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Fnm Call For Patience On Referendum

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FNM Chairman Sidney Collie's resignation becomes effective on October 19.

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

FREE National Movement Chairman Sidney Collie yesterday requested “patience” as the new administration looks to advance on plans to hold a referendum on several legislative moves, including term limits for the prime minister, as well as the establishment of an independent Electoral Commission and Constituencies Commission.

Stressing the “groundwork” that will have to go into drafting related legislation and public education, Mr Collie, who is a member of the party’s transition team, said the FNM must ensure that “everything is in order” prior to going to the public for an official vote.

Meanwhile, a well-placed source in the FNM indicated that a referendum would likely not take place for at least two years.

The Minnis administration on Wednesday laid out its plans for its next five years of governance, insisting that it will seek the “consent of the electorate in a referendum, constitute an independent Electoral Commission and Boundaries Commission, introduce term limits for prime ministers and introduce a system of recall for non-performing members of Parliament.”

In its Speech from The Throne, which was read by Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling, the FNM indicated that it would look to create an Office of Ombudsman to provide a direct source of relief, where people have legitimate grievances due to the actions or inactions of government or any agency of the government.

Following the presentation Wednesday, Attorney General Carl Bethel told members of the press that it would be difficult for the administration to predict a timeframe for a vote due to the large amount of constitutional and fiscal matters it had to deal with prior to any potential referendum.

Contacted Thursday for clarification on the FNM’s plans, Mr Collie doubled-down on that suggestion, insisting that several agendas would have to be “identified, organised and submitted” before the government could even turn its attention to any potential referendum.

“A referendum, any plans associated with that is going to come way down the road,” he stated.

“Constitutionally, there are a number of things that we have to do before we get to that point. I know there is a lot of focus on a referendum and what it could mean, but the process will take some time to get it right and we are going to need patience and focus on all sides.”

According to Mr Collie, the party plans to analyse all legislation associated with the potential amendments.

He said the FNM will not “tread” into any amendments without proper consultation and public education.

“I will preach for time, because that is what it is going to take. Ordinary bills take time, when you are talking about amending the Constitution or going to a referendum, that takes even more time.”

“The public has to be educated on the issues and they must have an understanding and connection to what is being asked of them. It cannot feel like a battle of wills, moreso, it should come down to a feeling of need. We want to consult. We want to draft good legislation. We want to educate the country and get a serious level of feedback before we go to the public.”

The former Christie administration held two unsuccessful referenda in its last term: a constitutional one on gender equality and an “opinion poll” on the regulation of the web shop industry and the establishment of a national lottery.

Both of these votes were soundly rejected by the electorate, however voter turnout was low.

In 2002, the Ingraham administration also held a constitutional referendum that was overwhelmingly rejected. That administration lost the 2002 general election that was held months later.

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 11 months ago

No Mr. Collie! It's time for Dr. Minnis to do what's right by the Bahamian people. After all, it's now the people's time! And we, the Bahamian people, would much prefer a highly prioritized national referendum on the wholesale repeal of all of the web shop related gaming legislation that was enacted under the corrupt Christie-led PLP government against our wishes as expressed in a previously duly held national referendum (paid for by our tax dollars), the outcome of which was wrongfully (illegally) ignored. And we want you to know Mr. Minnis that we curiously observed Sebas Bastian grinning from ear-to-ear while seated at the main swearing-in ceremony for your cabinet ministers at Government House. Make no mistake about it Mr. Minnis, we, the Bahamian people, want all of the web shop gaming operators shutdown at the earliest possible time and a National Lottery established for the sole designated purpose of assisting with the urgent funding needs of our seriously under resourced public education system.

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birdiestrachan 1 year, 11 months ago

the people who voted FNM want Vat repealed, the web shops closed and the Chinese out of the Bahamas. and Sarkis Izmirilian hotels returned to him. they say it is his dream and he should have the property. The people in Pinders point want BORCO closed or the Government should relocate them into new homes at a different location. these are some of the reasons the people voted FNM

The FNM will do well to get busy and do these things

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TalRussell 1 year, 11 months ago

Comrades! Come next week the red regime will be announcing they tooks back the red party's prosperity message to the voters. That all that 2017 campaign the promise about only under a red regime can you as a people ever get see prosperity - is shaping up be too damn hard to deal with ........ so during this 5-year mandate - the 35 red MP's, be done with anything related to prosperity.
Now they tell the voters the bad news but only after Kelly Island came begging for some more the island's acres for their exclusive domain.

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banker 1 year, 11 months ago

On Your Mark ...

Get Set ...

Go F$*&! Yourself.

Your party called. They want you to come to the boardroom for a meeting:

http://tribune242.com/users/photos/20...">http://thetribune.media.clients.ellin..." alt="None">

by banker

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 11 months ago

If the FNM is serious about reform of the broken Constitution ......... we need a Referendum by November

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Publius 1 year, 11 months ago

Again, why is a political party chairman speaking to these issues and not the Prime Minister? Collie is not a member of the government and he certainly is not head of the Cabinet. Is this Bradley Roberts 2.0?

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Socrates 1 year, 11 months ago

Term limits for PM is an interesting one.. we don't vote for PMs, we vote for parties. So if a party wins and wants the same guy to lead however many times, are we now under our system of government, going to say you can't lead anymore because you already had 'x' years? Our system doesn't work that way, so this is one to watch. I think all these referenda are a waste of taxpayer money. just like the many Commission of Inquiries we've had over time, a lot of money paid, and at the end of the day, nothing changes..

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 11 months ago

We have only ever had one Royal Commission of Inquiry - the one that was held in the late 1980's as a result of L. O. Pindling and officials within his government (including certain cabinet ministers) allowing drug lords in Colombia to traffic cocaine and other illegal substances through the Bahamas to the U.S. Pindling, K. Nottage, G. Smith and other corrupt government officials like them virtually ruined the international reputation of our country back then for their own unjust financial self-gain.

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Baha10 1 year, 11 months ago

Unless this Referendum happens NOW, it will be bound to fail, as all others have, as "The People" want the FOCUS to be on Crime, the Economy and Education (in that order), and "The People" will use "any" Referendum as a Report Card to grade performance, irrespective of topic! Surely "every" Politician gets this by now?!?

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 11 months ago

Minnis and this new FNM government will not get my support in the form of a vote favorable to them on any referendum that comes before one on the repeal of all web shop gaming related legislation enacted by the last government and the established of a national lottery to help fund the dire needs of our public education system.

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 11 months ago

Maybe you have a horse in the race (one of the 8 webshop houses) ..... But this webshop business will not help our communities ...... They exploit but give back next to nothing ..... A national lottery will assist everyone

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Baha10 1 year, 11 months ago

Agreed, no need for Referendum, simply repeal the Law, certainly got a Super Majority to do so! Indeed, could be the first piece of Business to get the Economy back on a normal footing.

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truetruebahamian 1 year, 11 months ago

One of the first things on the agenda for this government should be to close down the numbers and gaming establishments and/or transform them into Bahamian lottery outlets.

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TalRussell 1 year, 11 months ago

Comrades! Who are the real power faces Red Shirts? Is Tommy T about to replace Red Party Chairman Sidney Collie?
Is it possible Long Islanders have again gone elected another done grown uneasy with their party leader, MP?
How long before Long Island's Adrian, crosses the House floor - and will his walk just be the first to sit as an Independent MP - or will his pending walk just be the first of the rumoured crossings of the House floor? Is there in the political air the making of a new opposition party in play but this time with actual House seats in play?

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