Categorized | National News

Vote on Gender Equality Bills Delayed

Parliamentarians were expected to vote on the package of four Constitutional Amendment Bills Monday, but Government Leader in the House Dr. Bernard Nottage announced that the much anticipated exercise had to be delayed as the bills are still being tweaked.

There has been much controversy surrounding the compendium of bills over the past few months throughout the country and in parliament where both government and Opposition members vowed to vote against them in their initial state.

Since then there has been numerous changes made to the bills after consultation with numerous bodies including members of the Opposition and other bodies.

Dr. Nottage said even though they have met with government officials on numerous occasions, members of the Church are still fine tuning their recommendations.

“There has been consultation with the religious groups,” he said. “The Christian Council has another meeting later on this week to discuss the four bills.

“We have been advised that it would be in our best interest to await the result of consultation because it is possible that there could be further recommendations.”

Dr. Nottage said he has also received a communication from an Opposition member who has expressed concern over the bills.

For that reason he said the presentation of the bills from the committee stage will be postponed until a later date, a move that did not sit well with FNM Deputy Leader Loretta Butler-Turner.

“If you were to look at this gallery this morning, clearly the government was not on point in advising the Constitutional Commission adequately or the Opposition,” she said. “The gallery was filled with people who’ve done a lot of work on the bills and it’s really unfortunate that today we are here to deal with legislation that we are not prepared to deal with.

“I think the people of The Bahamas were looking forward to this much anticipated movement of the legislation so they can see what the government was putting forth to amend the Constitution so it’s a big disappointment.”

The four bills propose to amend the country’s constitution to tackle citizenship and discrimination in a bid to bring about gender equality.

There was no word on when the vote would be taken.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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