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Ag Hits Back At Un Presentation Criticism

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Attorney General Carl Bethel.

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

ATTORNEY General Carl Bethel yesterday denied criticisms of his presentation at the United Nations last week, characterizing backlash as “knee-jerk commentary” to erroneous news reporting and commentary.

Mr Bethel challenged accusations that he did not inform the Bahamian people before unveiling government policy to the international caucus in Geneva last Wednesday.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said in a press statement on Friday.

He continued: “It is therefore deeply distressing to see my words apparently deliberately distorted, contorted and twisted out of all recognition.

“I therefore urge all Bahamians to actually read the words in the Report that I gave to the UN, rather than to be driven by the excesses and errors depicted in Social Media and, most of all, to avoid knee-jerk commentary.”

In Geneva, Mr Bethel 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.

He said a bill had been drafted that would effectively criminalize marital rape as “aggravated spousal sexual abuse,” adding regulations have also been drafted for the welfare of detainees at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre (CRDC).

He also spoke of amendments to the Bahamas Nationality Act, and 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.

Earlier this month, Mr Bethel told The Tribune an amendment to the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Act had been drafted in response to widespread calls from the public for the Minnis administration to criminalise marital rape.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis also announced his administration's plans to amend the Bahamas Nationality Act last November, in addition to plans to create an independent commission to approve applications for citizenship.

However, while matters have been foreshadowed previously, Mr Bethel's report to the UN provided far greater detail and strongly affirmed the government's position.

In Friday’s statement, Mr Bethel continued: “In each case mentioned in my remarks at the UN UPR in Geneva I was careful to state that these initiatives were “draft” Bills, “proposed” laws or “being finalized”.

“Where I spoke about the Independent Committee on Citizenship applications, I mentioned the fact that the government “plans to introduce” a Review Committee chaired by a retired Chief Justice.”

Mr Bethel said: “All of these statements are facts; facts that I have spoken to the Bahamian people about, through the news media, on a number of occasions, and before going to defend my country’s Human Rights record in Geneva.

“Each of these items were mentioned specifically to show the ongoing seriousness with which the government was either addressing previous commitments made to improve Human Rights, or grappling with the means to effect social progress, protect the vulnerable and take The Bahamas to a better place for the benefit of all Bahamians.

Mr Bethel said news accounts and commentary following his report has made it clear that there is a significant misunderstanding concerning the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process on Human Rights.

He continued: “The Bahamas has been a member of the United Nations since Independence, and every five years is called upon, along with every other member State, to report on what it has done to live up to the commitments that it made five years previously to address international concerns about Human Rights, which it has previously committed to undertake at the previous UPR held five years before.

Mr Bethel said: “Each country is obliged to show the extent to which it has lived up to its commitments or what they are in the process of doing to live up to commitments made, and also whether or not it will seek to address other concerns of the international community, which it has not yet committed to address.”

Comments

TalRussell 4 months, 1 week ago

Ma Comrade Bradda AG Carl Wilshire, this is what usually can happen when you twists the natives around likes a pretzel.

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John 4 months ago

Any time you have to sneak legislation thru the back door, it is not in the best interest of the Bahamian people.

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SP 4 months ago

Why are we "regularizing" people that entered the country illegally regardless of when, and why in GOD'S name are we giving citizenships to people that have proven to have absolutely no allegiance to our country?

This is insanity!

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Aegeaon 4 months ago

If they're trying to survive, they will do whatever is legal to make their dream work. They pledge allegiance to this country, and if they didn't, none of them would be here.

The Great Wall of China fell because of protectionism, now we may face the same fate as well.

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bogart 4 months ago

They are trying to survive and will do whatever is also illegal. This is not entirely their choosing as the hovt is complicit in facilitating this for decades. For instance in apprehending and deporting persons one will read the report ie 27 men and 10 women. Guess what there a re no children. Hospitals, clinics, school datas ie what is the status of the parents of the children brought to the schools to register the kids are not followed up and investigations done in securing our Sovereign nation and the authorities is moreso guilty for the state of affairs. Forensic investigations need to be carried out in Immigration and all allegations of persons buying papers and getting straight put to rest. Amazing no fraudulent cases have ever been reported it seems in the past 45 years or since independrnce!!! Amazing all the cars flying Foreign flags all over Nassau whichn is illegal and noone ever caught and charged. Noome it seems ever caught and charged hiring illegals etcetc.

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TheMadHatter 4 months ago

Bogart, an illegal thing done by an illegal becomes legal under the rule "Two wrongs make a right." LOL

The article says " ...adding regulations have also been drafted for the welfare of detainees at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre (CRDC)."

So in other words, foreigners will get welfare and decent treatment at CRDC but BAHAMIANS at Fox Hill Dept of Colonerections will continue to get what they get.

Darn spellcheck !!!

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TalRussell 4 months ago

Regardless of what says Ma Comrade Bradda AG Carl Wilshire, it is his own red shirts supporters who feels they have no voice with the Imperials they elected to House of Assembly on May 10, 2017... and guess what.... they didn't even cared enough to want knows this same Carl Wilshire, back on May 10, 2017.... in fact, thousands constituents rejected Carl Wilshire, the last three attempts he tried make it into the House of Assembly.That speaks lots, right?

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charl 4 months ago

What about humane rights for males. Marital rape will be criminalized. Go look and see what is called rape. Then think about how that can be used as a weapon in a marriage. In cases of abuse the gov should work more quickly to arrange divorces. Marital rape law does not stop marital rape. After the first good beat down all unwanted sex could be considered rape. Evil people will still get away with it.

The Bahamas is a young nation with a population of around 370,000 people. I do not see how we can maintain our Identity and dominance of our lands without guarding our borders. We see through pyramid schemes, fake evangelist and other situations, that Bahamians are vulnerable. We need not fool ourselves into believing that we have to take on the world unnecessarily. We have been given our immigration laws for a reason. We should use them fairly but not carelessly. We should always remember that we are on equal par with the mighty american dollar.

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licks2 4 months ago

This is one bunch of backward nonsense talking around here. . .I guess they are right when they say: "if ya want hide anything from Bahamians. . .put it in a book or some other type of documentation where they have to go read and find it"! There are 25 UN accords that the Bahamas is signatory to. . .5 have already been ratified. . . non of these were signatored in the last 20 years or so. . .this nation is legally bound to follow through to those accords. . .this government is just not playing the fool any more like them other governments. . .WE ARE BOUND BY INTERNATIONAL LAW TO CONFORM TO THOSE ACCORDS OR BE "PUNISHED" FOR NON-COMPLIANCE. So don't tell me we independent. . .the rest of the world een independent too aye? They are complying! WELCOME TO THE NEW WORLD ORDER CONCHS. . .THIS THE WORLD OF THE MILLENNIALS. . .STUPIDITY WAS FROWNED UPON A FEW YEARS AGO UNDER PLP & FNM GOVERNMENTS DUMB NINNIES. . .THEY ARE LAUGHING NO MORE. . .

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