Categorized | National News

Death Penalty Bill Blocked

Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis yesterday was blocked from tabling a crime bill, which he said would push the government to resume capital punishment in the country.

Dr. Minnis attempted to table the bill in the House of Assembly during Wednesday’s morning session.

The bill puts provisions in place for the government to remove the UK-based Privy Council as the highest court of appeal for murder convicts.

The bill also calls for a national referendum on capital punishment.

The session in the House lasted no longer than 10 minutes as Leader of Government Business in the House Dr. Bernard Nottage informed Parliamentarians that the government had to deal with some “pressing matters.”

But after Dr. Minnis attempted to table the bill, he was told that he would not be able to do so.

Instead, House Speaker Dr. Kendal Major said that he did not receive notice that the bill would be tabled.

Furthermore, Dr. Major said the House would have to vote to allow a first reading of the bill.

During a news conference a short time later in the minority room, Dr. Minnis said he feels that the government is trying to block the Opposition from dealing with the crime problem.

“I’ve gotten the impression that the government was continuously trying to block us from bringing this bill forth. Parliament met for only a few minutes and we were not able to present the bill and I have all intention to table it in the next sitting, which is the 29th, to present to the bill so that we can have adequate debate on capital punishment so we would know exactly where the government and each individual stands and we will have a robust debate on crime so as to deal with this matter appropriately,” the Opposition leader said.

“The government has not been doing its job. It was them who said they had the solution for crime and other matters. We feel that the government is not doing its job appropriately and we feel that if they can’t do their job then we will do it for them. All we ask of them is to enforce what we brought forth as they are the government and they are the enforcers.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Nottage said Dr. Minnis either doesn’t understand the rules of the House of Assembly or simply doesn’t want to abide by them.

He said the Opposition leader was “pulling a stunt.”

“Essentially, the rules allow for a member to give notice of a bill which he intends to table at the next meeting or at least at the next time we have the opportunity to table bills. He did not do that. In fact I had a chat to explain what we were doing and I think it would have been a good opportunity to share with me what he intended to do so I could tell him whether or not I could have supported his request. But he didn’t do that,” Dr. Nottage said.

When asked if it is a possibility that the Opposition’s crime bill would be debated, Dr. Nottage said he did not know.

“I cannot tell you because I have not seen the bill and I don’t know what it is about. Under normal circumstances in the Parliament, it is not unusual for the Opposition to table a bill and the government would facilitate that if it feels it is appropriate to do so. If it is something that we disagreed with strongly we would indicate that to him but that still doesn’t prevent him from tabling it if he wishes to do so at the appropriate time,” he said.

The House resumes on January 29.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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