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Minnis: Don't use FNM as a scapegoat over referndum

FNM leader Hubert Minnis

FNM leader Hubert Minnis

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

FOLLOWING statements from top government officials that the constitutional referendum would not be held if there is not unanimous support for it, FNM leader Dr Hubert Minnis said yesterday that the Christie administration must not “to use the FNM” as a scapegoat.

National Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage told reporters last Friday that “the prime minister has always said that we would not go to a referendum without agreement between the parties concerned.” 

It is unclear to which parties Dr Nottage is referring, especially as the FNM has publicly thrown its support behind amending the Constitution to grant equal rights to men and women.

Dr Minnis said: “The FNM’s position has always been that we believe and support equality for men and women. There’s no difference between my mother and father and brother and sister. Don’t try to use us. Don’t suggest anything on us. We will continue to fight for equality.”

During a separate interview, FNM Deputy Chairman Dr Duane Sands added that Dr Nottage’s statements leaves him concerned about the Christie administration’s commitment to its proposed constitutional referendum, adding that the damage “a failed” referendum would have on Bahamians would be irreparable.

“It’s a very interesting comment (that Dr Nottage made) and it must give one pause as to the level of commitment of the government to do the necessary heavy lifting to get this very important remaining challenge in our Constitution sorted out,” Dr Sands said. “We’re one of 27 countries in the world that still has discrimination against women enshrined. We have the dubious distinction of being aligned with many countries that have adopted Sharia law, countries in the Middle East and Africa. Given the fact that we are now 41 years old and we still maintain constitutional discrimination, it seems as if this would be an important issue to rectify.”

He added: “I think that the government has demonstrated that their historical bias has been to put principle behind expedience, to put politics above people. They have demonstrated with the last referendum that it is not as sacred an exercise as it ought to be and so when I hear this type of rhetoric it suffices to me that yet again, this is less about doing the right thing and more about trying to create a positive narrative of a government that is certainly struggling with its credibility. If we don’t right this wrong now, it would be a shame and a disgrace but there’s a part of me that says unless the government is fully invested in doing whatever it takes to get its job done then let’s not make it difficult for somebody more serious to get it done next time. If they mess it up, the Bahamian people’s approach to referendums will be irreparably damaged.”

Dr Sands also joined a growing chorus of people who want the language of proposed questions in the anticipated referendum to be made simpler.

“I don’t think the language is absolutely clear,” he said. “I have attended a number of symposiums and meetings about the four bills and questions, and as expected, what is written on paper is not so simple because of the implications and consequence of these various changes as it relates to reality of life in the Bahamas.

“The choice of the questions and how they are worded, are even for lawyers, even for constitutional scholars subject to interpretation. Just like with the last non-constitutional referendum, there is a level of ambiguity in the questions. If this is going to pass, then when we put a question to the people, let’s do our best to make it unambiguous, clear and simple.”

Comments

sheeprunner12 8 years ago

I agree with HAM on this one............ BJ done looking for a spin when this fail. Blame Perry and the PLP "spin doctors"

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GrassRoot 8 years ago

Thank you. PLP does not want the referendum, that is clear, but don't have the balls to call it off, probably bcz the BSD 1.4 Mio for holding the referendum are already distributed to the cronies.

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TalRussell 8 years ago

My fellow Comrades can't wait for this constitutional comedy show between the PM and Minnis to be released on DVD.

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SP 8 years ago

.................................................BREAKING NEWS....................................................................

Hubert Minnis allowed himself to be used as an IDIOT ... >>>>> ...AGAIN.

It is much too late at this stage of the game for Minnis to try distancing himself from Christie and the PLP on this one.

The country had reached a fever pitch crescendo on the illegal Haitian migration problem, and Christie knew the Haitian President was on his way to the Bahamas.

Prime Minister Christie didn't want to be embarrassed and had to change the popular negative topic of discussion on the Haitian problem before the Haitian President arrived.

Christie reached deep into his war chest and dusted off the failed FNM referendum and threw it on the table.

Dumb ass Dr. Minnis and every talk show in the country took the bait hook, line and sinker.

Checkmate!

Christie achieved his goal and Minnis is left looking like the IDIOT he has proven to be so many times over!

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