Categorized | National News

McCartney Appears Before Constitutional Commission

Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Leader Branville appeared before the Constitutional Commission on Friday, making recommendations of his own for the commission to consider.

The commission has already interviewed Chief Justice Sir Michael Barnett and expects to interview more people in the coming weeks.

Mr. McCartney commended Prime Minister Perry Christie for appointing the commission to review the country’s constitution at such an early stage in his government’s term.

“I would respectfully encourage the commission to consider the following: the establishment of fixed constituencies, which can only be changed according to international criteria,” he said.

“I would also like for you to consider the requirement for all Members of Parliament, within a certain period of time of coming to office, to submit to Parliament a five-year plan for their respective constituencies, inclusive of programmes and projects to be undertaken during the term and to establish the office of the ombudsman – a watchdog of the government for the people.”

Mr. McCartney also suggested that there needs to be limitations of the powers of the prime minister.

“I also recommend reformation of the structure and operations of the public service so as to make it more efficient and effective for conducting business in The Bahamas for locals and foreigners alike,” he said

“I do wish you every success to you. The implementation of some if not all of the recommendations will be good for The Bahamas.”

Commission Chairman Sean McWeeney QC told reporters that so far the commission’s work has been “progressive.”

“We plan to interview the leader of the Opposition, [Dr. Hubert Minnis] and Prime Minister Perry Christie,” he said.

“We are also hoping to interview the former prime minister as we are certain that he can assist us with this process. From there, we will break into three separate groups and conduct similar meetings with various civic and religious group leaders.”

Mr. McWeeney said once that is done they will begin having town hall meetings with the public.
Back in August, Prime Minister Perry Christie announced that the 13-member commission had been given a broad mandate to build upon the “impressive work” that was done by the first Constitutional Commission, which was appointed on December 23, 2002 but later disbanded after May 2007.
“Complex questions relating to the retention and enforcement of capital punishment are expected to arise for consideration in this context as well,” he said at the time.
“The question of whether The Bahamas ought to remain a constitutional monarchy or evolve into a republic, albeit within the Commonwealth, is also expected to receive the close attention of the commission. Similarly, whether and, if so, to what extent the Caribbean Court of Justice – or perhaps even a final court of our own – should replace the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as the final Court of Appeal under our Constitution will be a question that the Constitutional Commission will likely have to consider as well.”
Prime Minister Christie said he anticipates that the new commission will pay particular attention to the need to strengthen the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, including the need to end gender-based discrimination against women consistent with United Nations conventions and more enlightened views that have developed globally since the attainment of The Bahamas’ independence.
“The commission’s inquiry into this particular matter will necessarily entail close examination not only of the anti-discrimination and fundamental rights provisions but also the citizenship provisions of the Constitution as well,” Prime Minister Christie said.
“Indeed there are other difficult citizenship-related questions that will no doubt exercise the Constitutional Commission as well.”
The prime minister added that the Constitutional Commission will bring the provisions of the Constitution that regulate the relationship between centres of state and the individual under renewed scrutiny.

Written by Jones Bahamas

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Watch JCN Channel 14 Shows

Jcn Channel 14

Sign in now to see your channels and recommendations!

Join Us on Facebook