Categorized | National News

Referendum Bills Hijacked

Chairman of the Constitutional Commission Sean McWeeney, QC, asserted yesterday that the amendments being proposed at the upcoming Gender Equality Referendum are being hijacked by those who have chosen to focus on matters unrelated to what the bills are about.

During an appearance on Jones and Company Mr. McWeeney called opposition the bills misguided and its intended focus has been thrown off track.

“If the bills and the discussion of the bills had stayed confined to what they were all about, this would have been the easiest thing in the world for the most ignorant member of this society to deal with because the issue here very fundamentally is do you believe that men and women are equal such that it should be unlawful to treat men more favourably than you treat women.

“If you do not think that men and women are equal then vote no. On the hand other hand, you think that men and women are equal and should be treated in a way where one is being discriminated over the other then vote yes.

“What complicates it is that other people have come in and have engrafted all kinds of issues that really ought not to have arisen in this context.

Mr. McWeeney stressed that the issue of same-sex marriage which opponents of Bill Four have argued its passage will lead to is a non-issue.

In fact, the noted attorney explained that there is a higher probability of same-sex marriage being legalized by voting no noting that under current law the term sex is undefined.

Bill Four seeks to end discrimination on the basis of sex.

Mr. McWeeney, also said that politicians who supported the passage of the bills in Parliament have been too quiet with urging constituents to get out and vote and he suggested this may be in order to ensure their political futures.

“This is not developing the way that it was supposed to have developed,” he said. “When the report and certainly when the bills were introduced in the House of Assembly, both the prime minister and the Opposition Leader made wonder statements of bi partisan support and how they were going to work together to get these bills passed but it hasn’t worked that way. As a matter of fact both the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) and the Free National Movement (FNM) have been very quiet on this.

“I think people are trying to get some political insurance in their back pocket probably seeing that this think is going the way that they wanted it to go and they want political insurance against failure.”

The referendum is set for June 7.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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