Constitutional Referendum Deadline Extended

After taking into account the conservative nature of Bahamians in the face of change, the Constitutional Commission requested that Parliament honour their request for a deadline extension regarding the Commission’s report, which must be provided for Bahamians to consume and fully comprehend before the referendum is delivered to them publicly for a national decision.  PM Christie puts Bahamians first by allowing the country more time to understand what they are voting to change for their benefit.

“I am pleased to advise this Honourable House that I have acceded to the request of Constitutional Commission,” said Prime Minister Perry Christie.  He said further that the deadline for the Commission’s report has been extended to June 30, 2013 and that the Constitutional referendum planned for this 40th Anniversary of Independence, has been provisionally re-scheduled for late November, 2013.

“These extensions will both encourage and facilitate the widest possible dialogue – and public education – on constitutional reform well in advance of any voting in a referendum.  It should be noted, Mr. Speaker, that this weekend past, the Commission launched its own hall-style public consultations with four separate meetings in Grand Bahama.  These consultations will extend throughout the Family Islands and New Providence in the coming months.  Concurrently with that, the Commission will be continuing to interview persons representing a broad cross-section of interests in our country.”

The Prime Minister said it should be noted that the Commission’s website is now fully operational and that as a result, members of the public can communicate directly with the Commission by email, in addition to being able to access copies of the Constitution and a wide range of relevant constitutional materials that have been uploaded to the Commission’s website.

“I am pleased to further advise that the public can also communicate with the Commission at its office in the Fort Nassau Centre, which is in the British Colonial Hilton’s commercial complex, or by calling the Commission’s office at 356-7050 or 356-7051; or by writing the Commission at P.O. Box N-7050,” said PM Christie.

“Finally, Mr. Speaker, allow me to take this opportunity to publicly recognise the great work that has been performed to date by the Constitutional Commission, all of whose members, are giving generously of their time without any remuneration.  They are nonetheless doing so gladly, at great personal sacrifice, in a spirit of patriotic volunteerism that is worthy of emulation.”

PM Christie said that this is an extremely important undertaking, one that is vital to the orderly growth and development of our constitutional democracy, and the rights and freedoms we hold so dear.  he also said that he would go further and suggest that the process of constitutional reform is vital to the growth and development of our civilisation as a sovereign people.

“I take great heart and encouragement from the excellent work that has been done already, and I have every confidence – as I am sure all honourable members do – that we are definitely on the right track with the process of constitutional reform that is now vigorously underway,” said Mr. Christie.

Prior to the announcement of the extension, the Prime Minister read the letter Chairman Mc Sweeney wrote to request the extension that would benefit the Bahamian people with the constitutional education they deserve to understand.

By Gena Gibbs
Bahamas Information Services