Village Councils Act

Link to law: http://www.belizelaw.org/web/lawadmin/PDF%20files/cap088.pdf
Published: 2000

CAP. 87 VILLAGE COUNCILS ACT BELIZE

VILLAGE COUNCILS ACT

CHAPTER 88

REVISED EDITION 2000

SHOWING THE LAW AS AT 31ST DECEMBER, 2000.

This is a revised edition of the law, prepared by the Law Revision Commissioner

under the authority of the Law Revision Act, Chapter 3 of the Laws of Belize,

Revised Edition 1980 - 1990.

This edition contains a consolidation of the following laws - Page

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS 3

VILLAGE COUNCILS ACT 8 Amendments in force as at 31st December, 2000.

BELIZE

VILLAGE COUNCILS ACT

CHAPTER 88

REVISED EDITION 2000

SHOWING THE LAW AS AT 31ST DECEMBER, 2000.

This is a revised edition of the law, prepared by the Law Revision Commissioner

under the authority of the Law Revision Act, Chapter 3 of the Laws of Belize,

Revised Edition 1980 - 1990.

This edition contains a consolidation of the following laws - Page

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS 3

VILLAGE COUNCILS ACT 8 Amendments in force as at 31st December, 2000.

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CHAPTER 88

VILLAGE COUNCILS

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

PART I

Preliminary

1. Short title.

2. Interpretation.

PART II

Establishment of Villages and Village Councils

3. Establishment of villages.

4. Community may apply for village status.

5. Establishment of village councils.

PART III

Constitution, Election, Procedure, etc., of Village Councils

6. Members of councils.

7. Qualifications of members of a council.

8. Disqualification.

Village CouncilsCAP. 88]

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9. Vacation of seat and by-election.

10. Dissolution of councils.

11. Consequences of dissolution.

12. Election of Chairperson and appointment of officers and employ-

ees of the council.

13. Powers and duties of officers.

14. Power to appoint committees.

15. Appointment of support staff.

16. Meetings and proceedings of council.

17. Voting at meetings.

18. No act to be questioned on account of vacancy.

19. Admission of minutes of proceedings in evidence.

20. Allowances for members of council.

PART IV

Powers and Duties of Village Councils

21. Duty of councils.

22. Power to make regulations for the conduct of meetings, etc.

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23. Power to make by-laws.

24. Enforcing of by-laws and regulations.

PART V

Legal Proceedings and Procedure

25. Proceedings by or against the council.

26. Offences against rules punished summarily.

27. Complaints to be laid within six months.

28. Recovery of penalties.

29. Appearance of council before Magistrate.

30. Documents required to be signed by council to be signed by

Chairperson.

31. Documents purporting to be signed by Chairperson, etc., to be

admitted in evidence.

32. Members and officers of council not liable personally.

33. Signature of Chairperson sufficient authentication.

34. Notices, etc., how served.

Village CouncilsCAP. 88]

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PART VI

Election Procedures, Qualification and Registration of Voters,

Election Petitions and Offences

35. Regulations relating to elections.

PART VII

Financial

36. The Village Fund.

37. Moneys constituting the Village Fund.

38. Expenses, how met.

39. Payments from Village Fund.

40. Accounts of Village Fund.

41. Loans, when and how raised.

42. Power of council to contribute, etc.

43. Estimates.

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PART VIII

Miscellaneous

44. Oath or affirmation of allegiance and office.

45. Handing over of properties by outgoing council.

46. Issue of ID cards for council officers.

47. Dealings with lands in the village.

48. Due regard to be taken of views of villagers, etc.

49. Government agencies to consult councils.

50. Application for exemption from taxes and duties.

51. Duty of councils to supply information.

52. Donations to councils to be tax deductible.

53. Commercial activities by councils.

54. Penalties for obstructing members and officers of the council.

55. Establishment of Association of village councils.

56. Members of councils to be allowed time off from work to attend to

council duties.

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CHAPTER 88

VILLAGE COUNCILS

[10th August, 1999]

PART I

Preliminary

1. This Act may be cited as the Village Councils Act.

2. In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,

“allowance” means money payable under this Act to a member of a village

council during the time such person is a member of the village council;

“by-law” means any by-law made under this Act;

“chairperson” means the chairperson of a village council;

“council” or “village council” means a village council established and con-

stituted under this Act or any regulations made thereunder;

“election” means an election for the purpose of electing a member of a

council under this Act or regulations made thereunder;

“election officer” includes the supervisor of elections, every presiding of-

ficer and registering officer and any other person having a duty to perform

under this Act or regulations made thereunder;

Short title.

