Municipal Government Final Project

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Final Project: The Belize City Municipal Court

Dale McDougall


Southern New Hampshire University

May 29, 2016

Municipal Office Selection

There are many important roles and responsibilities in the general structure of the municipal government. One of those roles is the management of the municipal court system. These are the individuals, who ensures that there is a functioning system where people can get their cases heard quickly and fairly, and in principle, ensures a steady flow of revenue for the council. In Belize City, the Municipal Court system got its start in 1994 after the City Council was “overwhelmed with violation tickets for traffic offenses” with the Council having “no way dealing with a number of tickets which were first heard summarily” (Belize City Council, 2016). The Municipal Court’s mandate then started with the implementation of Statutory Instrument No. 74 of 1997 and the first case was heard on July 26, 1997. The Court’s job is to hear all matters that concern the Belize City Council (2016), which include traffic tickets and related matters, arrears for property taxes and related incidentals, arrears and offenses of trade licenses, intoxicating liquor licenses, and public health. The powers of the court includes “all the powers vested in the Magistrates’ Court and from time to time, [it] has ordered distress of good and chattels, committal warrants, and bench warrants” (Belize City Council, 2016). As per the similar charters of the Municipal Court, the Municipal Court can order offenders be committed to prison and has the power to administrate or supervise public auctions. The Coordinator ensures that all these functions are carried out. The current coordinator is Jermaine Hyde, who is second in command to the Legal Director, Margaret Gabb-McKenzie, who previously served as the Chief Magistrate. Mrs. McKenzie was not available for this interview at the last minute due to an emergency, which saw her leave the country. Mr....