Categorized | National News

Constitutional Referendum Could be Delayed

In the midst of widespread debate surrounding the proposed constitutional amendments tackling gender equality, Leader of Government Business in the House of Assembly Dr. Bernard Nottage revealed that the constitutional referendum could possibly be delayed in an effort to ensure that the electorate is fully educated on the four bills that seek to promote equality between men and women.

Dr. Nottage said as much during the first reading of the Gaming Bill on Wednesday in the House of Assembly.

“The Constitutional Commission is also considering whether any adjustment to the current time table for the constitutional referendum should be recommended having regard to the need to ensure that the electorate is afforded ample time to develop a thorough understanding of the proposed changes in advance of any referendum,” he said.

“An announcement on this aspect of the matter is expected to be made on or before September 10 as well,” he said.

In the meantime, he added that the Constitutional Commission will continue to expand and diversify its public education activities throughout the country as it wraps up it consultations on any possible amendments to the bills.

“The commission is in the process of completing the final round of consultations with the religious community and a broad section of civil society in specific reference to the bills after which the commission will consult the government and the opposition before finalising its advice if any additional amendments could be advanced in consideration by this honourable house while the bills are in committee,” he said.

This announcement from the Constitutional Commission to consider delaying the referendum comes on the heel of a controversy that also fuelled uproar in parliament on the proposed amendments.

Last month this prompted female parliamentarians to speak out and to rally support for the bills as they vowed to launch a ground campaign in their bid for a successful referendum.

The controversy on the amendments centred on bill number four that seeks to end discrimination based on sex, many expressed concern that this bill could possibly pave the way for same sex marriages, a claim the that the government has repeatedly denied and has since revised bill number four to include a definition for the word sex to clarify male and female.

The government has scheduled the constitutional referendum for November 6.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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