Categorized | National News

BCC Not Fully Consulted on Protection Against Violence Bill


Journal Staff Writer

Bahamas Christian Council (BCC) President Bishop Delton Fernander said the government didn’t fully consult the church before the Protection Against Violence Bill 2023 was passed.

The bill was debated and passed by members of parliament in the Lower Chamber last week.

Probed by reporters on Tuesday on whether the church felt excluded, Bishop Fernander said, “This is what they decided to do. I mean, we got, you know, the bill was sent to us.  We assumed that there would be a gathering again. Apparently, there was a gathering.”

Bishop Fernander noted that he didn’t attend the meeting and this is the third administration he’s sitting under as president of the BCC.

“It happens with them all and after a while they come around,” he said.

Although the church was not fully consulted on the bill, Bishop Fernander noted that a similar course of action was taking place by the government as it relates to other proposed bills. However, he asserted that the church will remain resolute in its mandate.

“It’s better that we work together than to try to work your plans behind closed doors. I’m waiting for the cannabis bill. So, you know, it’s at the Parliament, I understand. So, my point being is, this is the kind of stuff that gets to a point where at the end of the day, the church has to give strong pushback,” Bishop Fernander said.

 “Because we don’t know I mean, like you’re saying that there’s a bill at the house and I hear some of the voices saying it’s different from the one. We’d like a copy of the different one. We are a body that represents Christ and sometimes we will be seen as not being on the same page as other agendas. We are quite fine with that. It’s better sometimes to work with us, even if we disagree.”

Bishop Fernander’s comments come on the heels of Leader of Government Business in the House of Assembly Obie Wilchcombe, last Thursday, in response to objection by women’s rights groups over the proposed legislation, listed a number of stakeholders that were sent the Protection Against Violence Bill on June 5.  The Bahamas Christian Council was one of the stakeholders listed by the minister of social services.

The Protection Against Violence Bill 2023 was laid in the House of Assembly on May 24.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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