BAHAMAS CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION
OUR JOB HAS BEEN AND STILL I TO EDUCATE THE PUBLIC Chairman of the Constitutional Commission QC Sean McWeeney says that more direct engagement between the 'Yes Vote' and 'No Vote' campaigns would be helpful to the electorate in debate on the four constitutional amendment bills "One would havethoughtthattherewould have been more engagement between the 'Yes Vote' and 'No Vote' forces so that perhaps out of that interaction the public would see more clearly the differences and been able to decide for themselves which side is making more sense I think that hasn't happened to date. The 'No' forces have certainly been more vocal but hopefully as time goes on you will see more direct engagement between the two sides. That kind of debate would be helpful to the electorate. In the meantime we are going to continue with our educational campaign," says Mr McWeeney. He notes that the Commission's Public Education Committee will continue its education campaign with a 'packed' schedule between now and june 7, the day of the referendum. "I think we are pleased with the pace at which the Constitutional Commission has been proceeding. There has been virtually complete coverage of the family i slands. There has been complete coverage even to the smallest islands, in some cases the Commission has been to some islands twice. We think that anyone who was interested in learning what the bills were about would have had ample opportunity to do so in the family islands and certainly here in New Providence where we have a website which is accessible to the public. The Commission has been speaking to all manner of service clubs, churches and social organisations throughout New Providence and Grand Bahama. We are very happy about that." "Everything is proceeding according to plan from the Constitutional Commission's standpoint. We have maintained and continued to maintain a position of complete neutrality on the referendum issues We are aware of course that the Yes Campaign is now in full stride as is the No Campaign. Those are two completely separate undertakings Our job has always been and still is to educate the public, the electorate, as best as we can in terms of explaining what the bills are about what 2 they seek to achieve and at the same time to explain what they are not about," states Mr McWeeney. Mr McWeeney says that he has been 'disappointed' in the response from the legal profession with regards to the referendum bills "I'm disappointed that there has not been the kind of clarity and cohesive thought and rational discourse that I would have expected from the legal profession I think there has been a lot of static out there, a lot of uninformed talk about what the bills are about and what they are not about. I think that is what is confusing the public." Mr McWeeney says that it is 'unfortunate' that the Commission's Public Education Committee has had to spend so much time and energy explaining that what bill number four is not. Under the proposed change to the constitution, it would be unlawful to discriminate based on sex, which will be defined as 'being male or female'. "If there is one unfortunate aspect of this whole exercise it is that certainly in relation to bill number four we have had to expend an extraordinary amount of energy in explaining what the bill number is not about. It is not about sex marriage. Bill numberfourto a large extent has been hijacked by those who are contending that it is about same sex marriage or that it is going to open the door for same sex marriage w hich it certainly will not. In fact, there is a compelling argument to be made that by voting no to bill number four you are actually making it easier for the couits to open the door to same sex marriage because if the No Vote advocates are correct a liberal court could try to give operative effect to Article 15 in which the word sex already appears. Article 15 of the constitution declares the principle of equality under the law and that everyone is entitled to equal protection under the law. In that Article which has been there from the beginning it mentions all of the grounds that presently appear in Article 26, race, place of origin, creed and so on. The one world which doesn't appear in Article 26, which is the whole objective of bill number four is to introduce the word sex in Article 26 the same way it has always appeared in Article 15."
