Presently, there are 31 elected members of the House of Representatives. The party with the majority of seats in the House of Representatives forms the Government. The Cabinet, the Executive branch of Government, has direct control of the civil and military apparatus of the state and makes day-to-day decisions on the management of those resources. The Executive is headed by the Prime Minister.
One of the major parliamentary functions is drafting new laws and amending old laws for peace, order and good governance of Belize. The House of Representatives plays a part – obviously the largest and most important part – in the creation of laws by the National Assembly. Once a bill has been passed by the House of Representatives, and the Senate, it is sent to the Governor-General’s Office for his assent. The bill which the Governor-General assents then becomes an act, forming part of the Laws of Belize.
Members of the House of Representatives represent the voters of Belize. Each year the House approves a budget outlining Government’s policies. When debating the budget, each elected member speaks to the budget in terms of its impact on their respective constituencies. They also represent the actions of the House and the Government to the people.
Apart from those mentioned above, the House has several ways of holding the Government to account. During a Sitting of the House, there is a question time for Backbenchers and Opposition Members to ask questions to Ministers. There is a provision for general and urgent debates, a Select Committee of Members to investigate matters of Government. Also, upon the motion “That this House do now adjourn” any member, customarily the Opposition, may raise any matter of public concern and a Minister may reply.