Former AG: Referendum Might Face Legal Challenge

Wednesday 14th, November 2012 / 08:59 Published by

Former Attorney General Alfred Sears said yesterday Parliament must pass an amendment to the Constitutional Referendum Act or create a new law before the government goes ahead with its proposed web shop referendum next month.

Sears said otherwise the Christie administration could leave the December 3 vote open to a legal challenge. His statement came days after the Free National Movement (FNM) charged that the up- coming referendum is
illegal.

He also said it is time the government remove the discriminatory clause from the constitution which bans Bahamians from gambling in local casinos, a clause he feels is undemocratic.

Sears, who served as attorney general and minister of education in the previous Christie administration, said the poll does not fall in the parameters of a referendum as outlined in Section 2 of the Constitutional Referendum Act. That provision speaks to a referendum being held to alter the constitution or The Bahamas Independence Act.

“That referendum, if we can call it that, is simply what we call an advisory or consultative exercise,” Sears said. “It’s not a referendum as defined by the Constitutional Referendum Act.

“To achieve that limited purpose, my respectful opinion is that the government can amend the Constitutional Referendum Act or pass some other act which facilitates the holding of an advisory referendum. ”He spoke in an interview with The Nassau Guardian during which time he elaborated on statements he made yesterday while a guest on the Guardian Radio talk show ‘Darold Miller Live’.

While on the show, he said he is unaware of any law that allows the government to hold an “advisory referendum”, which is how he described the upcoming vote on web shop gaming.

By Taneka Thompson
Guardian Senior Reporter

For the entire article, click here.

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