Mr McWeeney adds: "The only reason it i s being done is because the courts have consistently decided that Article 15 is just a preamble, it does not actually confer any enforceable rights so that if someone claims to have been discriminated against they would not be able to actually go to court based on Article 15, they would only be able to go to court on Article 26 which is the section that does give the enforceable rights." "In the event there is discrimination based on sex there will be an enforceable right that one would have to go to court and get justice in the matter. The important point being overlooked by many people is that sex is going to be defined as male or female, that the definition concerns over bill number four. "I can understand if someone has a problem with a particular bill and can't find his or her way to support it but I think it would be quite wrong and unprincipled for someone to allow his or her concern about a particular bill to contaminate the entire referendum process," says Mr McWeeney. He adds however: "I do appreciate that there are some political dynamics that are at work here, that there are some people who are still ticked off at what the Progre:;sive Liberal Party did when in Opposition in 2002 and some people may feel that it's payback time. There are some people who frankly, while they have perhaps voiced a disagreement with bill number four, deep down they have a problem ... !think it would be quite wrong and unprincipled for someone to allow his or her concern about a particular bill to contaminate the entire referendum process" which is an integral part of bill number four. If you pass bill number four you are going to have a definition of sex which limits it to male or female whereas if you don't have bill four you are still left with the word sex as being undefined in Article 15. The argument i s that this could possibly invite a libertarian court to interpret that as perhaps giving some right to sex marriage," says Mr McWeeney. He says however that he does not feel that is a sound argument. "Bill number four is not about same sex marriage it i s only about ensuring that women cannot be discriminated against because they are with all four bills anyway because they don't fundamentally accept the principle of equality between the sexes. I think a lot of men are embar rassed to admit publically or to their wives and children that they have a problem with equality of the sexes so they run and hide behind things like same sex marriage as an excuse for not supporting the bills. I know for a fact are a lot of men in this country who do not believe that men and women are equal and should not be treated equally before the law. Hopefully it's a dwindling minority but that's still a very vocal viewpoint." women and ensuring that men can't be discriminated against simply As to what will likely happen if the referendum succeeds Mr McWeeney because they are men, that's the long and short of it. It's unfortunate states: "If the referendum succeeds, I have every expectation that the that these other threads of dialogue and discussions have found their bills that have been passed will become law at the earliest opportunity .. way into it." There really is no preparatory work to be done for the bills to com. e into force although it is a matter for the government. If on the other hand Mr McWeeney argues that it would be quite wrong and 'unprincipled' the bills fail, I would think it would be back to square one really. It's for for voters to vote no to all four bills simply on the basis of having the executive to decide what they do next, whether they have another 3
shot a t it which I think i s unlikel y or they move t o t h e next round of constitutional bills o r just put everythin g o n hold. I would think that because we are just about to enter into a general election cycle it's unlikel y that we see any more movement on the constitutional reform agenda items until after election. If the bills succeed the Bahamas would come fully in line with what most civilized countries around the world have been doing. In fact it's mainly the Islamic countries who are still out of step. If the referendum is defeated Mr McWeeney sai d i t would be a disappointment to the international community, with The Bahamas marking itself as one of the very few countries that continues to have this constitutional inequality between men and women engrained i n its constitution. "There are very few country that have that. On the other hand it's a democracy and it's the Bahamian people who are the bosses and not the politicians when it comes to these matters. If they decide that that is what they want then that is what it will be. No government here or abroad can do anything to change that reality. It would also mean that The Bahamas would probably be in breach of some of its treaty obligations because it is a signatory to various United Nations conventions which committed the Bahamas to achieving full equality between men and women. It's a manageable problem but then again it doesn't reflect well on the country to sign onto treaties and not be able to back it up." According to Mr McWeeney, a point that has been lost in the referendum discussion is that this first round of constitutional reform being limited to what is being referred to as gender equality was not something initiated by the Constitutional Commission. "We had in fact recommended a number of other subjects as well. This was a joint decision of the government and the Opposition. If truth be told it was really the Opposition that insisted that if they wanted bipartisan support this first round would have to be limited to gender equality. There is absolutely no question about that," says Mr McWeeney. 4 .Ministry of National Security Parliamentary Registration Department PUBLIC NOTICE Assignment of symbols for the constitutional referendum questions on 7 june 2016 In accordance with Section 51 of the Constitutional Regulations 2016, the Parliamentary Commissioner has assigned the following symbols to be used in association with the four questions: Question No. Symbol Yes No Signed: Sherlyn W. Hall Parliamentary Commissioner 17 May 2016
