Contitution of Belize – The Senate 2


61.-(1) Subject to subsection (2), the Senate shall consist of twelve members (in this Constitution referred to as “Senators”) who shall be appointed by the Governor-General in accordance with the provisions of this section.

(2) If any person who is not a Senator is selected to be President of the Senate he shall, by virtue of holding the office of President, be a Senator in addition to the twelve Senators referred to in subsection (1).(3) The President of the Senate shall have a casting vote in the event of an equality of votes in respect of any business at a meeting of the Senate:

Provided that if the President of the Senate-

(a) is a Senator, he shall have an original but not a casting vote, and

(b) is not a Senator, he shall not have a vote,

when the Senate is deciding on any matter referred to in section 61A (2)(d) of this Constitution.

(4) Of the twelve Senators-

(a) six shall be appointed by the Governor- General acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister;

(b) three shall be appointed by the Governor- General acting in accordance with the advice of the Leader of the Opposition;

(c) one shall be appointed by the Governor- General acting in accordance with the advice of the Belize Council of Churches and Evangelical Association of Churches;

(d) one shall be appointed by the Governor- General acting in accordance with the advice of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Belize Business Bureau; and

(e) one shall be appointed by the Governor- General acting in accordance with the advice of the National Trade Union Congress and the Civil Society Steering Committee.

(5) Where an organisation referred to in paragraphs (c) to (e) of subsection (4) of this section fails to advise the Governor-General, within fourteen days of receiving a written invitation from the Governor-General to give written advice to him of its candidate as Senator, as required by that subsection, the Governor-General shall appoint that Senator in accordance with the advice of the Belize Advisory Council.

(6) Notwithstanding sections 64 and 84 of this Constitution, the Senate which was in existence prior to the 15th day of January, 2002, shall stand dissolved from the 15th day of January, 2002.

(7) When the Senate first meets after the 15th day of January, 2002, before it proceeds to despatch any business, it shall elect a person to be President of the Senate, and another Senator who is not a Minister to be Vice President of the Senate.

(8) If there is an equality of votes at a meeting to elect a President pursuant to subsection (7) of this section, the Leader of Government Business in the Senate shall have a second vote.

(9) The Governor-General may make rules governing the nomination of candidates as Senators by the organisations specified in paragraphs (c) to (e) of subsection (3) of this section.

61A.(1) Without prejudice to any other powers vested in the Senate by this Constitution or any other law, the Senate shall have the powers and perform the functions set out in the subsection (2).

(2) The powers and functions of the Senate referred to in section (1) are as follows:-

(a) authorising the ratification (including adhesion or accession) of any treaty by the Government of Belize, including any treaty for the settlement of the territorial dispute between Belize and the Republic of Guatemala;

(b) approving the establishment in Belize of any military base of operations for any foreign military forces;

(c) approving the appointment of the Contractor General, the Ombudsman, a member of the Elections and Boundaries Commission, and a member of the Integrity Commission;

(d) instituting and conducting enquiries and investigations on any matter of public interest or importance, including inquiries into mismanagement or corruption by persons in the central government or public statutory bodies;

(e) receiving, reviewing and reporting on annual reports and other reports of the Auditor General, the Contractor General and the Ombudsman and instituting and conducting inquiries, investigations and hearings in relation thereto;

(f) requiring the attendance before it of the Auditor General, the Contractor General or the Ombudsman generally, in relation to the discharge of their duties and the execution of their functions;

(g) requiring the attendance before it of any Chief Executive Officer in a Government Ministry in respect of any matter of which he has knowledge by virtue of his office, or in respect of anything related to his office and the due execution of his duties; and

(h) requiring the attendance before any Committee oftheSenate,of anyMinisterofGovernment.

(3) Where any law, including this Constitution, provides a procedure for making any appointment referred to in subsection (2)(c), and such procedure of appointment is inconsistent with the powers of the Senate under this section, then such appointment shall only be validly done if the prior approval of the Senate as required by this section is obtained.

(4) The Senate shall exercise its powers and perform its functions under this section through a resolution supported by a simple majority of its members.

62. Subject to the provisions of section 63 of this Constitution, a person shall be qualified to be appointed as a Senator if, and shall not be qualified to be so appointed unless, he-

(a) is a citizen of Belize of the age of eighteen years or upwards; and

(b) has resided in Belize for a period of at least one year immediately before the date of his appointment.

