government, and the Government shallpurchase from the Board, so much of theshareholding as would be necessary to maintain theGovernment’s ownership and control of a publicutility provider; and every such sale to theGovernment shall be valid and effectual for allpurposes. (2) Any alienation or transfer of theGovernment shareholding contrary to subsection (1)above shall vest no rights in the transferee or anyother person other than the return of the purchaseprice, if paid. 5
  8. 8. Validity ofAcquisition Orders 145. (1) For the removal of doubts, it is herebyin respect of BelizeElectricity Limited declared that the acquisition of certain property by theand BelizeTelemedia Limited. Government under the terms of the — CAP. 221 (a) Electricity Act, as amended, and the Act 12/07 Act 4/11 Electricity (Assumption of Control Over S.I. 67/11 Belize Electricity Limited) Order, 2011(hereinafter referred to as “the Electricity Acquisition Order”); and Act 16/02 (b) Belize Telecommunications Act, as 29/05 9/09 amended, and the Belize Telecommunications 8/11 S.I. 70/11 (Assumption of Control Over Belize Telemedia Limited) Order, 2011, (hereinafter referred to as “the Telemedia Acquisition Order”), was duly carried out for a public purpose in accordance with the laws authorising the acquisition of such property, and no court shall enquire into the constitutionality, legality or validity of the said acquisitions notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in section 17, section 20 or any other provision of this Constitution or any other law or rule of practice. (2) The bar on the jurisdiction of the court contained in subsection (1) above is absolute and no 6
  9. 9. court shall assume jurisdiction on any groundwhatsoever including, without limitation, any allegedground of lack of jurisdiction in the persons makingthe said Acquisition Orders, or any ground allegingbreach of the rules of natural justice. (32) The property acquired under the terms ofthe Electricity Acquisition Order and the TelemediaAcquisition Order referred to in subsection (1) aboveshall be deemed to vest absolutely and continuouslyin the Government free of all encumbrances witheffect from the date of commencement specified inthe said Orders. (43) Nothing in the foregoing provisions of thissection shall prejudice the right of any personclaiming an interest in or right over the propertyacquired under the said Acquisition Orders to receivereasonable compensation within a reasonable time inaccordance with the law authorising the acquisition ofsuch property.” _________ … __________ 7