Belize is located west of Guatemala and 75 kilometers (47 miles) from Honduras in the northeastern part of Central America. It is a sovereign country that was part of the English Crown since 1862 and reached independence in 1981. It has a population of around 383,000 inhabitants and its largest commercial center is the city of Belize. The official language is English; however, Spanish is widely used. The legal currency is the Belizean dollar (BZ$), which fixed exchange rate to the US dollar is approximately BZ$ 2.00 per dollar (USD$ 1.00).
Belize has a long history of peace, political stability and democracy. Its political system is based on the model of British parliamentary monarchy of Westminster. The executive authority is exercised by the Cabinet, under the leadership of the prime minister. It enjoys the separation of the three powers: the Executive, the Legislative and the Judicial. The law in Belize is based on Anglo-Saxon Common Law and is complemented by local legislation.