Interpretation.

30 of 1999.

42 of 1999.

Commencement

[1. 1. 2000]

S. I. 1 of 2000.

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“elector” in relation to an election, means a person who, pursuant to this

Act or any regulations made thereunder, has been registered as an elector

to vote at that election;

“House” means the House of Representatives;

“Minister” means the Minister of Government for the time being respon-

sible for village councils;

“Ministry” means the Ministry for the time being charged with the responsi-

bility for Village councils;

“Order”, “regulation”, “by-law”, “rule” mean respectively any Order, regu-

lation, by-law, or rule made under this Act;

“public officer” means a person holding or acting in any office of emolu-

ment in the public service;

“village” means any place duly declared and defined to be a village within

the meaning of section 3 of this Act;

“voter” means a person registered to vote in accordance with this Act or

any regulations made thereunder.

PART II

Establishment of Villages and Village Councils

3.-(1) The Minister may, by Order published in the Gazette, fix and

declare any area of Belize not comprised within any city or town to be a

village for the purpose of this Act, provided that at least two hundred per-

sons who would be qualified to vote for village councils under this Act live

in such an area.

Establishment of

villages.

Village CouncilsCAP. 88]

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(2) Notwithstanding the requirement stated in subsection (1) of this

section, any village already existing and recognized by the appropriate

department of government before the passing of this Act shall be a village

under this Act.

(3) The boundaries of a village shall be declared as recommended by

the Ministry in accordance with the following procedures:-

(a) in the case of existing villages which have no disputed

area with any adjoining village, in accordance with the

currently existing boundaries ascertained in consultation

with the village council already existing;

(b) in the case of existing villages which have a disputed area

with any adjoining village, in accordance with the recom-

mendation of an independent commission appointed by

the Ministry to mediate in the dispute;

(c) in the case of a new village, in accordance with the recom-

mendation of the Ministry arrived at after taking into ac-

count the views of those proposing the establishment of

the village, the views of the Ministry responsible for lands,

the environmental conditions of the area, and any other per-

tinent facts.

(4) The Minister may, by Order published in the Gazette, fix and

declare any area of Belize not comprised within any city, town or village to

be a community:

Provided that any community already existing and recognized as such

by the appropriate department of government before the passing of this

Act shall be a community under this Act.

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(5) Parts II to VI of this Act shall, subject to subsection (6) below,

apply mutatis mutandis to communities and to community councils.

(6) The Elections and Boundaries Commission may, when acting pur-

suant to section 35 (1) of this Act, after consulting communities and com-

munity councils, modify the application of any provision of this Act to any

community or community council, and modification may for this purpose be

made to:-

(a) the qualifications needed under section 7 for a person to

be a member of a community council;

(b) the qualifications needed by a person to be a voter at an

election for a community council; or

(c) any other matter or provision relating to communities or to

community council elections or by-elections which may be

reasonably required for the efficient functioning of commu-

nity council elections, or for the proper administration and

management of communities and community councils.

(7) Every Order made by the Minister under this section shall be sub-

ject to affirmative resolution of the House of Representatives.

4. Any community may apply to the Ministry to become a village, and

the Ministry shall consider the application and if the requirements of section

3 of this Act are satisfied, it shall recommend to the Minister the declara-

tion of a village.

5.-(1) There shall be established in every village declared under this Act a

council in the manner and possessing the powers and functions set out in

this Act or in any regulations made thereunder.

Community to

apply for village

status.

Establishment of

village councils.

Village CouncilsCAP. 88]

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(2) Every council shall:-

(a) be a corporate body bearing the name of “The Village

Council of” followed by the name of the village in respect

of which it is constituted;

(b) have perpetual succession and a common seal;

(c) be vested with power to sue and be sued in such name;

(d) have capacity to hold lands for the purposes of this Act;

and

(e) subject to section 10 of this Act, hold office for three years.

PART III

Constitution, Election, Procedure, etc., of Village Councils

6. A council shall consist of seven members elected in accordance with

this Act and the regulations made hereunder.

7. Any person shall be eligible to be elected as a member of a council

who:-

(a) is a citizen of Belize; and

(b) has ordinarily resided in the village for at least one year

immediately preceding the election; and

(c) is at least eighteen years old.

Members of

councils.

Qualifications

of members of

a council.

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8. A person shall be disqualified from being a member if found to be of

unsound mind under any law in force in Belize.

