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Nov 1, 2013

The Belizean Nationality Amendment Bill also tabled

Dean Barrow

The second amendment is the Belizean Nationality Amendment Bill which seeks to make more efficient the process by which Belizean nationality can be obtained by registration. This revision also allows for increased penalties for breach of the provisions and the establishment of a nationality scrutinizing committee in which the Prime Minister indicated that social partners will not take up the role of elected representatives.

 

Dean Barrow

“Mr. Speaker I rise to introduce the bill for an act to amend the Belizean Nationality Act Chapter 161 of the Substantive Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 2000-2003 in relation to citizenship by registration and to provide for matters therewith or incidental thereto.  The bill has the recommendation of the cabinet and if you would allow me a few words in explanation.  What we’re trying to do here Mr. Speaker is to provide for the streamlining and enhancing the requirements to obtain Belizean nationality by registration, including the provision that henceforth all applicants for nationality must be in possession of a permanent residency permit declaring their status as a permanent resident for five years of continuous residency immediately prior to applying to be registered as a citizen of Belize.  The amendments provide for increased penalties for violation of the provisions of the act and these increased penalties would include a fine of fifty thousand dollars and a mandatory term of imprisonment from five to fifteen years I believe is the range that we set out in the bill.  Now there’s one aspect of the bill to which I must speak and I want to do so very soberly and clearly.  As we had first drafted the bill, it was proposing that the establishment of a nationality scrutinizing committee would be put in place and that would have the responsibility of vetting all applications for citizenship by registration and advising the minister on qualification and suitability of persons for registration, having looked at the files.”

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