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Eight Laws Passed by the National Assembly Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 20 December 2012 00:00

Before the members of the National Assembly break for Christmas, they gathered to pass eight pieces of legislation. Those are the Money Laundering and Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Bill; the Domestic Banks and Financial Institutions (Amendment) Bill; the Statistical Institute of Belize (Amendment) Bill, the Crime Control and Criminal Justice (Amendment) Bill; the Income Tax (Avoidance of Double Taxation) (Caricom) (Amendment) Bill; the Land Tax (Partial Remission of Arrears) Bill; the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Bill and the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (Prohibition) Bill.


The Money Laundering and Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Bill provides for measures to ensure compliance with international standards and obligations in relation to money laundering. The Domestic Banks and Financial Institutions (Amendment) Bill clarifies the definition of the terms ‘banking business’ and ‘financial business’. It also varies the capital requirement for financial institutions and facilitates the exchange of information pursuant to a Tax Information Exchange Agreement or a Double Taxation Agreement entered into by Belize (http://www.lowtax.net/lowtax/html/jbz2tax.html). The Statistical Institute of Belize (Amendment) Bill varies the term of appointment of the Director-General of the institute. It provides a right of appeal to the staff of the Institute to the Belize Advisory Council against dismissal or other disciplinary measures. The Bill also provides for the application of the Institute’s pension scheme to the employees in place of the Pension Act. The Crime Control and Criminal Justice (Amendment) Bill streamlines and strengthens the provisions relating to the declaration of special crime-ridden areas to maintain peace and public safety. The Income Tax (Avoidance of Double Taxation) (Caricom) (Amendment) Bill empowers the competent authority to obtain and provide information in response to a request for information pursuant to the Caricom Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement. The Land Tax (Partial Remission of Arrears) Bill provides for the partial remissions of arrears of land tax and speculation tax. The Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Bill prohibits and prescribes punishment for trafficking in persons to give effect to the United Nations protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons. It makes provisions for the offence of trafficking in persons, trafficking for the purpose of adoption and other related offences. The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (Prohibition) Bill gives effect to the optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

All eight bills were passed by the House of Representatives on Friday, December 14th, and the Senate on Wednesday, December 19th.