Senate (Belize)

Last updated

Coordinates: 17°15′04″N88°46′23″W / 17.2512°N 88.7730°W / 17.2512; -88.7730


Senate of Belize
Coat of arms of Belize.svg
Term limits
5 years term
FoundedSeptember 21, 1981 (1981-09-21)
Hon. Carolyn Trench Sandiford
since 11 December 2020
Hon. Collet Montejo, PUP
since 11 December 2020
Leader Senator of the Government
Hon. Eamon Courtenay, PUP
since 11 December 2020
Leader Senator of the Opposition
Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, UDP
since 11 December 2020
Seats13 members
Belize Senate.svg
Political groups
  PUP 6
  UDP 3
  Other 4
Appointment by the Governor-General
Meeting place
National Assembly Building, Belize.png
National Assembly Building
Independence Hill
[ National Assembly of Belize
Constitution of Belize

The Senate is one of the chambers of the National Assembly of Belize. It has 13 members appointed for a five-year term by the Governor General of Belize. [1]

Establishment and appointment

Senators are appointed by the Governor General in the following manner:

In practice, the party that wins the general election (by capturing the most seats in the lower house of representatives) also controls the Senate. In previous incarnations, eight senators were appointed, five by the Prime Minister, two by the Leader of the Opposition and one by the Governor General and the Belize Advisory Council. One more senator was given to the opposition beginning in the 1990s.

Requirements for appointment

Appointments to Cabinet

Occasionally, a Prime Minister may find it necessary to appoint a Senator to a post in the Cabinet. The first such instance was for C.L.B. Rogers under George Price in 1979 after losing his seat in the House. Price also appointed Ralph Fonseca, who did not run in the 1989 general election, to a Minister of State post until he ran and won in a newly created constituency in 1993.

In 1997, the UDP appointed Belize Ambassador to Mexico, Mr. Alfredo "Fred" Martinez a Senator to also serve in Cabinet as Minister of Trade & Industry, thereby relinquishing his Ambassadorial appointment, to which he would later return.

Former Senator Richard "Dickie" Bradley twice lost elections to the House and was appointed a Senator and given a Cabinet post each time.

Following the 2012 general elections, the UDP lost its supermajority and exercised its constitutional limit to appointing four senators to serve as Ministers. One, Godwin Hulse, had served as a Senator dating back to 2006 and was appointed Leader of Government Business in the House, while three others are newcomers to national administration (Charles Gibson is a former senior public officer and served as CEO under John Saldivar in the Ministry of the Public Service; he was appointed as Minister for that portfolio in 2012.)

Meetings and duties

The Senate traditionally meets in session in the week immediately following a House meeting. Senators will discuss the measures sent by the House for review and approval, then vote on whether they should be sent back or approved.

Beginning in late 2005, the Senate convened an investigation into allegations of mismanagement of public funds at the Social Security Board. This committee was headed by Senator Godwin Hulse and featured senators Dickie Bradley, Moises Chan, and Rene Gomez. Arthur Roches was also supposed to appear as the UDP representative but declined under pressure from the Opposition. These Senators questioned persons working at the Board in the last five years over the activities of the Board.

In June 2006, the Senate released a report in which it roundly condemned the actions of General Manager Narda Garcia and Chairman Yasin Shoman in presiding over the questionable investment of millions of dollars in failed projects of former House member Glenn Godfrey. It called for their removal and reforms to be made to the laws governing Social Security. Shoman and Garcia deny any wrongdoing, but both have been removed from the Board, Garcia choosing to challenge this in court.

On October 28, 2006, Chief Justice Abdulai Conteh denied Garcia judicial review, claiming the Senate had no case to answer. Garcia has settled out of court with the Social Security board over her contract, receiving an additional eighty thousand dollars.

Following an appeal of the decision, on November 16, 2006, Conteh denied Garcia leave to appeal the previous decision. Garcia can still appeal to Belize's Court of Appeal.


The Senate elects both a President and Vice-President of the Senate upon first convening after a general election. The person elected president may be a senator (provided he does not concurrently hold a ministerial position) or a person external to the Senate. The vice-president must be a member of the Senate who does not hold a ministerial portfolio. (Constitution, Art. 66) [2]

Current Senators

(as of November 12, 2020)

Recent history

Senators occasionally use their position as a springboard for election to the lower house which really wields much of the Legislature's power. Most Senators who do go on to contest elections usually have the backing of their party establishment.

In October 2006, [3] three new Senators, Esther Ayuso Ramirez, Dr. Deborah Mencias-McMillan and Diego Bol were appointed on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition to replace outgoing Senators Marcel Cardona, Ambrose Tillett and Arthur Roches. This frees Roches and Cardona to run for House seats in 2008.

In June 2007, as a result of an Executive reshuffle, Eamon Courtenay was removed as a Senator. He was replaced by Ambassador to the United States and OAS, Lisa Shoman (ironically, they were both respectively informed of their demotion and promotion by phone while participating in a meeting in Panama. [4] ) Courtenay and Minister of Natural Resources John Briceno were fired on Monday June 4. [5]

September 2007 brings more upheaval to the Senate. Channel 5 [6] reported that Anthony Chanona resigned over disagreements with a recent bill argued before the Senate. His replacement, Dr. David Hoy, was named in November. [7]

Following the 2012 elections, Collet Montejo and Karen Bodden joined the long-standing Shoman but were shunted out in 2014 in favour of Andrews and Sylvestre. Montejo, Andrews and Sylvestre are expected to run for seats in the next general elections.

See also

Related Research Articles

Politics of Belize

Politics of Belize takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic monarchy, whereby Queen Elizabeth II serves as head of state and the prime minister is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Parliament of Belize.

Said Musa 3rd Prime Minister of Belize

Said Wilbert Musa is a Belizean lawyer and politician. He was the Prime Minister of Belize from 28 August 1998 to 8 February 2008.

Peoples United Party Political party in Belize

The People's United Party (PUP) is one of two major political parties in Belize. It is currently the governing party of Belize after success in the 2020 Belizean general election, winning a majority of 26 seats out of 31 in the Belizean House of Representatives. It is a centre-left Christian democratic party. The party leader is Johnny Briceño, who currently serves as the Prime Minister of Belize.

United Democratic Party (Belize)

The United Democratic Party (UDP) is one of the two major political parties in Belize. It is currently the main opposition party, having lost the 2020 Belizean general election, after previously holding the government across three prior terms. Founded as a centre-right conservative party, the UDP is led by the former minister of education Hon. Patrick Faber.

Manuel Esquivel 2nd Prime Minister of Belize

Sir Manuel Amadeo Esquivel, KCMG, PC is a Belizean politician. As leader of the United Democratic Party, he served as Prime Minister from 1984 to 1989, and then again from 1993 to 1998.

Elections in Belize

Elections in Belize are the duly held elections held at various levels of government in the nation of Belize.

National Assembly (Belize)

The National Assembly is the bicameral legislature of the nation of Belize. It is divided into the House of Representatives, with 31 members, elected by universal suffrage, and the Senate, with 13 members, appointed by the Governor-General in consultation with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. The presiding officer of the House is the Speaker, while the Senate is presided over by the President.

Dolores Balderamos-García is a Belizean lawyer, politician, activist, broadcaster and author.

House of Representatives (Belize)

The House of Representatives of Belize is one of two chambers of the National Assembly, the other being the Senate. It was created under the 1981 constitution. Members are commonly called "Area Representatives."

1998 Belizean general election

General elections were held in Belize on 27 August 1998. The result was a victory for the People's United Party, which won 26 of the 29 seats and Said Musa was elected as Prime Minister for the first time. Voter turnout was 90.1%, the highest since independence.


Amandala is a Belizean tabloid newspaper; published twice weekly, it is considered the "most widely circulated newspaper in Belize". It was established on 13 August 1969 as the print organ of the now-defunct United Black Association for Development (UBAD), but has been politically independent since the mid-1970s. Its offices are located at 3304 Partridge Street in Belize City.

Leader of the Opposition (Belize)

The Leader of Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition of Belize or simply leader of the opposition is an elected official who, according to the Constitution, "commands the support of those elected officials that do not support the Government." He or she speaks on behalf of the Opposition Members of Belize's House of Representatives and also lead the Shadow Cabinet of Belize.

2008 Belizean general election

General elections were held in Belize on 7 February 2008. Beginning with this election, Belizeans elected 31 members to the House of Representatives of Belize instead of 29. In what was considered an upset, the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) won the election with 25 out of 31 seats; the ruling People's United Party won six.

Philip Goldson

Philip Stanley Wilberforce Goldson was a Belizean newspaper editor, activist and politician. He served in the House of Representatives of Belize as member for the Albert constituency from 1965 to 1998 and twice as a minister. Goldson was a founding member of both of Belize's current major political parties, the People's United Party (PUP) in the 1950s and the United Democratic Party (UDP) in the 1970s. He was also the leading spokesman of the hardline anti-Guatemalan territorial claims National Alliance for Belizean Rights party in the 1990s.

Lisa Shoman

Lisa Shoman is a Belizean lawyer and politician and the Foreign Minister of Belize from 2007 to 2008. She was previously the Permanent Representative of Belize to the Organisation of American States and served concurrently as Ambassador to the United States from 24 August 2000 until 5 June 2007, when she was appointed Foreign Minister. She was the first woman Ambassador of Belize to the United States. At the same time she was made a member of the Senate of Belize on the recommendation of Prime Minister Said Musa.

2008 Belizean constitutional referendum

A national referendum, the nation's first, was held in Belize on February 7, 2008, coinciding with the 2008 general elections.

Government of Belize National government

Her Majesty's Government of Belize, also referred to as the Belizean Government is the democratic administrative authority of Belize, a constitutional monarchy under a parliamentary democracy. It was formed in 1981 after gaining sovereignty from the United Kingdom. The constitution is the supreme law of Belize.

2012 Belizean general election

General elections were held in Belize on 7 March 2012 to elect all 31 members of the Belize House of Representatives as well as offices in the various local governments. The election was run by the Elections and Boundaries Commission's Elections and Boundaries Department. Dean Barrow and his United Democratic Party (UDP) were re-elected, but lost eight seats to the opposition People's United Party (PUP) to maintain a slim 17-14 majority in the Belize House. The upper house of the Belize National Assembly, the Senate, was appointed after the election by the UDP-led government in accordance with the Constitution of Belize.

2015 Belizean general election

General elections were held in Belize on 4 November 2015 to elect members of the House of Representatives. On 28 September 2015 Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that he had advised the Governor-General to dissolve the National Assembly and to fix Wednesday 4 November 2015 as the date for the next general elections.

2020 Belizean general election

General elections were held in Belize on 11 November 2020 to elect the 31 members of the House of Representatives. Nomination day was 21 October.


  1. "Senate Belize". National Assembly of Belize. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-12-28. Retrieved 2013-09-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. Channel5Belize Archived November 1, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  4. Channel5Belize Archived June 20, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  5. Channel5Belize Archived June 20, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  6. Channel5Belize [ dead link ]
  7. Channel5Belize [ dead link ]