9.-(1) If any elected member of a council:-

(a) dies; or

(b) by writing under his hand addressed to the council resigns

his seat; or

(c) makes any declaration or acknowledgment of allegiance

to any foreign state or power; or

(d) becomes a citizen of any country which does not

recognize dual nationality; or

(e) is sentenced by a court in Belize to death or to imprison-

ment for a term exceeding twelve months; or

(f) is absent without good cause from three consecutive

meetings of the council; or

(g) violates the rules of the council or behaves in a manner in-

consistent with the good administration of the council and

the council, after affording the member an opportunity to

present a defence, passes a resolution by the votes of at

least five officers expelling the officer;

his seat on the council shall thereupon become vacant and a notifica-

tion of the facts and circumstances of such vacancy shall be published

in the Gazette, by radio and in a local newspaper circulating within the

village where such seat becomes vacant.

Disqualification.

Vacation of seat

and by-election.

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(2) If such vacancy occurs while a council’s term of office has at least

six months of unexpired time, a by-election to fill that vacancy shall be

held on a date to be fixed by the council, being not less than twenty and

not more than sixty days after the vacancy arises.

(3) Such election shall be held, and the voting and other procedures

shall be conducted, in the same manner and subject to the same rules as

are provided in this Act and any regulations made hereunder in respect of

the ordinary election of officers of a council.

(4) Every member so elected shall hold office for the unexpired pe-

riod of the term of office of the officer in whose place he was elected but

shall then be eligible for re-election.

10.-(1) The Elections and Boundaries Commission shall, at least seven

days before any general election of members of the council become due

under the provisions of this Act or any regulations made thereunder, dis-

solve that council, by Order published in the Gazette and on the radio.

(2) The members of the council so dissolved shall be eligible for

re-election.

(3) If at any time a village should cease to possess the qualifications

prescribed in section 3 of this Act, the Minister shall, after due inquiry,

dissolve the village council and declare the area in question to be no longer

a village for the purposes of this Act, provided that every Order made by

the Minister under this subsection shall be subject to affirmative resolution

of the House of Representatives.

11.-(2) Where a council is dissolved under subsection (1) of section 10

hereof, then-

Dissolution

of councils.

Consequences

of dissolution.

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(a) subject to the following paragraphs of this section, the mem-

bers of the council shall from the date of the dissolution va-

cate their offices;

(b) all the powers, duties and liabilities of the council shall, until

the constitution of a new council, be exercised, performed

and discharged by the persons who held the posts of chair-

person, secretary and treasurer of the council immediately

before the dissolution; and

(c) all property belonging to or vested in or in the occupation

of the council shall, during the period aforesaid, vest in and

be in the occupation, control and management of the per-

sons indicated in paragraph (b) above.

12.-(1) The electors shall elect a person as Chairperson of the council and

six other persons who will form the village council.

(2) After a council has been constituted, the members shall elect from

among themselves the following officers:-

(a) a deputy chairperson;

(b) a secretary; and

(c) a treasurer.

13.- (1) The Chairperson shall preside at all meetings of the council and

in the absence of the Chairperson the deputy chairperson shall preside.

(2) In the absence of both the Chairperson and deputy chairperson at

any meeting, the officers present may elect one of their number to preside

at that meeting.

Election of

Chairperson

and appointment

of officers and

employees of

the council.

Powers and

duties of

officers.

Village CouncilsCAP. 88]

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(3) The person presiding at any meeting of the council shall in addi-

tion to his original vote have a casting vote in the event of an equality of

votes.

(4) The powers and duties of the officers shall be such as may be

assigned or delegated to them by the council.

14.-(1) A council may from time to time appoint committees to carry out

such tasks as the council may assign to them.

(2) On appointing any committee, the council shall-

(a) appoint an officer of the council as chairperson of the com-

mittee;

(b) appoint as members of the committee other officers of the

council and/or any member of the village;

(c) clearly state in writing the terms of reference of the com-

mittee and the period for which it is appointed.

(3) Every such committee shall report its proceedings to the council,

and the decisions of the committee shall be subject to the approval of the

council.

(4) The meetings of a committee shall be governed by the same rules

as those governing meetings of the council, subject to any special rules

that may be made by the council in that behalf.

15.-(1) A council may from time to time appoint such persons as may be

required for the efficient administration of the affairs of the village.

Power to appoint

committees.

Appointment of

support staff.

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(2) Every such person shall hold office during the pleasure of the council,

and may receive such remuneration and shall perform such duties as may

be assigned from time to time by the council.

16.-(1) A council shall meet once at least in each quarter and at such

other times as may be fixed by the rules or when convened by the chair-

person or other members under subsection (2) below.

(2) Any three officers of a council may present a signed requisition to

the Chairperson to convene a special meeting for a particular purpose, and

if the Chairperson refuses to do so or fails to convene a meeting within

seven days, the requisitionists may, immediately upon the refusal or upon

the expiration of the seven days, as the case may be, inform the other mem-

bers and proceed to convene the meeting.

(3) The quorum at a meeting of the council shall be four.

(4) The council may invite public officers, non-government organiza-

tions or other persons or bodies to attend any meeting to assist in its delib-

erations, but such invited persons shall have no right to vote.

(5) Without prejudice to a council’s power to invite the persons re-

ferred to in subsection (4) above to attend council meetings, all meetings of

a council shall be open to the public unless directed otherwise by the Chair-

person.

17.-(1) All decisions of a council shall be made by a majority of its officers

present and voting at a meeting, provided that the number present is not

less than the quorum.

(2) No officer of a council or member of a committee shall vote upon

or take part in any discussion of any matter in which he has, directly or

indirectly, any pecuniary interest.

Meetings and

proceedings of

council.

Voting at

meetings.

Village CouncilsCAP. 88]

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18. No act or proceeding of a council shall be invalidated in conse-

quence of there being any vacancy in the number of the council at the time

of such act or proceeding, or of the subsequent discovery that there was

some defect in the election of any person or that he was incapable of being

an officer.

19.-(1) A minute of the proceedings of a council or of a committee thereof

signed at the same or next ensuing meeting by the person presiding at the

meeting shall be admissible in evidence, without further proof, in all courts

and for all other purposes whatsoever.

(2) Until the contrary is proved, every meeting of a council or of a

committee thereof in respect of the proceedings whereof a minute has been

so made shall be considered to have been duly convened and held, and all

members or officers present at the meeting shall be considered to have

been duly qualified.

20. The members of the council shall be paid such allowances as

may be approved by the House of Representatives.

PART IV

Powers and Duties of Village Councils

21.- (1) Every council shall be charged with the good government and

improvement of its village and the enforcement of the provisions of this or

any other laws relating thereto and of all by-laws and regulations made

thereunder.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the above, the council

shall-

No act to be

questioned on

account of

vacancy.

Admission of

minutes of

proceedings in

evidence.

Allowances

for members

of council.

Duty of councils.

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(a) ensure that all births and deaths in the village are duly regis-

tered in accordance with the procedures established in the

Registration of Births and Deaths Act and rules made there-

under; and

(b) make recommendations to the appropriate authority for

the appointment of Justices of the Peace and other judicial

or administrative officers residing in the village; and

(c) be responsible for the:-

(i) care and maintenance of public property;

(ii) assets and property of the council; and

(iii) preparation of an inventory thereof.

22. Subject to the provisions of this Act, a council may from time to

time make regulations with respect to all or any of the following matters:-

(a) the time, place and mode of convening its meetings;

(b) the general regulation of the proceedings of the council

and of the committees thereof; and

(c) the terms and conditions of service of employees of the

council.

23.- (1) A council may from time to time make by-laws for the rule and

good government of its village generally, and in particular in respect of all

or any of the following matters:-

(a) for the naming and numbering of houses, lots, places and

streets in any village;

Power to make

regulations for

the conduct of

meetings, etc.

Power to make

by-laws.

CAP. 157.

Village CouncilsCAP. 88]

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(b) for regulating the passing of livestock through the streets

of such village and specifying the streets through which the

livestock shall be allowed to pass, the time of such passing

and the method of leading or driving the livestock;

(c) for the establishment, and the control and use of, public

lavatories and latrines;

(d) subject to the Housing and Town Planning Act, for regu-

lating the construction of buildings, including temporary

structures in the village;

(e) for the establishment, regulation, control, maintenance and

management of markets, slaughterhouses, meat or other

stalls therein, bath-houses and wash-houses;

(f) for regulating the rent and fees payable by persons using

or benefited by such markets, slaughter-houses, meat or

other stalls therein, bath-houses and wash-houses;

(g) for the regulation of parks, gardens and public recreation

grounds in the village;

(h) for preventing animals from being landed or imported ex-

cept at a place or places as may from time to time be pre-

scribed and for the provision of public pens for animals

and for the imposition of fees and regulations in respect of

the use thereof;

(i) for the cleanliness of streets and other public places;

(j) for the cleaning of unkept and overgrown yards within the

limits of a village and for recovering the costs of doing same

from the owners;

CAP. 182.

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(k) (i) for the sanitation of the village in general;

(ii) for drainage and sewage;

(iii) for scavenging and the removal and disposal of

excreta;

(l) for the regulation of the keeping of dogs and other

animals;

(m) for preventing and extinguishing fires;

(n) for cemeteries and graves;

(o) for the destruction of insects;

(p) for suppression and abetment of nuisances;

(q) for the entry of authorised officers of the council upon

premises for the purposes of this Act or of any by-laws or

regulations made thereunder;

(r) for imposing such restrictions upon owners of land in vil-

lages as may be necessary to prevent any building upon such

land from being or becoming a source of danger to sur-

rounding property, whether from fire or from its insecure

construction or dilapidated condition;

(s) for ensuring that sound environmental practices are

adhered to by all persons within the village; and

(t) generally for the proper carrying out of the provisions of

this Act and for the efficient governing of the village.

Village CouncilsCAP. 88]

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(2) Before submitting the proposed by-laws to the House in accor-

dance with the next following section, the council shall call a general meet-

ing of the village and present the by-laws to the consideration of the villag-

ers. No by-laws shall be presented to the House unless they have been

approved by a majority of those present at such meeting.

24.-(1) By-laws and regulations made by a council shall be submitted to

the Clerk of the National Assembly, who shall cause them to be exam-

ined and certified as being legally constructed for presentation to the

National Assembly and shall be subject to affirmative resolution of the

National Assembly.

(2) After the National Assembly has approved the by-laws or regu-

lations the same shall be published in the Gazette and on the radio, and

shall come into force on the date of such publication in the Gazette.

(3) The by-laws may impose upon persons summarily convicted by

the magistrate’s court for an infraction of a by-law reasonable penalties

not exceeding a fine of one thousand dollars, and in the case of a continu-

ing offence, a further penalty not exceeding a fine of fifty dollars for each

day after conviction that the offender continues to violate the by-law.

(4) All by-laws made under this Act shall have the force and effect of

law within the limits of the village in respect of which they are made and

also for any distance not exceeding one mile therefrom whenever so ex-

pressly stated in such by-laws.

PART V

Legal Proceedings and Procedure

25. All legal proceedings by or against any council shall be in the

name of the council, but any complaint or information in respect of any

Enforcing of

by-laws and

regulations.

Proceedings

by or against

the council.

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offence against this Act or any by-laws, may be laid and prosecuted by

any member of the police department and by any other person authorized

by the council in that behalf, and all notices, written letters and other

communications shall be given, issued, sent or made by the authority of

the Chairperson of the council.

26. All offences against any rule, regulation or by-law shall be

prosecuted summarily and any magistrate may, where an offence has been

duly proved against any person, upon application by or on behalf of any

council and in lieu of imposing a penalty, make an Order compelling that

person to do or abstain from doing any act or thing the doing of which or

failure to perform which constitutes such offence.

27. Any complaint or information in pursuance of this Act or any rules,

regulations or by-laws made thereunder shall, unless otherwise specially

provided, be made or laid within six months from the time when the matter

of the complaint or information arose and not afterwards.

28. Proceedings for the recovery of a penalty under this Act shall not,

unless expressly provided, be had or taken by any person other than by a

party aggrieved or by a council or by a member of the police department.

29. A council may appear before a magistrate by any officer or mem-

ber authorised generally or in respect of any special proceedings so to ap-

pear.

30.-(1) Unless otherwise provided, any document required to be signed by

a council shall be signed by the Chairperson of that council.

(2) It shall not be necessary in any legal proceedings to prove any sig-

nature purporting to be the signature of the Chairperson or of a member of

a council or that a person so signing was the Chairperson or member thereof,

and the burden of proof shall be on the person disputing it.

Offences against

rules punished

summarily.

Complaints to be

laid within six

months.

Recovery of

penalties.

42 of 1999.

Appearance of

council before

magistrate.

Documents

required to be

signed by

council to be

signed by

Chairperson.

42 of 1999.

Village CouncilsCAP. 88]

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31. In any proceedings under this Act or under any rule, regulation or

by-law made thereunder, any notice or Order purporting to be signed by

the Chairperson of any council or by any person authorized and acting

under this Act or under any rule, regulation or by-law as aforesaid, shall

on production be admitted in evidence and shall be presumed to have

been duly signed by the Chairperson or by the person in the character by

whom and in which it purports to be signed, until the contrary is shown.

32. No matter or thing done and no contract entered into by any coun-

cil and no matter or thing done by any member, officer or servant of any

council shall, if the matter or thing were done or the contract were entered

into bona fide for the purpose of executing this Act, subject them or any

of them personally to any action, liability, claim or demand whatever, and

any expense incurred by any council, officer or servant shall be borne and

repaid out of the funds at the disposal of the council.

33. Notices, Orders and documents under this Act may be in writing

or print, or partly in writing or partly in print, and if they require authenti-

cation by the council, the signature thereof by the Chairperson shall be

sufficient authentication.

34. Notices, Orders and documents required or authorized to be served

by a council under this Act or any rule, regulation or by-law made there-

under may be served by delivering them to or at the residence of the per-

son to whom they are respectively addressed or, where addressed to the

owner or occupier of premises, by delivering them, or a true copy thereof,

to some person on the premises, or if there is no person on the premises

who can be served, by fixing them on some conspicuous part of the pre-

mises.

Documents

purporting to be

signed by Chair-

person, etc., to be

admitted in

evidence.

Members and

officers of council

not liable personally.

Signature of

Chairperson

sufficient authenti-

cation.

Notices, etc., how

served.

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PART VI

Election Procedures, Qualification and Registration of Voters,

Election Petitions and Offences

35.-(1) The Elections and Boundaries Commission, shall, after consulta-

tion with the National Association of Village Councils established under

section 55 of this Act, make regulations:-

(a) to provide for the proceedings for and at elections;

(b) to provide for the qualification and registration of electors;

(c) to provide for the mode of holding elections and by-

elections and the manner of voting at same;

(d) to provide for the register of voters and for revision of

same;

(e) to prescribe the form of the ballot papers and sample

ballot papers and any other forms that need to be pre-

scribed;

(f) to provide for the custody and disposal of ballot papers;

(g) to prescribe the manner of dealing with rejected or spoilt

ballot papers;

(h) describing the construction of ballot boxes;

(i) to prescribe the method of marking voters at elections;

(j) to provide for the conduct of elections and by-elections of

Regulations

relating to

elections.

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members of the council;

(k) to prohibit any act or matter which in its opinion is not

conducive to the maintenance of Order on polling day;

(l) to declare any act committed in the course of any cam-

paign for elections or by-elections or during an election,

an election offence;

(m) to declare the grounds upon which an election may be

challenged and the persons who may challenge an elec-

tion;

(n) to declare the grounds upon which an election may be

avoided and the procedure for challenging an election;

(o) to provide for the trial of election petitions and matters

connected therewith including the deposit of security and

the award of costs;

(p) for any other matters relating to elections or by-elections

which are reasonably required for the efficient functioning

of the provisions of this Act.

(2) Contravention of any regulations made under subsection (1) of this

section may be declared to be illegal practices and provisions may be

made in the said regulations for the punishment on summary conviction of

persons committing or taking part in the commission of such illegal prac-

tices by a fine not exceeding three thousand dollars or imprisonment for a

term not exceeding two years, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

(3) Regulations made pursuant to this section shall be subject to

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negative resolution of the House of Representatives.

PART VII

Financial

36. All moneys due to a council shall be paid into and shall form a fund

to be called “The Village Fund”, and shall be applied exclusively to the use

of the particular village to the credit of which the same has been paid.

37. The Village Fund shall be comprised of:-

(a) all monies voted from time to time by the National As-

sembly for the use by the council in the administration of

the village or community;

(b) all fines and penalties paid in respect of non-compliance

with this Act, or the rules, regulations and by-laws made

thereunder;

(c) all moneys payable in any manner whatever to a council

whether under or pursuant to this Act or otherwise;

(d) all moneys derived from fundraising;

(e) all fees and duties received under the Intoxicating Liquor

Licensing Act on the issue or transfer of licences in

respect of the village concerned; and

(f) moneys lawfully derived from any other sources, including

any trade or other licences imposed by law.

38. All expenses incurred or payable by a council in the execution of this

The Village Fund.

Moneys

constituting

the Village Fund.

CAP. 150.

Expenses,

how met.

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Act or any regulations made thereunder shall be paid out of the Village

Fund and all disbursements by such council shall be made in accordance

with the Financial Regulations for the time being in force in the Public

Service.

39. All payments from a Village Fund shall be made on claims certified

by the Chairperson and one other member of the council.

40.-(1) The accounts of the Village Fund shall be made on claims certified

by the Chairperson and one other member of the council.

(2) The accounts of the Village Fund and all other accounts of a council

shall be regularly audited by the Auditor General.

41.-(1) Whenever the general interest and welfare or development of any

village will, in the opinion of two-thirds of the officers of the council, be

advanced by an expenditure greater than can be met out of the annual

revenue of the Village Fund, the council may, by resolution carried by two

thirds of the officers, recommend, on the guarantee of an annual allocation

of such amount of the Village Fund as may be equivalent to the annual

interest and sinking fund necessary for its redemption, the raising of a loan,

the proceeds of which shall be devoted to the advancement of the general

interest and welfare or development of the village.

(2) The Minister of Finance may borrow such sum of money as may

be authorized under the Local Public Loans Act, and thereafter the sum

necessary to meet the annual interest and sinking fund for the redemption

of the loan shall be a first charge upon all moneys which may then or may

thereafter form part of the Village Fund described in sections 36 and 37

above.

42. After consultation with and with the consent of the majority of mem-

bers of the village, and having informed the Ministry of Finance of its

Payments from

Village Fund.

Accounts of

Village Fund.

Loans, when and

how raised.

CAP. 80.

Power of council

to contribute, etc.

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intentions, a council may contribute towards, undertake any scheme or es-

tablish any institution for economic, educational, recreational or charitable

purposes connected with or for the benefit of the village.

43.-(1) In the month of January of each year, each council shall submit to

the Minister, an annual estimate comprising and classifying the anticipated

revenue and expenditure of the council, calculated in respect of the finan-

cial year commencing on the 1st day of April then next ensuing, which esti-

mate shall be referred to as the village estimates.

(2) The village estimates shall be in such form as may be prescribed by

the Minister of Finance.

PART VIII

Miscellaneous

44. Every person who is elected or appointed an officer of a council

shall, prior to taking his seat, take before a magistrate or Justice of the

Peace at a meeting of the council, an oath or affirmation of allegiance and

office in the following form:-

“I........................................................................ do swear, (or

solemnly and sincerely affirm and declare) that I will bear true faith

and allegiance to Belize and will uphold the Constitution and the law,

and I will conscientiously, impartially and to the best of my ability

discharge my duties as (................................. ) and do right to all

manner of people without fear or favour, affection or ill-will. (So help

me God).”

Estimates.

Oath or

affirmation of

allegiance and

office.

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45. Whenever a newly elected council takes office, there shall be an

official handing over of all council properties by the outgoing officers of

the former council to the officers of the incoming council. Such handing-

over shall take place within two weeks of the expiry of the term of the

outgoing council and shall be duly witnessed by officers of the Ministry.

46. The officers of a council shall be issued with village council identi-

fication cards by the Ministry. Identification cards shall be valid only for

the term of office of the officers of the council.

47.-(1) The council shall have the following privileges, duties and re-

sponsibilities with respect to lands within the village:-

(a) a map or maps showing the lands in the village and their

distribution shall be delivered to the council by the Minis-

try responsible for lands, and the council shall be informed

by the Ministry in a timely manner of any changes or in-

tended changes;

(b) the council may constitute itself a Lots Committee or may

appoint a Lots Committee under section 14 hereof to make

recommendations to the said Ministry with regard to the

distribution of lots and lands within or affecting the bound-

aries of the village;

(c) before dealing with any lands in the village, the Ministry

responsible for lands shall consult the council and take its

views into account; and should the said Ministry decide

not to follow the advice of the council it shall explain its

reasons in writing to the council before effecting that deci-

sion, and provide the council further opportunity to present

Handing over of

properties by

outgoing council.

Issue of I.D. cards

for council officers.

Dealings with

lands in the

village.

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its case to the Ministry; and

(d) with the consent of and under the conditions negotiated with

the department of Government responsible for forestry, the

council may have responsibility for maintaining forest re-

serve boundaries that coincide with the village boundary and

be compensated for this.

(2) A council may acquire by lease, purchase or otherwise, lands and

buildings or any part thereof for any purpose of public utility.

(3) The Ministry responsible for lands shall transfer title to such lands in

a village as are required by the village council to construct any buildings

necessary for it to carry out its functions under this Act as well as for recre-

ational purposes such as parks and playing fields.

48. A council, when implementing any of its plans or proposals, shall take

into consideration the views and opinions of villagers and of government

and non-government agencies.

49.-(1) Any Ministry or Department of Government intending to make any

decision or policy or to carry out any act affecting a village shall consult

with the council before doing so and, as far as practicable, take the views

of the council into account.

(2) Where such decision, policy or action affects all villages in a district

or in the country, it shall be sufficient for the Ministry or Department con-

cerned to consult with the appropriate agency established under section 55

of this Act.

(3) Where the Ministry or Department as aforesaid decides not to fol-

low the advice of the council or agency, as the case may be, it shall explain

its reasons in writing to the council or agency before effecting that decision,

Due regard to be

taken of views

of villagers, etc.

Government

agencies

to consult

councils.

Village CouncilsCAP. 88]

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and provide the council or agency further opportunity to present its case

to the Ministry or Department.

(4) If there is any conflict in the exercise of powers between a

Lots Committee established by a Council under this Act and any Lands or

Lots Committee or other body established pursuant to any enactment regu-

lating the distribution or disposal of national lands, the powers of a Lots

Committee established under this Act shall, in respect of the village or

community in which that Committee exercises powers, have effect over

the powers of such other Lands or Lots Committee as aforesaid.

50.-(1) Any council wishing to be exempt from taxes and duties shall

apply in writing to the relevant authority.

(2) A letter of authorization for the exemption of taxes and/or duties

shall be delivered by the relevant authority to the applicant council within

eight working days of application, and shall be valid for the duration of the

life of the council.

51. Councils that have been granted letters of authorization under

section 50 shall supply the relevant authority with the following:-

(i) a quarterly report of all goods and services acquired

locally without the payment of taxes, with all necessary

details of such transactions;

(ii) a quarterly report of all goods imported, including the value

of such goods and the programme or project for which

they are being used.

52.-(1) All persons, whether natural or legal persons, who make dona-

tions to councils shall be eligible to have those donations tax-deductible

under the Income and Business Tax Act.

Application for

exemption from

taxes and duties.

Duty of councils

to supply informa-

tion.

Donations to

council to be

tax deductible.

CAP. 55.

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(2) Such deductions shall be effected solely for the year in which the

donations were made.

(3) In order to qualify for such deductions, the donor shall prove the

donation by means of a certificate issued by the recipient council which

shall include the following:-

(i) proof that the donee is a council constituted under this Act;

(ii) a receipt showing that the donation was made by the donor,

including the date and the amount or the value of the dona-

tion;

(iii) the use to which the donee put the donation; and

(iv) express mention of the irrevocable character of the dona-

tion.

(4) The Income Tax Department may use any resources at its dis-

posal to verify the validity of such donations in accordance with the mecha-

nisms established by law.

53. Councils may undertake commercial, industrial, agricultural and other

profit-making enterprises of whatever kind, provided that this is authorized

by their by-laws and provided further that the profits are re-invested in the

projects of the council, in which case, upon proof of such re-investment,

such profits shall likewise be exempt from taxes and duties.

54. Any person who obstructs or impedes or attempts to obstruct or

impede any member of a council, or the secretary, tax collector, clerk or

other officer of a council lawfully authorized as such by this Act in the dis-

charge of his duties or in his official capacity or in the exercise of his pow-

ers either under this or any other Act, commits an offence and is liable on

Commercial

activities by

councils.

Penalty for

obstructing

members and

officers of the

council.

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summary conviction to a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars or to im-

prisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or to both such fine and

imprisonment.

55.-(1) Village councils in each district of Belize shall together establish an

association of all the village councils in that district, which shall be known

as “The..................... District Association of Village Councils”.

(2) The six District Associations of Village Councils shall form a Na-

tional Association of Village Councils.

(3) The District Associations and the National Association shall have

such powers and duties, and shall be regulated in such a manner as shall

be prescribed by regulations and by-laws made hereunder.

(4) The Minister may make regulations for the composition of, and

procedures to be followed by, the associations mentioned in this section,

after allowing representatives of village councils an opportunity to present

their views and all such regulations shall be subject to negative resolution

of the House of Representatives.

(5) The regulations aforesaid shall include a code of ethics for mem-

bers of the council.

(6) A District Association of Village Councils or the National Asso-

ciation of Village Councils may represent any village council or group of

village councils at any forum, especially where the village council or group

of village councils may not have financial, technical or other resources to

adequately and meaningfully represent themselves thereat.

Establishment of

associations of

Village Councils.

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56.-(1) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, where a member of

a village or community council is in employment, it shall be the duty of the

employer to give such member reasonable time off from work without loss

of salary or other benefits to enable such member to attend to council du-

ties.

(2) A dispute between an employer and an employee who is a mem-

ber of a council as to whether any time off granted from work pursuant to

subsection (1) above is reasonable or not shall be referred to the Minister,

whose decision thereon shall be final and binding on both parties.

(3) Failure to comply with the requirements of subsection (1) or sub-

section (2) above constitutes an offence punishable on summary conviction

with a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars or with imprisonment for a

period not exceeding three months or with both such fine and period of

imprisonment.

57. This Act shall come into force on a day to be appointed by the

Minister by Order published in the Gazette. Commencement.

Members of

councils to be

allowed time off

from work to

attend to council

duties.
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