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First town meeting held for Bahamas Constitutional Commission
By Stirling Strachan, BIS
Apr 24, 2013 - 5:36:06 PM

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Bahamians crowded Bahamas Faith Ministries' Diplomat Centre April 22 for the first town meting of the Constitutional Commission. (BIS Photos / Kristaan Ingraham)

NASSAU, The Bahamas -- The Constitutional Commission held the first of a number of town meetings slated for New Providence on Monday, April 22 at the Diplomat Centre, Bahamas Faith Ministries.

The Town meeting afforded members of the public the opportunity to make comments, give suggestions and ask questions and have them answered as best as they could on personal issues or public issues. Some expected questions included retention and enforcement of capital punishment? should there be a fixed general election date? should there be term limits for Prime Ministers and Members of Parliament? And should the Senate be retained or become an elected body?

The Constitutional Commission has been given a broad mandate and will pay particular attention to the need to strengthen the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, including the need to end gender-bias discrimination against women consistent with United Nations Conventions, and more enlightened views that have developed globally since the attainment of Independence.

The Commission’s inquiry into this particular matter will necessarily entail close examination of not only the anti-discrimination and fundamental rights provisions, but of the citizenship provisions of the constitution.

Similarly, the constitution will bring under renewed scrutiny, the provisions of the constitution that regulate the relationship between centres of state, power and the individual. This will be done to afford individuals greater protection against the abuses of power while at the same time assuring that the collective security needs of the citizenry as a whole are not unduly compromised by the pursuit of individual liberty in a democratic society.

Chairman of the commission Mr. Sean McWeeny said the commission is not a PLP thing, not a DNA thing and not a FNM thing. “Members of the commission are motivated by love for country and are unpaid.”

The commission is expected to report its recommendations to the government on or before June 30, 2013.

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