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Marital Rape And Immigration Overhaul

From left, DeAndra Cartwright, foreign service officer within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Frank Davis, minister counsellor/deputy permanent representative & charge d’affaires; Bernadette Butler, minister counsellor; Senator Carl Bethel, attorney general; Jewel Major, chief counsel within the Office of the Attorney-General and Ministry of Legal Affairs; and Alicia Gibson, assistant counsel in the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs.

From left, DeAndra Cartwright, foreign service officer within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Frank Davis, minister counsellor/deputy permanent representative & charge d’affaires; Bernadette Butler, minister counsellor; Senator Carl Bethel, attorney general; Jewel Major, chief counsel within the Office of the Attorney-General and Ministry of Legal Affairs; and Alicia Gibson, assistant counsel in the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs.

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

ATTORNEY General Carl Bethel yesterday committed the country to major legislative benchmarks on the issue of marital rape and migrant rights as he defended the country’s performance on human rights obligations before the United Nations.

Mr Bethel revealed marital rape will be criminalised as “aggravated spousal sexual abuse,” and regulations have also been drafted for the welfare of detainees at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre (CRDC), during his national report in Geneva, Switzerland.

He also foreshadowed amendments to the Immigration Act, which appear to legislate the government’s new policy targeting persons who harbour or employ undocumented workers, revealing that changes will limit detention times for persons pending deportation and station a courtroom at the CRDC.

Both matters are hot-button issues locally, with debate over marital rape reignited following the condemnation of UN special rapporteur on violence against women, Dubravka Šimonović, and scores of detainees petitioning the courts over the lawfulness of their detention at the CRDC in recent months.

Mr Bethel told the international caucus the drafted amendment to the Sexual Offences Act for the new offence of spousal sexual abuse had already been circulated to religious leaders and civil society, and up to late Tuesday responses had been supportive.

It will stipulate that complaints must be made within one year following the cause of the complaint, he said, adding that such a complaint cannot be prosecuted without consent of the attorney general.

Mr Bethel said: “It should be noted that although the proposed offence is not labeled as ‘marital rape’ it still has all of the elements of the offence of rape. The draft bill follows the tenor of the pre-existing law which treats instances of marital rape where there are ongoing divorce proceedings, or a decree of judicial separation, or a separation agreement, as being offences of ‘spousal sexual abuse.’

He continued: “Marital rape in the context of a subsisting marriage will now be criminalised as aggravated spousal sexual abuse.”

As for the Carmichael Road Detention Centre, Mr Bethel acknowledged that conditions at the facility, while improving, were still not up to standard. He referred to the construction of additional buildings, and ongoing efforts to establish a full-time medical facility.

“The Bahamas is pleased to announce that the Immigration (Detention Centre) Regulations, 2018 has been drafted and human rights issues are enshrined in these regulations. The regulations clearly identify the welfare, privileges and duties of detainees, including, but not limited to, clothing, food, education and religion. The regulations also provide for the right of the detainees to outside communication which includes access to legal representation. “Once the regulations are approved they will be tabled in Parliament and thereby enacted into law.

“Amendments to the Immigration Act are being finalised,” Mr Bethel continued, “which will on the one hand increase penalties for persons who harbour or employ undocumented workers, but which, on the other hand, will also provide clear legal remedies to the undocumented migrant, by limiting the timeframes in which they may be administratively detained by an immigration officer pending deportation, requiring judicial oversight thereafter, and mandating that - upon any claim to some constitutional entitlement - the matter must be referred forthwith to a magistrate (planned to be stationed in a courtroom in the Detention Centre) who shall, if it is shown that there is a case which could be made, refer the matter to a Supreme Court judge.”

The Bahamas was one of 14 countries reviewed during UNHRC’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group session yesterday.

This will mark the third time in ten years the country will be examined by this organisation.

Comments

ohdrap4 9 months, 4 weeks ago

“which will on the one hand increase penalties for persons who harbour or employ undocumented worker

death penalty for those who hire an illegal gardener. no one will care because nobody will bee ever charged with it.

on the other hand, will also provide clear legal remedies to the undocumented migrant

house them at bahamar till their case is heard?

