Categorized | National News

Stem Cell Bill Passed

Despite the morning showdown in the House of Assembly which led to Opposition members leaving the chamber, the controversial Stem Cell Therapy and Research Bill was passed late Wednesday evening.

Prime Minister Perry Christie highlighted the successes that he believes this bill will bring to The Bahamas particularly as it relates to medical students and medical professionals.

Mr. Christie noted that already leading stem cell therapy experts from the University of Miami are interested in partnering with the government and he added that this will present tremendous opportunities for Bahamians.

“Beyond my wildest expectation they offered to partner with The Bahamas and ensure that we have a regime in here that will be second to none,” the prime minister said.

“They said that to date, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved practices that they are investigating seven diseases using stem cell therapy at the University of Miami and they are prepared to come to The Bahamas not only to ensure that our regulatory regime is put in place – not only to ensure that we have the therapeutic and research practices and modality in place to examine what is taking place but to assist The Bahamas and Bahamian professionals.”

The Christie administration’s push for stem cell therapy has come under a cloud of criticism and skepticism from the Opposition which has repeatedly alleged that the bill being brought to Parliament is the government’s payback to Fashion Mogul Peter Nygard, whom the Free National Movement (FNM) alleges is a financial backer of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP).

But Mr. Christie sought to put those claims to bed and for the first time at length; the prime minister addressed the government’s relationship with Peter Nygard, a billionaire Lyford Cay resident.

While Mr. Christie never denied that Mr. Nygard made financial contributions to the PLP; he insisted that if he did, it was in full accordance with the law.

“There are many in the hierarchy of the FNM who have also received contributions,” Mr. Christie said.

Furthermore, the prime minister said that neither minister nor politician could single-handedly push for this bill to be brought before Parliament because there are strict guidelines written into the law that dictate how the process is carried out.

In addition to the benefits stem cell therapy will have for medical professionals, the government also believes that the country will see added benefits that this research and therapy will have through medical tourism.

The prime minister said it is estimated that by 2016 stem cell therapy will be an eight billion dollar industry.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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