BTB & Stakeholders Meet with Solicitor General’s Office to Discuss Marriage Amendment Bill
-- Belize City, Wednesday, April 16th, 2008 – In an effort to clarify concerns and issues raised by the industry regarding the recently amended Marriage Act, the Belize Tourism Board along with stakeholder representatives met with Ms. Dominquez of the Solicitor General’s Office on Monday, April 7th at the BTB’s office. The weddings and honeymoon market in Belize boomed within the past 4-6 years and was commonly requested or arranged for overnight visitors to Belize. The Act at that time stated that the couple applying for a marriage license must be in the country for three days prior to the submission of the application, which was accepted on the 4th day.
The cruise industry has recently prompted the industry to request that the Act be amended to accommodate the requests of cruise and overnight tourists desiring a destination wedding and cannot be here three days prior to the submission of the application. In 2007, the Act was amended to allow cruise passengers and overnight visitors the opportunity to process their applications prior to their arrival into the country.
The private sector has expressed disappointment with the amendment when applying on behalf of clients that have been divorced. Other issues raised regarding documentations are when original copies are submitted, the registrar office does not return the decree to the applicant, and timing is compromised to process the client when the registrar is not in office especially if the client submits the application on a Friday.
Ms. Dominquez was able to satisfactorily address the concerns of the private sector representatives and clearly explain what was required of them. In reference to the amendment, what is expected from private sector when submitting divorce decrees is that an original or certified copy be presented complete with a Raised Seal of approval and an original signature from the court that issued the decree.
“The increasing number of requests for destination weddings has been encouraging over the past four years and the interest has prompted many opportunities for private sector to maximize and expand upon their product offerings,” commented Director of Tourism, Mrs. Tracy Panton. “To continue maximizing on these efforts, the Belize Tourism Board was more than willing to collaborate with the private and public sector in an effort to resolve any issues or concerns raised in order to satisfactorily resolve the matters on hand,” Panton noted.