SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS | Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of Belize


Recommendation 10: Bill of Rights

The Commission is satisfied that Chapter II of the Constitution on Fundamental Rights and Freedoms adequately provide the basis for the provision and protection of basic rights for persons in Belize and does not recommend the introduction of a Bill of Rights for Belize.

Recommendation 11: Disability

The Commission recommends that section 3 of the Constitution be amended to include entitlement to fundamental rights and freedoms whatever an individual's disability. In relation to this amendment, the Commission further recommends that supporting ordinary legislation be promptly enacted on the rights of the disabled.

Recommendation 12: Sexual Orientation

The majority of the Commission recommends that section 3 of the Constitution be amended to include entitlement to fundamental rights and freedoms whatever an individual's sexual orientation.

Recommendation 13: Language

The Commission is satisfied that section 3 of the Constitution entitles persons in Belize who speak any language to the fundamental rights and freedoms and does not recommend an amendment in this regard.

However, the Commission does urge Government to involve the nation in a debate on the issue of language with the objective of developing a national policy on language for Belize.

Recommendation 14: Other Entitlements

The Commission is satisfied that existing provisions in section 3 of the Constitution adequately entitles persons in Belize to the fundamental rights and freedoms regardless of nationality, cultural beliefs and practices, birth or family status, and political or other opinion, and does not recommend amendments related to these areas.

Recommendation 15: Basic Education

The Commission recommends that an amendment be made to Chapter II of the Constitution to expand the protected rights enjoyed by persons in Belize to include Protection of the Right Not to be Denied Basic Education. In relation to this recommendation, the Commission further recommends:

(a) that the Government of Belize draft a Bill for the constitutional amendment that sets out the extent and limitations to which this right is to be enjoyed;

(b) that the Bill go through extensive public discussion before enactment.

Recommendation 16: Basic Health Care

The Commission recommends that an amendment be made to Chapter II of the Constitution to expand the protected rights enjoyed by persons in Belize to include Protection of the Right Not to be Denied Basic Health Care.

In relation to this recommendation, the Commission further recommends:

(a) that the Government of Belize draft a Bill for the constitutional amendment that sets out the extent and limitations to which this right is to be enjoyed;

(b) that the Bill goes through extensive public discussion before enactment.

Recommendation 17: Right to Vote:

The Commission recommends that an amendment be made to Chapter II of the Constitution to expand the protected rights to include Protection of the Right to Vote.

Recommendation 18: Land

The Commission is satisfied that the Constitution adequately protects the right to own land and other property in Belize and does not recommend constitutional amendments related to the protection of the right to land for persons in Belize.

However, the Commission recommends that the land laws and the administration of land distribution and management be reformed so as to (a) ensure transparency and fair opportunity of access and use; (b) de-politicize the decision- making process, and (c) address concerns related to lack of timely compensation for the public acquisition of private land.

Recommendation 19: Freedom of the Press The majority of the Commission is satisfied that existing constitutional provisions adequately protect the rights and freedoms of persons working in the media and does not recommend that freedom of the press be specifically enshrined in the Constitution. However, the Commission recommends that Government, in consultation with the media in Belize, develop a Freedom of the Press Bill that sets out the extent and limitations of the rights and freedoms exercised by those in the media in Belize.

Recommendation 20: Detained and Arrested Persons

To further protect the rights of detained and arrested persons, the Commission recommends the following:

(a) amend section 5(2)a of the Constitution to decrease the time period in which detained persons must be informed of the reason for their detention from 48 hours to 24 hours;

(b) amend section 5(2)b to now read: "to communicate with and be visited by a legal practitioner, medical practitioner, and religious counselor of choice; and spouse, family member or guardian without delay;"

(c) amend section 5(3) to decrease the time period in which arrested or detained persons must be brought before a court of law from 72 hours to 48 hours;

(d) expand the crimes, other than capital murder, under which arrested persons must be provided with free legal assistance;

(e) provide more human and financial resources to strengthen the legal aid office to allow for greater access and more effective performance;

(f) amend section 6 to add a section 6(3)g to ensure that persons who are tried for offences that carry sentences of more than five years imprisonment have the right to trail by a jury;

(g) ensure that section 6(10)a is not abused in the drafting of legislation to shift the burden of proof from the prosecution to the accused;

(h) amend section 19 (1) to ensure that all persons detained under a state of emergency are informed orally and in writing of the charge(s) against them in a language they understand.

Recommendation 21: Enforcement Provisions

The Commission recommends that section 20 of the Constitution be amended such that:

(a) a clause is added to an appropriate part of section 20 to clearly state that constitutional cases related to alleged contravention of the fundamental rights and freedoms of Chapter II be treated as first priority by the Supreme Court of Belize.

(b) the provisos (last paragraphs) in sections 20(2)b and 20(4) be deleted from the Constitution.

Recommendation 22: Duties and Responsibilities

The Commission does not recommend the inclusion of a section or chapter in the Constitution on duties and responsibilities of citizens.

The Belize Progressive Party highly recommend that you read this 17 year old report. The PUDP has done and will do absolutely nothing to fix a broken, decrepit system that benefits them.

Click to read report:

FINAL REPORT OF THE POLITICAL REFORM COMMISSION - JANUARY 2000 -

YOU ARE BETTER. YOU DESERVE BETTER. DEMAND BETTER

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