Categorized | National News

PAV Debate Forges Ahead Despite Objection

Women’s Rights Groups Oppose Protection Against Violence Bill


Journal Staff Writer

Although several women’s rights organizations voiced their opposition to the Protection Against Violence (PAV) Bill 2023, parliamentarians forged ahead with debate on the bill in the House of Assembly on Thursday.

Various women’s rights groups inclusive of Women United, Women of Strength Association, Everyone Counts Organization, BUYDC, Marion Bethel-Sears and Therese Turner-Jones in a statement, on Wednesday, noted that this bill is not the bill that they worked on for more than a decade; as the bill they worked and consented on was the Gender-Based Violence Bill, which they claim is now being replaced by the PAV Bill.

“This bill was replaced at the last minute with the Protection Against Violence Bill. The new bill does not contain key provisions that would further help protect women and girls from violence. These provisions were in the Gender-Based Violence Bill,” the statement said.

“We call on the government to suspend debate on this bill and to present to Parliament the Gender-Based Violence Bill that so many Bahamian women worked hard on over the many years.”

Despite this call, Prime Minister Philip Davis, led off the debate in the House of Assembly on Thursday and questioned why the advocates waited until the eve of the debate to voice their concerns.

“A disturbing intervention was made to me this morning, where six women’s groups have indicated their opposition to this bill and it seem to be rooted in the fact, from all accounts, on nomenclature because it was mooted and discussions were held on a bill to be called Gender Based Violence Bill and we are now debating a bill that is called Protection Against Violence Bill,” Prime Minister Davis said.

“The reason why I say it’s disturbing, Mr. Deputy Speaker, this bill before it was laid in the house on the 24th of May this year, we are now in July, going almost in August, and prior to that laying of the bill wide discussions were held amongst the women’s group and in the community after it was laid.

“It may not be perfect, but in the very least, if you had concerns, why wait on the day or the eve we are debating the bill to raise those concerns; that is troubling when the bill was here in Parliament. And if just the kind of interest that is now being expressed was there, I would have expected to [have] heard from the group before now.”

Opposition Leader and Member of Parliament for Marco City Michael Pintard, on a point of order, noted that interventions were made by the women’s organizations and specially spoke to comments made by Opposition Senator Michella Barnette-Ellis in a local daily.

“I can read for you where, in fact, interventions were made…there are several comments on the public record. Those persons, Social Services being one of them, should have been in a position to draw to the attention of the caucus that there were concerns out there,” Mr. Pintard quoted.

“The article is date Thursday, June 29, 2023 and it reads, ‘SENATOR Michela Barnett-Ellis claimed the Davis administration’s Protection Against Violence Bill is less comprehensive than a previously drafted Gender-Based Violence Bill.

“‘She did not say what had been removed from the bill’, but here’s the quote, ‘For reasons unexplained, this administration has shelved the Gender-Based Violence Bill and tabled a new bill to address the issue of domestic violence,’ she said during her contribution to the 2023/24 budget debate.’”

Nevertheless, Prime Minister Davis said his administration is putting in place a legal framework that represents important first steps to protect Bahamians from violence and abuse.

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