Categorized | National News

Referendum Delayed –Pushed to 2015

There will be no constitutional referendum this year as government officials announced Monday that the Constitutional Commission has recommended that the vote on those four gender equality bills be pushed back to 2015.

Minister Responsible for Referenda and Elections Dr. Bernard Nottage said following consultations with the government, the Opposition, the religious community and various sectors of civil society, the Commission has recommended to the government that a longer period of time should be allowed for public education and national dialogue before a national referendum is held on the pending bills.

“In this regard the Commission has informed the government that while it is generally pleased with the public’s response to its public education initiatives to date, it is evident that certain misconceptions, concerns and even anxieties persist, especially in relation to bill number two, relating to possible citizenship for foreign spouses of Bahamians, and bill number four relating to the elimination of public discrimination based on sex, that is to say, public discrimination based on whether a person is male or female,” he said.

“These misconceptions, concerns and anxieties have been exacerbated in many instances by the feeling that insufficient time is being given to develop a clear and thorough understanding of the bills and of what they are intended to achieve.

Dr. Nottage said the new date for the constitutional referendum in 2015 will be announced by the government “in due course,” following consultations with the various stakeholders.

“Notwithstanding the rescheduling of the referendum for 2015, it is anticipated that the bills that are presently in committee will proceed to finalisation and passage in the near future,” he added. “A more specific timetable in this regard will be announced following consultations between the government and the Opposition.

“As the purpose of the rescheduling of the referendum is to allow a longer period of time for public education and dialogue on the issues, the Constitutional Commission will be proceeding with its public education programme on an expanded and sustained basis throughout The Bahamas.”

Dr. Nottage said the rescheduling of the referendum should not be viewed as either a repudiation or compromise of this commitment but rather as a simple recognition of the fact that many of our citizenry are simply asking for more time to consider the issues before making up their minds.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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