Budget not yet finalised for ‘yes’ campaign


Tribune Chief Reporter


THE budget for the government’s YES Bahamas referendum campaign has not yet been finalised, according to former Senate President Lynn Holowesko.

Mrs Holowesko, campaign co-chair, said that the costs to run the campaign were still being calculated even though marketing for the crusade has already begun.

Save Our Bahamas committee member Pastor Lyall Bethel yesterday called on the government to reveal how much money has been allocated to fund the YES Bahamas campaign.

The pastor of Grace Community Church, said that he trusted the campaigns co-chairs, Senate President Sharon Wilson and Mrs Holowesko, would be fair with the use of government funds, but emphasised that his group must be given the same parity.

“Not only is the onus on them to say how much was given,” Pastor Bethel said, “but to make sure the vote no campaign gets the same amount of money.

“It’s our tax dollars, you can’t use my tax dollars to give the other person a voice and because you don’t like my message penalise me with my own tax dollars.”

Mr Bethel said the Constitutional Commission education campaign had morphed into propaganda as it was now only providing information on one side.

The gender equality referendum will be held on June 7.

Two religious groups have launched campaigns against some of the bills in the past week. Save Our Bahamas - the group that opposed the 2013 gambling referendum - launched a vote no campaign against the fourth Constitutional Amendment Bill. Bishop Walter Hanchell of Great Commission Church has also formed a group, Citizens for Justice, which opposes both the fourth and second bills.

Pastor Bethel explained that a coalition would have to be formed to allow legitimate “vote no” campaigns to access public funds.

Several church leaders also made public declarations in support of a “yes” vote, including Bishop Neil Ellis of Global United Fellowship of Churches, Bishop Laish Boyd of the Anglican Diocese and Archbishop Patrick Pinder of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese.

Yesterday, Mrs Holowesko pointed out that this was a “huge plus” for the YES Bahamas campaign.

She said: “Any negativity is a challenge but what I have observed is the overwhelmingly majority of persons I’ve talked to personally are planning to support it. The shepherds of the leading faith organisations have all endorsed it.

“That was a huge plus for the campaign,” she said.


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