Belize Government - 2021


SOURCE: 2021 CIA WORLD FACTBOOK

GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese

Country name

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Belize

former: British Honduras

etymology: may be named for the Belize River, whose name possibly derives from the Maya word "belix," meaning "muddy-watered"

Government type

parliamentary democracy (National Assembly) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm

Capital

name: Belmopan

geographic coordinates: 17 15 N, 88 46 W

time difference: UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: the decision to move the capital of the country inland to higher and more stable land was made in the 1960s; the name chosen for the new city was formed from the union of two words: "Belize," the name of the longest river in the country, and "Mopan," one of the rivers in the area of the new capital that empties into the Belize River

Administrative divisions

6 districts; Belize, Cayo, Corozal, Orange Walk, Stann Creek, Toledo

Independence

21 September 1981 (from the UK)

National holiday

Battle of St. George's Caye Day (National Day), 10 September (1798); Independence Day, 21 September (1981)

Constitution

history: previous 1954, 1963 (preindependence); latest signed and entered into force 21 September 1981

amendments: proposed and adopted by two-thirds majority vote of the National Assembly House of Representatives except for amendments relating to rights and freedoms, changes to the Assembly, and to elections and judiciary matters, which require at least three-quarters majority vote of the House; both types of amendments require assent of the governor general; amended several times, last in 2017

Legal system

English common law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: yes

citizenship by descent only: yes

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor Froyla TZALAM (since 27 May 2021)

head of government: Prime Minister Juan Antonio BRICENO (since 12 November 2020); Deputy Prime Minister Cordel HYDE (since 16 November 2020)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister from among members of the National Assembly

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the governor general; prime minister recommends the deputy prime minister

Legislative branch

description: bicameral National Assembly consists of:
Senate (14 seats, including the president); members appointed by the governor general - 6 on the advice of the prime minister, 3 on the advice of the leader of the opposition, and 1 each on the advice of the Belize Council of Churches and Evangelical Association of Churches, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Belize Better Business Bureau, non-governmental organizations in good standing, and the National Trade Union Congress and the Civil Society Steering Committee; Senate president elected from among the Senate members or from outside the Senate; term of appointment NA
House of Representatives (31 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms)

elections:
Senate -  last appointed 11 November 2020 (next appointments in November 2025)
House of Representatives - last held on 11 November 2020 (next to be held in November 2025)

election results:
House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - PUP 59.6%, UDP 38.8%, other 1.6%; seats by party - PUP 26, UDP 5

 

Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Court of Judicature (consists of the Court of Appeal with the court president and 3 justices, and the Supreme Court with the chief justice and 10 justices); note - in 2010, Belize acceded to the Caribbean Court of Justice as the final court of appeal, replacing that of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London

judge selection and term of office: Court of Appeal president and justices appointed by the governor-general upon advice of the prime minister after consultation with the National Assembly opposition leader; justices' tenures vary by terms of appointment; Supreme Court chief justice appointed by the governor-general upon the advice of the prime minister and the National Assembly opposition leader; other judges appointed by the governor-general upon the advice of the Judicial and Legal Services Section of the Public Services Commission and with the concurrence of the prime minister after consultation with the National Assembly opposition leader; judges can be appointed beyond age 65 but must retire by age 75; in 2013, the Supreme Court chief justice overturned a constitutional amendment that had restricted Court of Appeal judge appointments to as short as 1 year

subordinate courts: Magistrates' Courts; Family Court

Political parties and leaders

Belize Progressive Party or BPP [Patrick ROGERS] (formed in 2015 from a merger of the People's National Party, elements of the Vision Inspired by the People, and other smaller political groups)
People's United Party or PUP [Johnny BRICENO]
United Democratic Party or UDP [Dean Oliver BARROW]
Vision Inspired by the People or VIP [Hubert ENRIQUEZ]

International organization participation

ACP, AOSIS, C, Caricom, CD, CDB, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, Petrocaribe, SICA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Lynn Raymond YOUNG (since 7 July 2021)

chancery: 2535 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 332-9636

FAX: [1] (202) 332-6888

consulate(s) general: Los Angeles

consulate(s): Miami

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d’Affaires Keith R. GILGES (since 24 July 2018)

telephone: [011] (501) 822-4011

embassy: Floral Park Road, Belmopan City, Cayo District

mailing address: P.O. Box 497, Belmopan City, Cayo District, Belize

FAX: [011] (501) 822-4012

Flag description

royal blue with a narrow red stripe along the top and the bottom edges; centered is a large white disk bearing the coat of arms; the coat of arms features a shield flanked by two workers in front of a mahogany tree with the related motto SUB UMBRA FLOREO (I Flourish in the Shade) on a scroll at the bottom, all encircled by a green garland of 50 mahogany leaves; the colors are those of the two main political parties: blue for the PUP and red for the UDP; various elements of the coat of arms - the figures, the tools, the mahogany tree, and the garland of leaves - recall the logging industry that led to British settlement of Belize

note: Belize's flag is the only national flag that depicts human beings; two British overseas territories, Montserrat and the British Virgin Islands, also depict humans

National symbol(s)

Baird's tapir (a large, browsing, forest-dwelling mammal), keel-billed toucan, Black Orchid; national colors: red, blue

National anthem

name: Land of the Free

lyrics/music: Samuel Alfred HAYNES/Selwyn Walford YOUNG

note: adopted 1981; as a Commonwealth country, in addition to the national anthem, "God Save the Queen" serves as the royal anthem (see United Kingdom)



NOTE: The information regarding Belize on this page is re-published from the 2021 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Belize 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Belize 2021 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 16 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.