Located on the Caribbean seaboard of Central America, Belize is bordered on the North by Mexico, and on the South and West by Guatemala. Belize is only two hours away from the USA via regular air services maintained by major international carriers. It is often referred to as the bridge between Central America and the Caribbean, and its strategic location in the region can be likened to what Hong Kong is in the East.
Belize, once known as British Honduras, is a former British dependent territory. In 1862 the country was established as a British Crown Colony; in 1964 self-government was achieved; in 1973 the name was officially changed from British Honduras to Belize; and in 1981 Belize gained full independence.
Today, the legal system is based on English Common Law supplemented by local legislation. The court system is made up of several Magistrate’s Courts and a Supreme Court, with final appeal being to the Privy Council in London.
The political system is based on the British Westminster model with Queen Elizabeth II as head of State, represented by a Belizean Governor General.
The Bicameral legislature is made up of a 29 member elected House of Representatives, and a 12 member appointed Senate, while the Executive branch is made up of a Prime Minister and Cabinet. General democratic elections are held every 5 years.