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bogart 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Here we go again on the maritial rape issue.

The female sex organ gets penetrated with out permission and there are two definitons and two different criminal penalties?

Which govt is the expert at the medical examination that certifies the act of the crime and by looking at the evidence tell whether the female organ is a married or unmarried organ???

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stillwaters 9 months, 4 weeks ago

First, what evidence will be required to prove marital rape? Second, courtroom and clinic at the center?????? Where the money coming from, since this government always saying how broke the counrt is? Third, Since election, how much VAT money has been collected and what is being done with it?

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bogart 9 months, 4 weeks ago

..........and while the drafting is going on will there be additional definitions from the govt experts to define what unwanted sex is and the punishment when this happens in a common law wife relations,....? an couple councelled in church to get married, ....an engaged couple....boyfriend/ girlfriend??? How will LGBTQ fit into this draft...what happens if an LGBTQ married American tourist reports it on their spouse in the Bahamas??.... Signed Messenger

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BahamaPundit 9 months, 4 weeks ago

This is just a feminist agenda to distabalize and neuter males. By invading the private institution of marriage with restrictions and laws, they show contempt for the sanctity of marriage and male leadership. If there must be a marital rape law, there should also be a law against female spouses repeatedly denying their husband's sexual needs and requests for sex. Marriage is a sexual institution. If you don't want ex, don't get married.

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Aegeaon 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Seriously? There are some visible elements of rape within a marriage, and you deny it? That's what some of these Christian Zealots are making lies while they have sweethearts and raping others, and even God predicted that marriage is without danger. So if we had a possible marital rape case and it turns out to be true. What can you do? Let that person continue to rape? Or turn him in to justice?

Patriarchy under mankind has led to human atrocities against females, especially back in Medieval Europe and the Middle East today. Women are blamed for sexual assaults while males remain immune from judgement. This act from Bahamian Conservatives is keeping us back from moving forward. Sure we don't need feminists messing things up, but when there's anything that blocks and the hand of justice from punishing criminals that use marriage to violate others.

Rape is rape. There's no feminist agenda, but there's an agenda by the Religious Zealots to keep women silent on these matters, so their money will always line their pockets.

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BahamaPundit 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Yes. I am completely serious Aegeaon. Why should the majority of respectful, married men have this law thrust in their faces. Should we now have our wives sign a consent form every time we have sex? Face it. If a man is that much of a primitive beast that he rapes his wife, he is likely not to be married in the first place. This law is only for the brutal few. We have been provided no statistics to show that marital rape is commonplace in The Bahamas. In fact, the majority of children are born out of wedlock in The Bahamas. Do you really want the government to pierce the veil of married sex life? Do you want big government all up in your private business? Of course, I am fully against abuse of women, but this law is crossing a line that I believe threatens trust within marriage between male and female. How about this. Let's ban marriage and make it illegal! I would rather that, because, with this new law, the women will have their husband's by the balls and all types of blackmail and extortion will likely ensue. Further, what is much more common is married women denying sex to their "nice guy" husbands and husbands being forced to abide sexless marriages. Where is the law to protect them? I am informed by a reputable Psychiatrist that many married Bahamian women only want sex once or twice a month, or even once or twice a year, and their Bahamian husbands are going crazy!!! Where is the law to protect these men? If women get a marriage rape law, men should receive a right to sex law. Quid pro quo. Something for something. Or are we just playing Animal Farm, and women are now more equal than men.

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Aegeaon 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Huh? You know what's else? I can't trust privacy in the hands of potential criminals who want to use marriage to violate others and get away with it because it's "private"? I may agree that this law should apply on both genders, but obstructing the law to punish potential criminals is just plain cruel. If marital rape is called, an investigation should be raised. This is just the religious zealots fear-mongering to keep us back. The Veil of Marriage can be kept and there's no need for a letter of consent, but when there's a large set of scumbags who are willing to abuse the secret cover under marriage, it proves that secrets can't be held on when there's others committing crimes with that advantage.

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themessenger 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Every time I think that the level of ignorance in this country can sink no lower my people always manage to surprise me..............

