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Govt funds for YES campaign is confirmed

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Sharon Wilson

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

SENATE President Sharon Wilson confirmed to The Tribune yesterday that the government is funding the YES Bahamas referendum campaign.

She was unable to say how much public funds are being provided, however.

Her statement will likely prompt those urging Bahamians to vote against at least one of the bills to amplify their requests for funds. Mrs Wilson is co-chair of YES Bahamas campaign.

The Save Our Bahamas Committee, led by a group of pastors, sent a letter to the Office of the Prime Minister on Monday requesting $100,000 to fund its “vote no” campaign.

Up to press time yesterday Lyall Bethel, pastor of Grace Community Church, said his group had not yet received a response to its request.

“The YES campaign is something which is being paid for by the government,” Mrs Wilson said when questioned by The Tribune. “The bills have passed through Parliament and it is the desire of the government to see them advanced. The campaign is run strictly to provide information and facts. It’s about getting out facts to dispel fears. That’s the bottom line and the government is funding that. As to whether or not the government will fund the campaign that goes against what Parliament has sought to advance, I really don’t know. It’s not my decision to make.”

Asked how much money the government provided, Mrs Wilson said she did not know at the time, adding that the funds will be spent responsibly nonetheless.

“I’m not in a position to say how much (is being spent),” she said. “It’s something which I do know that everybody is very mindful of financial constraints and the entire team is operating while very mindful of the need to be as conservative as possible, as is the case with any expenditure.”

Constitutional Commission chairman Sean McWeeney, QC, told The Tribune on Monday that for legal reasons both proponents of the “yes” vote and the “no” vote should have equal access to public funds to advance their ideas.

He cited legal precedents in Ireland and Australia to support his view.

FNM Deputy Leader Peter Turnquest agreed, though he told The Tribune on Tuesday that the government shouldn’t provide public funds at all except to allow the Constitutional Commission to educate Bahamians.

Comments

sheeprunner12 6 years, 5 months ago

Sharon Wilson should just take her dividends check from FOCOL to self-fund the campaign ........ what a frigging abuse of our Treasury for their selfish political games

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Well_mudda_take_sic 6 years, 5 months ago

McWeeney has known for quite sometime now about this wrongful use by the government of the people's money, but he nevertheless chose to remain tight lipped hoping the public at large would not catch whiff of it and rightly create a stir. These McWeeneys (both Sean & Paul) are about as detestable and odious as they come. Nothing Sharon Wilson, Rubie Nottage or Sean McWeeney has said about the intended effect and implications of the four proposed amendments to our constitution should be trusted, period!

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sheeprunner12 6 years, 5 months ago

Soooooo, we get the McSweeny Commission going all over the country with Rubie and Moxey "educating" Bahamians and now Wilson/Holowesko "propaganda blitzing" the country ........ what will this Referendum cost our Treasury in the end?????? ....... $4 or $5 million + election costs???? ........... but not a word about the final Budget allocation

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hallmark 6 years, 5 months ago

Why is there a need to expend our very limited resources for a YES Bahamas campaign, when the Constitutional Commission has been island hopping for the past year or more explaining the bills and trying to convince us of same? The only thing that all of this has convinced me bout is that the government is the biggest obstacle to gender equality.

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baclarke 6 years, 5 months ago

I'm not sure why this is a surprise, the government also funded the vote yes campaign during the last referendum correct? I can't fathom why people trust this government or continue to vote for them...

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John 6 years, 5 months ago

YES I voting NO!!!The simple reason being the intent of these bills is still unclear. If I vote "yes" I may never get to undo what I did. If I vote "NO", then they can always bring another referendum.

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TigerB 6 years, 5 months ago

I was paying close attention to this whole campaign. I noticed on both local news (NB12 & ZNS) that the Yes commercial seems to come on every minute during the news cast. It seems to be the most important item right now... but this was basically the same referendum that wasn't important ion 2002.. I am so confuse. If a car seat belt could have saved a life in 2002 and we vote against it, how is it that in 2016 the same seat belt that you rejected is so important now? Its crazy... may be some of you can explain!

