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Fnm ‘Ignoring Public’S Wishes’

Bishop Delton Fernander, President of the Christian Council. Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff

Bishop Delton Fernander, President of the Christian Council. Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

THE Minnis administration is “planning to go against the wishes of the people” with its citizenship agenda, Bahamas Christian Council President Bishop Delton Fernander said yesterday.

His comments came as he criticised the government’s plan to amend the Bahamas Nationality Act to give children of unwed Bahamian fathers and Bahamian women living abroad automatic rights to citizenship upon application.

“We have to be careful with tampering with democracy,” Bishop Fernander said when contacted by The Tribune.

“This is the second government that once in power and elected has been willing to go against referendums. I await to see the amendments brought to the House of Assembly but it is the second statement where they are planning to go against the wishes of the people, vis-a-vis the deputy prime minister and minister of tourism saying they [are considering] a national lottery and now to reverse the outcome of the referendum where they are going against the expressed will of the people in the referendum.”

Bishop Fernander suggested while he doesn’t disagree with expanding the list of people entitled to automatic citizenship rights, the larger principle is that Bahamians declared their position on this issue in last year’s referendum and their votes should be respected.

The Minnis administration’s plans touch on two issues which were addressed in last year’s referendum.

The first of four questions involved changing the Constitution to give married Bahamian women the same right their male counterparts have to confer citizenship to children regardless of the country in which the children are born. On that question, 32,249 people voted ‘yes’ to the question and 51,022 people voted ‘no.’

The third question involved changing the Constitution to give an unwed Bahamian father the same right that a Bahamian woman has to pass citizenship to a child born in or out of wedlock. On this issue, 28,246 people voted yes but 54,890 people voted no. Some observers believe the results of last year’s referendum were the response of a country angry with the Christie administration and determined to defeat its agenda to send that administration a message. Some also believe many Bahamians, sidetracked by concerns about opening the door to homosexual marriage – which the Christie administration said were unwarranted - voted against all the bills to ensure only heterosexuals could get married. 

These are not reasons for an administration to now go against the referendum results, Bishop Fernander said.

“I think it cannot be proven to be the case yay or nay why people voted the way they did unless we had an exit poll to see the feelings of people when they exited. If it was an [anti-PLP vote], still, it was carried out legally and the results should be abided by.”

In its last term, the Christie administration regularised web shops even though this question, as well as the one asking if a national lottery should be created, were rejected by voters in a 2013 vote on gambling.

Comments

baldbeardedbahamian 1 week, 6 days ago

Bishop delton is sounding off about defending democracy but who democratically voted for him to become a bishop or to join the so called Christian council. If the religious churchmen want to get involved in politics then their privileged tax free status must be revoked. Let them pay import duty on their stuff like the rest of us, let them pay business license taxes like any other business and lastly let the Price control commission set the amount of money they can charge the grieving survivors to bury their loved ones. Self-serving hypocrites probably exist in some political circles but the same may be true for religious circles.

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thephoenix562 1 week, 6 days ago

There was a time when the majority agreed with slavery too.

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bogart 1 week, 6 days ago

...hmmmmm. tampering with democracy, thank goodness Martin Luther King tampered with Democracy at that time, thank goodness Sir Etienne tampered with democracy, thank the suffergettes too. On the unwed women, well doesnt every church now will accept the offerings and gifts from the mother of those same babies good enough to be new citizens of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for the Kingdom of Heaven at Holy Baptism.....

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licks2 1 week, 6 days ago

My my my. . .the good Bishop even don't understand what is being done. . .it appears that he was handed a script to read. . .without finding out what the heck he is going against!! Read his declarations. . .they are changing the Immigration act. . .not trying to entrench a rule into the constitution were no other government can come behind and remove the changes!! The referendum was not to change laws in the constitution. . .it wanted to entrench those changes into the constitution. . .THAT'S WHAT NEEDED A REFERENDUM IN PUT INTO THE CONSTITUTION! The changes they will do could be changed later by another government. . .THERE IS NO NEED FOR A REFERENDUM EXERCISE TO DO THIS!! This man just need to stop pushing the PLP agenda and like Dame Sawyer said to do. . .stick with ya calling from GOD and leave the PLP to their own dead antics!