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TheMadHatter 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Stillwaters....you still trying to find out about where our VAT money gone? Man you must be like that one at the start of Roots who took a good whipping and kept refusing to accept his new name.

Yard niggers can't ask house niggers for nothin. We can only PAY VAT and keep quiet.

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stillwaters 9 months, 4 weeks ago

I know........but..........(sigh)

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hrysippus 9 months, 4 weeks ago

aggravated spousal sexual abuse, ................ . ............
Is gonna leave dem husbands with no dam excuse, .......... ............. ... To hurt or beat or rape their wife, . .............. ..... .. In the ongoing battle of spousal strife, ............... ........... ... Men might be strong, but women are smart, . ........ ... Got playing emotions down to an art, ........... ......... ............ Woman can run rings round a man, . ........... .... She say "do what I want and I'll do what I can,. ........ ... .... And if you're a man without money to spare, ........... ... ... .. You can't really expect to find a women to care, .......... .... ... It may be best for a man to live single on his own, .......... .. .. Safer and cheaper than building a home, ........ ... .... Because even though she says she love you now, .......... .... In eight years time she'll be wanting to row, ...... ...... As her looks fade away and she starts putting on weight, .......... ..... What was once thought to be love is now seen as hate. As a side effect the population will drop, ........ ... ...... And just maybe all these killings will stop.

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stillwaters 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Hrysippus, I think I need to go find a hobby. I find myself looking forward to your poems far too much................yep

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hrysippus 9 months, 4 weeks ago

definitely you need a hobby,... ..... or you work too much and become quite jobby.

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bogart 9 months, 4 weeks ago

So after all dis while someone saw the benefit of having a courthouse by the DetentionCentre but fails to see the benefit of a courthouse at Foxhill prison??.....which I believe the DNA had proposed before and would not waste valuable man hours of hundreds of nation building Bahamians breaking up and stopping their vehicles in gutters pavements as the police cars, vans, and bus transport prisoners to and from the courts downtown (wid tourists taking pictures)

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John 9 months, 4 weeks ago

@ Bogart....there is a camera system that allows for persons to give evidence or make pleas from the prison. But in the case of supreme court matters the accused are still required to make an appearance in court and be present for their trial.

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John 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Mr Bethel revealed marital rape will be criminalised as “aggravated spousal sexual abuse,”

When you watch what is going on in the US where everyone and his mama ( who has some status) is being accused of sexual abuse you can understand the agenda behind these laws. They will use your wife (or husband) to get you when they want to, Has the athletic doctor convicted of sexually assaulting over 150 young women been charged yet? The scary thing was when a psychologist testifying at the trial said in response to why many of these women allowed themselves to be molested over and over by this man. One woman said it happened to her over 150 times. The psychologist said, "(Young) women are like goldfish in an tank. You tap on the glass and they swim away, but they return a few seconds later, because they are curious.

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bogart 9 months, 4 weeks ago

@ John . Thanks for the info on Supreme Court. Perhaps along with moving Parliament offices as some MPs wanted there should be provisions to move the Supreme Court too. And perhaps the present buildings turned into museums or added attractions for tourists.

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LisaandPatti 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Marital Rape isn't reported most often, doesn't make it right. If it's physically taken against one's will it is rape, and should be punished just like any other rape. All rape's are hard to prove. Young ladies lie after they feel remorse for a decision made while drinking. A lot of reasons.

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DDK 9 months, 3 weeks ago

BIG entourage! The belt tightening continues!

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DEDDIE 9 months, 3 weeks ago

There are already laws on the book for men who assault their wives. To single out the act of sex is ridiculous. The wife's word against the husband's word. She said, he rape me. His defence, we had rough sex. How does the judge determine, who is truthful or not. The police can attest to the fact that hundreds of women on an annual basis even after an assault refuse to bring their significant other up on charges. The court system is clog, we don't need dumb laws that will further exasperate the situation.

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DEDDIE 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Also as an employer myself, I also think it is ridiculous to punish the employer for the government failings as it relates to illegal immigrants. What next, if you rent or allow an illegal immigrant to shop at your store. A law that put the ministers responsible for Immigration and National Security in jail for doing a poor job, that I will support.

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