I t I THE PUBLIC EDUCATION PROCESS Co-Chair of the Public Education Committee of the Constitutional Commission retired justice Rubie Nottage says that while public distrust over the june 7 Constitutional Referendum has. been quite evident, she i s confident that the Commission's message has resonated with voters. "I have tremendous faith in the basic honesty of Bahamian men and women In their heart they want what is right. There is something innately sensitive in each person I have talked to Yes, they have heard all the t hings being debated in public but they wanted to hear the real talk, the facts The ones who have heard the facts they are immovable and they are smiling right now." "We are an innately wise people. We are not pushovers That is why I have confidence that the Bahamian at his heart knows what is right. There are people still in a state of flux but the core group of Bahamians I have spoken to are convinced already," says Mrs Nottage. She along with other members of Public Education Committee have been travelling across the country since 2014 seeking to educate Bahamians on the four constitutional bills to be voted on in the upcoming referendum. As of this week, the Education Committee has held more than 200 public and private meetings across the country since it began its campaign in August 2014 and 100 meetings since February of this year alone. The Constitutional Commission chaired by QC Sean McWeeney was convened in 2012 to conduct a comprehensive review of the Consti tution of The Bahamas and to. recommend changes to it. The Commis sion's report contained some 73 recommendations with respect to changes or considerations that should be made to the Constitution and was tabled in Parliament in July 2014 The four referendum questions as they would appear on the ballot are as follows: Question #1 Do you approve of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2014? Under this proposed change to the Constitution, a child born outside The Bahamas 5 would, after the coming into operation of this amendment, become a Bahamian citizen at birth if either its mother or father is a citizen ofThe Bahamas by birth. Question #2 Do you approve of the Constitution (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, 2016? Under this proposed change to the Const i tution, the foreign spouse of a Bahamian citizen would, after com i ng into operation of this article, be entitled to apply for and obtain cit i zenship subject to satisfying: exi sting nat i onal security or public policy considerations; and new provisions guarding against marriages of convenience Question #3 Do you approve of the Constitution (Amendment) (No 3) Bill, 2016? Under this proposed change to the Const i tution, a Bahamian father of a person born out of wedlock, after the coming into operation of this amendment, would be able to pass his citizenship to that child subject to legal proof that he is the father. Question #4 Do you approve of the Constitution (Amendment) (No. 4) Bill, 2016? Under this proposed change to the Constitution, it would be unlawful to dis criminate based on "sex", which will be defined as "being male or female" "It was decided that these four bills should be the bills to be voted on. While not the exact wording they had come up with in their essence in the 2002 referendum, at which time they were called the gender equality Bills. In their presentation in 2014 there were in fact three bills that concerned citizenship and one bill that concerned the removal of discrimination on the basis of sex in Article 26. They are sti ll referred to by many people as the gender equality Bills and I think that has an overall application but it may not be accurate in that it is. a little bit wider than that," says Mrs Nottage. "We have always said equal treatment under the law ... equal rights [
under the law. That has been the way the Public Education committee keep it small because messaging was important. If you have 10 teams has gone after it because the three citizenship bills are looked at in the teaching the same thing and not everyone is teaching it in the same way, context of giving equal rights to male and female citizens and then you people could become confused. I think we have taken the message out go to bill four which seeks to give equal rights for the future against and done a very good job. We have been diligent, done it with integrity discrimination," says Mrs Nottage. and for all intents and purposes been persistent. I'm still a bit daunted by what I see as confusion in New Providence but I believe that the "We saw the interest increase significantly where there were people from all levels of society who wanted to know what the bills were about and were keen to discuss it." "We got very frequent criticisms ... what's this all about...it is just women ... is this just about women's equality. We got very sensitive about that because there are parts of the bills that don't just deal with women. We were happy to have three young men who took time to be a part of the educational team." The Educational Campaign