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No new date for equality bills to be tabled in Parliament

Dr Bernard Nottage

Dr Bernard Nottage

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

NATIONAL Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage yesterday said he could not forecast when the constitutional bills for a referendum on gender equality will be passed in the House of Assembly.

While he confirmed that the questions will be tabled before the House of Assembly’s summer recess, Dr Nottage said he did not know when the break will take place given the scope of outstanding matters.

Dr Nottage, the minister responsible for elections and referenda, said that the bills were still at the committee stage.

The anticipated constitutional referendum on gender equality was postponed last month to an unspecified date in 2015.

At that time, Dr Nottage said the Christie administration decided to delay the referendum after considering recommendations from the Constitutional Commission, which advised that additional time was vital to the success of its public education campaign.

Constitutional Commission Chairman Sean McWeeney last week recommended that the referendum be held at the end of April or at the latest in June.

He said the commission believes that timeframe will give the government an opportunity to “correct any misinformation” that may be floating around in the public.

Prime Minister Perry Christie had initially set the constitutional referendum for June 2013, but later changed the date to November 2013. He later said the constitutional bills would be brought to Parliament before the end of 2013 and passed in February 2014.

However, the prime minister later said the referendum would take place before the end of June 2014. 

That deadline was not met and in July, Mr Christie announced the vote would take place in November.

As he announced the fourth postponement in the House of Assembly, Dr Nottage said the delay should not be viewed as an attempt by the government to compromise on its commitment to enshrining gender equality in the Constitution, but rather as an effort to appease those requesting more time to consider the relevant issues.

Following the postponement, FNM Deputy Leader Loretta Butler-Turner said the government had only itself to blame because the entire process was mishandled.

She explained that there were too many other hard-hitting issues in the public domain, such as value added tax and regulating web shops, that competed with the referendum.

Comments

B_I_D___ 9 years, 6 months ago

Ahhh...all you PLP ladies can be proud of your government...they screwed it up with your help back when the FNM tried to do it, now they are screwing it up for you this time...but that's OK...you keep goin' with your yella subservient second class citizens in your own country selves.

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