63.-(1) No person shall be qualified to be appointed as a Senator who-(a) is, by virtue of his own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or State;

(b) is a member of the House of Representatives;

(c) is an undischarged bankrupt, having been adjudged or otherwise declared bankrupt under any law in force in any part of the Commonwealth;

(d) is a person certified to be insane or otherwise to be of unsound mind under any law;

(e) is under sentence of death imposed upon him by a court in any part of the Commonwealth or is serving a sentence of imprisonment (by whatever name called) exceeding twelve months imposed on him by such a court or substituted by competent authority for some other sentence imposed on him by such a court, or is under such a sentence of imprisonment the execution of which has been suspended;

(f) is disqualified for membership of the House of Representatives by any law by reason of his holding, or acting in, any office the functions of which involve

(i) any responsibility for, or in connection with, the conduct of any election; or

(ii) any responsibility for the compilation or revision of any electoral register;

(g) is disqualified for membership of the House of Representatives by virtue of any law by reason of his having been convicted of any offence relating to elections;

(h) is disqualified for membership of the Senate under any law by virtue of

(i) his holding or acting in any office or appointment specified (either individually or by reference to a class of office or appointment) by such law;

(ii) his belonging to any of the armed forces of Belize or to any class of person that is comprised in any such force; or

(iii) his belonging to any police force or to any class of person that is comprised in any such force; or

(i) is a party to, or a partner in a firm or a director or manager of a company which is a party to, any contract with the Government for or on account of the public service, and has not disclosed to the Governor-General the nature of such contract and his interest, or the interest of any such firm or company, therein:

Provided that if it appears to the Governor-General, acting in his own deliberate judgment, that it is proper so to do, he may by order direct that any such disqualification shall be disregarded for the purposes of this section.

(2) For the purposes of paragraph (e) of subsection (1) of this section-

(a) two or more sentences of imprisonment that are required to be served consecutively shall be regarded as separate sentences if none of those sentences exceeds twelve months, but if any one of such sentences exceeds that term they shall be regarded as one sentence; and

(b) no account shall be taken of a sentence of imprisonment imposed as an alternative to or in default of the payment of a fine.

64.-(1) Every Senator shall vacate his seat in the Senate at the next dissolution of the National Assembly after his appointment.

(2) A Senator shall also vacate his seat in the Senate-

(a) if he is absent from the sittings of the Senate for such period and in such circumstances as may be prescribed in the Standing Orders of the Senate;

(b) if, with his consent, he is nominated as a candidate for election to the House of Representatives;

(c) if he ceases to be a citizen of Belize;

(d) subject to the provisions of subsection (3) of this section, if any circumstances arise that, if he were not a Senator, would cause him to be disqualified for appointment as such by virtue of section 63 (1) of this Constitution;

(e) if the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister in the case of a Senator appointed in accordance with that advice, or acting in accordance with the advice of the Leader of the Opposition in the case of a Senator appointed in accordance with that advice, or acting in accordance with the advice of any organization referred to in paragraph (c), (d), or (e) of subsection (4) of section 61 of this Constitution in the case of a Senator appointed in accordance with that advice, declares the seat of that Senator to be vacant;

(f) if he shall become a party to any contract with the Government for or on account of the public service, or if any firm in which he is a partner or any company of which he is a director or manager shall become a party to any such contract, or if he shall become a partner in a firm or a director or manager of a company which is a party to any such contract:

Provided that if in the circumstances it shall appear to him to be just so to do, the Governor-General, acting in his own deliberate judgment, may exempt any Senator from vacating his seat under the provisions of this paragraph if such Senator shall, before becoming a party to such contract as aforesaid or before or as soon as practicable after becoming otherwise interested in such contract (whether as partner in a firm or director or manager of a company), disclose to the Governor-General the nature of such contract and his interest or the interest of any such firm or company therein.

(3) (a) If circumstances such as are referred to in paragraph (d) of subsection (2) of this section arise because a Senator is under sentence of death or imprisonment, or adjudged to be insane or otherwise of unsound mind, or declared bankrupt and is undischarged, or convicted of an offence relating to elections, and it is open to the Senator to appeal against the decision (either with the leave of a court or other authority or without such leave), he shall forthwith cease to perform his functions as a Senator but, subject to the provisions of this subsection, he shall not vacate his seat until the expiration of a period of thirty days thereafter:

Provided that the President of the Senate may from time to time extend that period for further periods of thirty days to enable the Senator to pursue an appeal against the decision, so, however, that extensions of time exceeding in the aggregate one hundred and fifty days shall not be given without the approval, signified by resolution, of the Senate.

