Prime Minister Perry Christie announced in the House of Assembly that the first in what is expected to be a series of constitutional referenda during this term will take place no later than June 2014.
The referendum was originally planned for next month, but Christie admitted that date was not practical at this time.
The prime minister said the referendum will address giving women equal rights as men under the constitution.
He said that legislation will be introduced in the House before the end of the year; passed in both houses of Parliament no later than February 2014, and put to a public poll no later than June.
Christie said the legislation will seek to render gender neutral the terms regarding Bahamians’ ability to transfer citizenship and ban discrimination based on sex.
To that end, he said, the government will be implementing recommendations 9, 10, 11, 16, 24 and 25 of the McWeeney Commission’s report on constitutional change that was made public in July.
The last constitutional referendum, which was held in 2002, failed at the polls after getting bi-partisan support in Parliament.
Christie said he believes the issues in the referendum planned for next year have the best chance of getting widespread public support.
By: Juan McCartney