The Constitution of Belize has been amended several times, eight to be precise, since it was enacted on Independence Day 1981. The number of amendments reached a record between 2008-2012 under the first term of the United Democratic Party of Prime Minister Dean Barrow. The government at that time enjoyed a super majority in parliament allowing it to enact any amendment it wanted without the concurrence of the Opposition.
We are pleased to offer for the updated Belize Constitution 2012 for download by researchers, students and any Belizean or person interested in gaining more knowledge about this important document.
Who Drafted The Belize Constitution?
This is frequent question by students and researchers.
The Constitution was drafted by a task force appointed by Rt. Hon. George Price and was made up of his most trusted ministers: V.H. Courtenay, Assad Shoman, Said Musa and C.L.B. Rogers. Courtenay, Shoman and Musa are attorneys at law. My recollection from interviews I conducted is that Harry Courtenay was the head of this task force and widely regarded as the Father Of The Constitution. The constitution of Guyana (formerly British Guyana) and the constitution of Trinidad and Tobago were his working documents in framing our Constitution. – Manolo Romero former Chief Information Officer to the Government of Belize.
Former Minister of Government Hector Silva stated in a radio interview in 2012:
“On The Constitution. It must be recalled that in 1963 a Constitutional Conference was held in London, between the Secretary of States for the British Colonies, Sir Lennox Boyd, and a delegation, led by Belize’s First Minister, George Cadle Price. The purpose of the conference was to negotiate an advanced Political Constitution for our country.
“The British Government was not too keen in creating an entity called Full Internal Self Government, nor was there a precedence for the Title of Premier. The British suggested to the delegation to GO FOR INDEPENDENCE. But Mr. Price replied, ” We must prepare our people first”. So Self Government was attained. ( I served as one of the Ministers in this conference, today I am the only one alive).
“From this day preparations began towards the attainment of Independence. Appointed to this Political Task Force were: Lindy Rogers, Harry Courtney, Said Musa , Assad Shoman and staffers from the Attorney General’s Office. Bits and pieces were collected from other Commonwealth Countries’ Constitutions. The House Committees were adopted from the Republican System. A few days before D-DAY of Independence) the members of the House of Representatives were summoned to approve The Enabling Legislation also known as The Transitional Powers. Transitional powers are those responsibilities and obligations conferred on a New Nation.”
The following excerpt is from the introduction to the Constitution
The State and The Constitution
1.-(1) Belize shall be a sovereign democratic State of Central America in the Caribbean region.
(2) Belize comprises the land and sea areas defined in Schedule 1 to this Constitution, which immediately before Independence Day constituted the colony of Belize.
2.-(1) This Constitution is the supreme law of Belize and if any other law is inconsistent with this Constitution that other law shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.
(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.