(b) If, on the determination of an appeal, such circumstances continue to exist and no further appeal is open to the Senator, or if, by reason of the expiration of any period for entering an appeal or notice thereof or the refusal of leave to appeal or for any other reason, it ceases to be open to the Senator to appeal, he shall forthwith vacate his seat.

(c) If at any time before the Senator vacates his seat such circumstances as aforesaid cease to exist, his seat shall not become vacant on the expiration of the period referred to in paragraph (a) of this subsection and he may resume the performance of his functions as Senator.

65.-(1) The Governor-General may declare a Senator to be, by reason of illness, temporarily incapable of performing his functions as a Senator and thereupon such Senator shall not perform his said functions until he is declared by the Governor-General again to be capable of performing them.

(2) Whenever a Senator is incapable of performing his functions as a Senator by reason of his absence from Belize or by virtue of the provisions of section 64 of this Constitution or by reason of a declaration made under the last foregoing subsection, the Governor-General may appoint a person qualified for appointment as a Senator to be temporarily a member of the Senate.

(3) Subsections (1) and (2) of section 64 of this Constitution shall apply in relation to a person appointed as a Senator under this section as they apply in relation to a Senator appointed under section 61 (except that paragraph (d) of the said subsection (2) shall apply as if it were not expressed to be subject to subsection (3) of the said section 64) and an appointment made under this section shall in any case cease to have effect when the person appointed is notified by the Governor-General that the circumstances giving rise to his appointment have ceased to exist.

(4) In the exercise of the powers conferred on him by this section the Governor-General shall act-

(a) in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister in relation to an appointment to be temporarily a member of the Senate in place of a Senator appointed in pursuance of paragraph (a) of subsection (2) of section 61 of this Constitution;

(b) in accordance with the advice of the Leader of the Opposition in relation to an appointment to be temporarily a member of the Senate in place of a Senator appointed in pursuance of paragraph (b) of subsection (2) of the said section;

(c) after consultation with the Belize Advisory Council in any other case.

66.-(1) When the Senate first meets after any general election and before it proceeds to the despatch of any other business, it shall elect a person from among persons who are not members of either House to be President of the Senate; and if the office of the President falls vacant at any time before the dissolution of the National Assembly, the Senate shall as soon as practicable elect another person in like manner from among persons who are not members of either House to that office.

(2) When the Senate first meets after any general election and before it proceeds to the despatch of any other business except the election of the President, it shall elect a Senator, who is not a Minister, to be Vice-President of the Senate; and if the office of Vice-President falls vacant at any time before the next dissolution of the National Assembly, the Senate shall, as soon as practicable, elect another Senator to that office.

(3) The President and the Vice-President shall be of or above the age of twenty-four years and the President shall be elected from among persons who are not members of either House:

Provided that a person shall not be elected as President if-

(i) he is not a citizen of Belize; or

(ii) he is a person disqualified for election as a member of the House of Representatives by virtue of section 58 (1) of this Constitution.

(4) A person shall vacate the office of President or Vice- President of the Senate-

(a) in the case of a President-

(i) upon any dissolution of the National Assembly;

(ii) if he ceases to be a citizen of Belize; or

(iii) if any circumstances arise which would cause him to be disqualified for election as a member of the House of Representatives by virtue of section 58(1) of the Constitution;

(b) in the case of the Vice-President-

(i) if he ceases to be a Senator; or

(ii) if he is appointed to be a Minister.

(5) (a) If, by virtue of section 64 (3) of this Constitution, the President or the Vice-President is required to cease to perform his functions as a Senator he shall also cease to perform his functions as President or Vice-President, as the case may be, and those functions shall, until he vacates his seat in the Senate or resumes the performance of the functions of his office, be performed-

(i) in the case of the President, by the Vice- President or, if the office of Vice-President is vacant, by such Senator (not being a Minister) as the Senate may elect for the purpose;

(ii) in the case of the Vice-President, by such Senator (not being a Minister) as the Senate may elect for the purpose.

(b) If the President or Vice-President resumes the performance of his functions as Senator, in accordance with the provisions of section 64 (3) of this Constitution, he shall also resume the performance of his functions as President or Vice-President, as the case may be.

67.-(1) There shall be a Clerk to the National Assembly (who shall be the Clerk to both Houses) and a Deputy Clerk and such other assistants as may be necessary.

(2) The National Assembly may by law regulate the recruitment and the conditions of service of persons referred to in subsection (1).

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