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TigerB 1 week, 6 days ago

I did hear him when Perry them made gambling referendum into law. This one makes more sense to ditch the the gaming one. The country was split by it, the gaming one was a resounding no. maybe the Bishop is a PLP bishop

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Reality_Check 1 week, 6 days ago

Carl Bethel had better keep one very fundamental thing straight that wandering mind of his that is all too often prone to mischief and deceit. It is the people of the Bahamas, i.e. we Bahamian citizens, who get to determine directly for themselves who is eligible to be a Bahamian citizen. Our elected officials are only able to determine by statute and regulations the terms, conditions and procedures by which constitutionally eligible individuals are to be conferred Bahamian citizenship. This difference here may be subtle and difficult for many to understand, but it is nevertheless a vitally important difference. Put another way, it was always intended that the right and privilege to determine citizenship eligibility should rest directly with the Bahamian people, i.e. be reserved directly unto ourselves through our Constitution, as opposed to being reserved indirectly by us through our elected officials. There are somethings we simply and rightly do not ever want to trust or empower our elected officials to do - the determination of who is eligible to be a Bahamian is at the very top of that list!

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DDK 1 week, 6 days ago

You may be right .............. You and Mudda must have attended the same school!

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ohdrap4 1 week, 6 days ago

i think they live in the same house too, and thus share a computer.

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Reality_Check 1 week, 5 days ago

How presumptuous of you to assume I do not have my very own computer! I'm deeply offended ;-) There are somethings one should not share unless absolutely necessary to do so. Next you will be saying Mudda owns my house. Now that would really tee me off!

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DDK 1 week, 6 days ago

Why does The Tribune keep contacting this person for comments? If he wishes to be a politician perhaps he should put aside his clerical collar and run for government office. (On the other hand, perhaps I should be careful what I wish for!)

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BahamasForBahamians 1 week, 5 days ago

Should they contact you? All of your comments seem to less than intelligent so they try to call people that actually possess a brain in their skulls.

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DDK 1 week, 5 days ago

Thank you kindly. I can assure you that I have a brain which has no time for the vitriolic likes of you.

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birdiestrachan 1 week, 6 days ago

The Bishop is right the people voted no. Now the FNM comes behind the no vote and makes it a yes. This is what they used against the PLP.

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sheeprunner12 1 week, 6 days ago

When you compare the Christian Council and Parliament ........ that is pot calling kettle black!!!!!

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Economist 1 week, 6 days ago

What the new law does is a Christian act. Can't say the same for the so called Christian Council.

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Maynergy 1 week, 6 days ago

Where was this religious zealot during the last go round? He must be viewed with much suspicion and dread. What would Jesus do is the question?
When the man touched his garment Jesus asked who touched me? And then said what do you want me to do for you? The man was healed and revived immediately. These now a days religious pious people do forget so quickly. The Bahamas is in need of truth tellers for the people to change.

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TalRussell 1 week, 6 days ago

Comrades! I wonder how Bishop Delton, does feel about corporal punishment still being administrated as a sentence by the courts to be carried out at Fox Hill Prison, that orders the whipping of the male or female with a whip made of nine, knotted cords? And, is corporal punishment administrated against children in the home by they parent/guardian - okay with the Bishop? What about at schools?

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jamaicaproud 1 week, 6 days ago

Mr Bishop, baby Jesus sought refuge in Egypt thru his earthly Father, Joseph. The same Egypt, the children of Israel escaped from through the Red Sea.

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MonkeeDoo 1 week, 6 days ago

What does the Bishop think about the gambling referendum. Cat got his tongue ?

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John 1 week, 6 days ago

Minnis needs to sit down and think and rethink his steps carefully. Very carefully. There are now drugs that can alter ones DNA. There are many vultures who not only want to share in the sovereign wealth of the Bahamas but they want to deny it to indigenous Bahamians. Florida is basically fully developed. China is overpopulated. All eyes on Bahamas. Or as Tall would say, ‘All eyebrows on Bahamaland.’

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ohdrap4 1 week, 6 days ago

I nominate you to head the citizenship commission.

will not approve a single one, but hey, same difference.

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BahamasForBahamians 1 week, 5 days ago

The bishop is right.

FNM's can piss off if they disagree.

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sealice 1 week, 5 days ago

Ignore the public's wishes? 1st the former administration were the party to ignore not (1) but (2) waste of time and money referendums. It's beyond me how these christian thieves create their own association and just because they throw the word Christian in there think they can see out of the box (bible) and are worldy ... This group is well in part guilty of the social and economic situation in our country and why Bahamians would rather sit around with the hands out begging then work hard in school - work hard after school - get a real job and get a real life....

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