Categorized | National News

COBUS President Pushes For Progressive Reforms

The Constitutional Commission completed its latest round of consultations Friday with an appearance from a college student leader who urged the body to ensure that the constitution reflects the countries growing progressive landscape.

College of The Bahamas Union of Students (COBUS) President Ernesto Williams addressed the commission during a session at the British Colonial Hotel.

He urged the body to give serious consideration to including greater protection to the environment under the constitution and he pushed for greater focus to be given to the issue of climate change.

“Given that our country heads the top 10 countries in the planet to be adversely affected by climate change and rising waters, our Constitution also needs to enshrine an environment that sustains us and the principles we agreed to when we signed the 1992 United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (Agenda 21),” Mr. Williams said.

“The projected three-foot rise in sea water within the next 100 years is an issue we have not come to grips with at all. Myself, any children I may have and certainly the grandchildren I will have, should not have to be left alone to address the issue that our country may very well disappear under water.

“We must have, enshrined in our Constitution, a right to an environment which sustains us… and our country must take serious the Constitutional right of all of us as citizens to negotiate and agree to any development that takes place in our country. And looking forward, we must recognise that the type of citizen we need to grow and foster for the future society must be one that is able to address complexities none of you have ever had to deal with.”

He also recommended that the constitution be revised to extend universal education to the tertiary level.

“In 2013, it is inconceivable that any person who has the capacity and desire for higher education cannot have the access and availability to do so because of financial constraints and the like,” he said. “When will The Bahamas join the rest of the world to realise the importance and value of our human capital? And as noted earlier, our very future as a people will depend on it.”

The COBUS president stressed the need for the creation of a Labour Court noting that Tribunals are inadequate and do not offer sufficient protection to the country’s workforce.

Currently labour disputes are heard either at a Tribunal or the Supreme Court.

Mr. Williams noted that at present, the labour unrest is at a point where swift justice is needed.

“Without swift justice and immediate decisions being able to be determined by a court and the court being able to actually ensure they are carried out, labour workers in this country are discriminated against by a constitution that does not make provisions for them,” he said.

The 10-member commission is expected to complete its work and present its full report to the government on March 31.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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