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Mar 16, 2023

Belize Network of N.G.O.’s Writes to Prime Minister over N.P.O. Bill 2023

Henry Charles Usher

If you run or actively participate in a non-profit organization then you may want to keep a close eye on the government’s recently tabled Non-Profit Organization Bill 2023. The Belize Network of N.G.O.’s has signaled several concerns with the proposed legislation and has gone ahead to bring those concerns to the Prime Minister via a letter. The Non-Profit Organization Bill 2023 was introduced to the House of Representatives on Friday last week and according to B.N.N., they only became aware of it after the sitting, when Janelle Chanona, the Senator for N.G.O.’s, received an invitation to attend a committee meeting for today, where the bill would be considered. The letter says “ we take the position that the introduction of a Non-Profit Organization Bill, 2023, without any presentation or consultation whatsoever  with Non-Governmental Organizations, as well as those entities who would be included in the definition of Non-Profit Organizations is contrary to good governance”.  The committee meeting scheduled for today was held and information to News Five is that a decision was taken not to repeal the existing N.G.O. ACT as was initially indicated. Instead, the N.P.O. Act will be introduced as a new and separate legislation. So, how will this new legislation affect non-profit organizations across Belize as it seeks combat terrorism financing and money laundering? Today, we caught up with Henry Charles Usher, the Minister of Public Service, at an even in Belize City where he was asked to comment on situation.


Henry Charles Usher, Minister of Public Service

“As you rightly said, they have been, um, this is not something new. This is something that the FIU and different organizations have been approaching, the NGOs and the nonprofit organizations on. The bill was prepared by the Attorney General’s Ministry. They will have an opportunity when it goes to host committee and they will also have an opportunity, um, in the Senate. They have a representation in the Senate.”


Paul Lopez

“Do you see this bill being stayed for some time, given their request and the time limit that they would have to make objections?”


Henry Charles Usher

“The issue is that this is a, a package of bills that have to be introduced and have to be passed, um, in order for the next run of  certification that is happening for Belize, I believe that’s going to be in December of this year. And there are different legislations that are required to be passed. This is just one of them. It’s not anything, um, too difficult. And I’m sure that, um, with some discussions that the, the, the parts of the will can be explained.”


Paul Lopez

“So where does that discussion happen?”


Henry Charles Usher

“Well, the discussion is always happening. Um, there’s always a discussion between the relevant ministry and the different organizations. It also happens at house committee where they can make presentations and like I said, they have the opportunity to, bring it up in the Senate.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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