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DEDDIE 6 years, 5 months ago

I guess the vote "no" pastors ain't as shallow as we thought. Some of us thought, they must have lost their mind to request funding from the government. Crap, now the Bahamian people have two horses to feed.

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John 6 years, 5 months ago

What may be the consequences for the Bahamas if the referendum is defeated? The United Kingdom has advised its citizens against traveling to Mississippi and North Carolina, two states in America that has restricted LGBT rights. North Carolina requires all persons to use bathrooms of the sex indicated on their birth certificates, regardless of what sexual alterations or deviations they may have had. Mississippi allows certain services to be denied to gay, lesbian, transexual or bisexuals by persons who feel that these lifestyles are against their religious beliefs..

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ThisIsOurs 6 years, 5 months ago

When are the freedom of information town halls to be held?

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Sickened 6 years, 5 months ago

You have no right to that information!!!!

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kairosmatt 6 years, 5 months ago

Great, this government can't do anything right.

Yes we need to pass this bill. Yes, yes, yes. Those pastors are power hungry idiots.

But no, don't spend more government money-its not appropriate. Have a referendum or don't. They don't abide by the results any ways.

Plus they don't know how much is being spent? They won't tell us? We're supposed to believe they're being 'mindful.'

You can't make this stuff up.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 6 years, 5 months ago

These proposed amendments to our constitution are much more about granting legal immigration status to thousands and thousands of foreigners rather than equal rights for men and women. The corrupt Christie-led PLP government has failed to deliver on its promise of jobs and many unemployed or under employed Bahamians would never be able to get decent paying jobs as a result of the great influx of foreigners that would occur if these amendments were made to our constitution. Our economy is simply too anemic to absorb legalizing the status of thousands and thousands of foreigners. Already there are just way too many Bahamians without decent paying jobs necessary to feed, clothe, educate and afford medical care for their children and other family members. I know I will be voting a resounding "NO!"

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licks2 6 years, 5 months ago

If this government continues to deny the vote no persons equal funding from the public purse. . .I, A PREVIOUS YES VOTER FOR ALL 4 BILLS WILL BE VOTING NO TO ALL 4 BILLS AS A PROTEST FOR DENYING EQUAL ACCESS TO THE PUBLIC PURSE FOR DECENTING VOICES AS AN "ATTACK" ON THE RIGHTS OF THOSE NO VOTERS!!

THEY HAVE JUST LOST MY SUPPORT FOR THEIR HIGH HANDEDNESS IN HOW THEY ARER DEALING WITH OUR CITIZENS. . .AND WHILE ASKING FOR THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS!

I ADVISE ALL BAHAMIAN TO VOTE NO TO ALL 4 BILLS AND ALLOW SOME OTHER GOVERNMENT TO "RE-DO" THE WHOLE PROCESS. THESE PEOPLE ARE JOKING AROUND. . .AND ARE TOO CORRUPT! THEY LOST MY YES VOTES TO EVERYTHING. . .I AM NOW A PROTEST VOTER. . .I JOIN ERRIN GREEN. . .GET IT RIGHT OR COUNT ME OUT. . .OR AGAINST "THEM"!

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realfreethinker 6 years, 5 months ago

I am having similar thoughts. I could see myself casting a protest vote,because of the way the gov is handling this. The same " process" they claim was the reason they voted yes then told their constituents to vote is the same " process I am having a problem with.

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viewersmatters 6 years, 5 months ago

Welcome to the Bahamas a home built for all nationalities, we the PLP are putting you people first. This is a promise that the PLP Government made and all they are doing is fulfilling their promises, giving all jobs the foreign PEOPLE, easy access to work permits to all foreign PEOPLE. We have delivered to you the PEOPLE of the Bahamas as we had promised."but PLP what about the Bahamian people." aww what about them they better go find a different home aint no room in here for them we are for the people and in our vocabulary Bahamians are out puppets not people we use them when we need them then fling them back in the bushes to stay hidden and voiceless until we call for them again.

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cmiller 6 years, 5 months ago

What? They dragged her out to speak on this like they think we like her any more than the rest of the damn PLP? And why didn't they give her ALL the information while they were at it???? Don't know how its going to be funded. Go back and find out before you come before our faces again, girl!!!!!!

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