Categorized | National News

Constitutional Commission Granted Extension

The Constitutional Commission has been given an additional three months to hand in its report.

In a letter dated Monday, February 11, Commission Chairman Sean McWeeney QC requested that Prime Minister Perry Christie give the 13-member commission more time to submit its report.

Mr. McWeeney said given the considerable public interest to constitutional reform, the need to allow as much time “as reasonably practicable” for public consultation and the need to give the electorate adequate time to consider and digest any of the recommendations, the initial date should be pushed from March 31 to June 30.

Mr. McWeeney also requested that the constitutional referendum, scheduled for June, now take place in late November.

“These extensions will both encourage and facilitate the widest possible dialogue and public education on constitutional reform well in advance in any voting of a referendum,” the prime minister said.

“It should be noted that this weekend past the commission launched its town hall style public consultations with four separate meetings in Grand Bahama. These consultations will extend throughout the Family Islands and New Providence in the coming months.

The 13-member commission was appointed late last year to conduct a comprehensive review of the nearly 40-year-old constitution.

In recent weeks, politicians, pastors and civic leaders have given their input on critical and contentious national issues like capital punishment, citizenship and the country’s political system.

The question of whether The Bahamas ought to remain a constitutional monarchy or evolve into a republic, albeit within the Commonwealth, was also expected to receive the commission’s close attention.

“This is an extremely important undertaking, one that is vital to the orderly growth and development of our constitutional democracy and the rights and freedoms we hold so dear,” Prime Minister Christie added.

“Indeed I would go further and suggest that the process of constitutional reform is vital to the growth and development of our civilisation as a sovereign people.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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