The National Assembly, which is the Legislature or Parliament of Belize, consists of three bodies: the Governor-General, the Senate and the House of Representatives. The National Assembly of Belize is bicameral, meaning it consists of two houses – the Senate (Upper House) and the House of Representatives (Lower House). The thirty-one (31) Members of the House of Representatives are elected in general election under the provisions of the Representation of the People Act. Meanwhile, the thirteen (13) Members of the Senate are nominated and appointed by the Governor General of Belize. However, in accordance with the provisions of section 90 of the Belize Constitution, the National Assembly may by law increase the number of Members of the House of Representatives.
The National Assembly of Belize is the body that makes laws for peace, order and good governance of Belize. The Power of the National Assembly to make laws shall be exercised by Bills passed by both Houses and assented to by the Governor General. In other words, no law made by the National Assembly shall come into operation until it has been signed by the Governor General; however, the National Assembly can postpone the coming into operation of any such law and can make laws with retrospective effect. All laws made by the National Assembly are styled “Acts”.
A very important role of the National Assembly is also to provide oversight to the administrative policies and economics of the government through various Standing Committees of the House of Representatives. For example, all proposed legislation, messages, petitions, reports, motions and other matters under the title of each Standing Committees shall be referred by the House to such Committee for examinations, consideration and report to the House.
The Life of the National Assembly is for five years. It can, however, be prorogued or dissolved at any time by the Governor General, who shall act in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister.