About Belize

Belize is Beautiful

under_the_seaBELIZE is a beautiful independent nation located on the Caribbean seaboard of Central America, bounded on the north by Mexico and on the West and South by Guatemala .The land area is about 22,923 kilometers square. It is an easy 2 hours flight from Miami, Houston, Dallas, New Orleans and Los Angeles.

The population is about 333,000. Belmopan is the administrative capital and Belize City is the commercial center. Belize’s population is ethnically diverse, including descendants of the original Maya culture and people’s of African, Hispanic, Caucasians, Chinese and East Indians descent.

Government

Belize has and continues to enjoy a history of peace, stability and democracy, with elections every five years. It became a British Crown Colony in 1862 and attained independence in 1981. Belize is a member of the United Nations, the British Commonwealth, the Non-Aligned Movement, the IMF, World Bank, Caribbean Development Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and the Organization of American States.

The political system is based on the British Westminster Model with Queen Elizabeth 11, represented by a Belizean Governor General, as titular Head of State. Executive authority is vested in the Cabinet headed by the Prime Minister. Legislative authority is in the National Assembly which comprise a democratically elected House of Representative and a nominated Senate. There are two main political parties both committed to the democratic process and the economic development of the country.

Legal System

The legal system is based on English Common Law and local statute. There is an established hierarchy of courts with final appeals vested in the Caribbean Court of Justice. Belize has a written constitution with a Bill of Rights.

Currency

Local currency is the Belize Dollar which is pegged to the US dollar at a rate of BZ$2.00 to US$1.00.

Communications

Telephone and internet communications to and from Belize are excellent and international direct dialing facilities are available. The Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport near Belize City provides daily services through several international carriers to the United States and Central America. Major seaports are situated in Belize City, Big Creek and Dangriga.

Travel

A valid passport is required of all visitors. Citizens of the United Kingdom, some Commonwealth countries, the European Union and the United States are not required to have visa, provided they have a return or round trip ticket. Time zone: EST-1; GMT-6.

Language

English is the official language, but Spanish is widely spoken. The literacy rate is 75%.

Economy

Belize promote development of a mixed economy in which Government utilize borrowing mainly on concessional terms, for infrastructure development and private sector support.

Principal exports are citrus, banana, sugar, marine products, garments, timber and services.

Tourism is a major income earner. The Barrier Reef is the longest in the Western Hemisphere and is a haven for fishermen, divers and snorkelers. There are several Mayan archaeological sites throughout the country. A large portion of Belize consists of virgin rainforest, which made it renown as one of the world’s leading eco-tourism destinations.

International Financial Services

The international financial services sector commenced in 1989 and is now a mature, stable industry providing efficient, confidential services to the global investor .The International Financial Services Commission is the institution that regulates and oversee the industry and license all international financial service providers.

The Belize Offshore Practitioners Association is a private sector organization comprised of international financial services providers that generally promote the interest of service providers and the industry as a whole. A code of conduct is prescribed to regulate the conduct of service providers and maintain certain high standards in the industry.