Categorized | Featured, National News

Church Leaders Demand Bill Change

Prime Minister Perry Christie met with members of the Church as well as members of the opposition Free National Movement (FNM) over the weekend to come to a consensus on the four controversial constitutional amendment bills set to tackle gender equality in The Bahamas, the Journal can reveal.

According to Journal sources, the meeting took place at the Office of the Prime Minister on West Bay Street.

At the end of the meeting, sources said, church leaders unanimously called on the government and the Opposition to pass all four of the bills, making way for a constitutional referendum.

However, like many other Bahamians, the Church also wants clarification on bill number four as it relates to the word sex, which has sparked mass controversy throughout the nation.

As it stands now, the proposed bill seeks to alter Article 26 of the Constitution.

“Clause two of this bill seeks to amend paragraphs (3) and (5) of Article 26 of the Constitution to include the word ‘sex’ in the definition of the expression ‘discriminatory’ thereby making it unconstitutional for any law or any person acting thereunder or in the performance of any public office to discriminate on the basis of sex, subject nevertheless to the existing exceptions mentioned in Article (26) (4) which are preserved.”

It was decided, the Journal can confirm, that the government would amend the fourth bill to explain that the word sex means male and female.

Present at that meeting was President of the Baptist Convention Rev. Dr. William Thompson, President of The Bahamas Christian Council Rev. Ranford Patterson, Bishop of The Anglican Diocese of the Bahamas and The Turks and Caicos Islands Rev. Laish Boyd, Archbishop of the Catholic Diocese Patrick Pinder, Presiding Bishop of Global United Fellowship Neil Ellis, Bahamas Faith Ministries International Founder and Pastor Dr. Myles Munroe FNM Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis and FNM Deputy Leader Loretta Butler-Turner as well as other Opposition members.

There was contentious debate in the House of Assembly on Wednesday after a number of parliamentarians bumped heads over the proposed changes, exposing discord within the governing party on these thorny issues.

Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) MPs Greg Moss, Andre Rollins, Renward Wells and Damian Gomez all clashed on various aspects of the amendments.

Dr. Minnis, who initially agreed to sign off on the bills, has since pulled back, noting numerous loopholes in the proposed amendments.

However, FNM Chairman Darron Cash said despite that, the Opposition fully supports gender equality.

Debate continues in the House of Assembly today at 10:00 a.m.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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