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Sep 24, 2020

Attorney Says S.I. 134 Goes Against Belize Constitution

Also speaking out against the S.I. is attorney Audrey Matura. According to Matura, Statutory Instrument one-thirty-four has to be taken to the National Assembly to be affirmed and since that has not been done, it cannot be enforced. Matura also says that the S.I. is in contravention to the Belize constitutions which makes provisions for rights to privacy.


On the Phone: Audrey Matura, Attorney

“Now the other problem is that you have to understand that under that legislation yes the Minister makes regulations but that same section-section five, subsection three specifically says those regulations have no force of law until it is affirmed by the National Assembly. These regulations were made like three days ago but the National Assembly has not met yet. So my view is that those regulations have no force of law. It has to be confirmed by the National Assembly. Again, there is a problem there. The bigger problem is now there is a conflict between the constitution and this inferior regulation or law. The conflict is that the constitution specifically says you have a right to privacy. Your medical condition is very private. They know that not from a legal stand point but from an ethical professional stand point. Doctors know that. Could you imagine now you telling a medical person who has access to our medical record whether they treat you or not that they should hand that over? They know that would be the death of their career. And it goes against what they are entitled to do. The constitution says you are entitled to your privacy, the doctors are saying my professional ethics allows me not to hand it over. But the constitution  always says there is an exception when you will hand it over. That exception is found s section nine subsection two of the constitution. That exception is basically saying one of the circumstances when you can reveal or breach of someone’s right of privacy is where there is an interest of public health but when you do it under the interest of public you need to make rules and regulations and provisions that will still put protect  the person’s privacy as much as possible. You can’t just say hand them over the information, You have to put mechanisms in place to make sure there isn’t abuse. That has not happened under this SI.”

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