According to Mrs Nottage, throughout the Committee's educational campaign it has received great interest in the family islands. "We found the family islands very receptive and the people who attended were always key decision makers in the community. In discussions like this the church was definitely there, the core small churches. They were keenly interested in what was happening," says Mrs Nottage. She continued: "In New Providence our approach was a bit different. We were aware that we didn't have administrators and you can't just force yourself on a meeting or a church so we would write various churches and tell them that whenever possible if they were having a meeting we would like to attend. Usually we ended up going to their conferences. Nassau is a lot more dense in population so the core people we started to talk to were usually the NGOs and clubs." "There could be criticism that as a team we were too small of a group. The public education team was about eight people. We decided to 6 people who have seen and heard us still hold the essence of these bills in their hearts." Mrs Nottage noted that public interest in the four Constitutional amend ments intensified after the bills were passed in the House of Assembly in early March of this year. "We saw the interest increase significantly where there were people from all levels of society who wanted to know what the bills were about and were keen to discuss it. That changed the dynamic in Nassau and to some extent the islands because many of them have not attended our sessions. Their only avenue to education had been the talk shows. The talk shows and their responses I think have been one of the unfortunate avenues for learning about the bills because much of what is said in the Bills must be seen in a visual way. It's difficult to explain legal amendments especially if you are not a legal person. I think the last three months have been an intense period for us as we sought to get visually and verbally to the people who didn't have the earlier opportunity to learn about the bills," said Mrs Nottage, noting that a reoccurring criticism has been the limited educational effort with regard to the 2002 referendum. Mrs Nottage, who has spent 14 years teaching law at the College of The Bahamas, acknowledges that many persons have been challenged by the legal language of the four bills, although she says that this has presented "an opportunity and a challenge.
"The approach had to be very patient, well-meaning and loving," says Mrs Nottage. "People are challenged by the legal language but there is also a positive aspect there. People want to know about the bills and therefore they are going to insist that you give it to them in a way they will understand. The positive thing is that now we have Bahamians engaging with the constitution in a very meaningful way they never would have done." Mrs Nottage states. Distrust Mrs Nottage says that public distrust has been evident through the course of the Committee's educational campaign for a number of reasons. "That issue of distrust is a very evident one and it comes up for a multitude of reasons. It came up because either myself or my co-chair, Theresa Moxey-Ingraham may have been seen in a political light or in an elitist light. We had people who said these bills are only for elite women who go away and marry foreign men and it didn't relate to the ordinary person. I found that to be one of the major issues. With respect to the previous referendum on gaming, we found that as we went out that there was tremendous distrust because the people had voted in the gaming referendum. I had nothing to do with the referendum and Theresa did," says Mrs Nottage. She adds: "When you as the messenger are being judged that doesn't always help the message. If they don't trust you then they feel there is another agenda behind the message and that has been a very strong feeling that I sometimes get and it disappoints me very much especially on bill number four. We had thought that the objective of bill number four would have been easy to see, being that it gives men and women equal rights under the constitution. All democratic countries have seen it that way." "The political distrust was there, the religious distrust was there. People were telling us that we are going against the Bible and their traditions. them citizenship. I turned it on them and said no, we are looking at the children who have been ignored and pushed aside as illegitimate. Thei r fathers have to now be responsible and that's a shift." "There are some people who object to bill number three because they see it as an immoral bill. That is the one that allows the unmarried father the right to give his child born out of wedlock Bahamian citizenship. That is something the constitution at this stage does not allow. It is seeking to mend some fences. Children should always be able to share their citizenship of their father and mother. To deny that is not to my mind even acting in a Christian way. The problem is too many of us want to have our cake and eat it to. There is a double standard, where things like that are kept quiet and not spoken about. A child born to an unwed woman, especially where that woman is not a Bahamian takes the citizenship of its mother. Married men are now being challenged on whether they will recognize the child they had outside of marriage with a foreign woman. That's a deep moral question for that man and his family. This is shaking the foundations of our Bahamian family and that is why some people are feeling distrustful of bill number three," says Mrs Nottage. She adds: "When this amendment comes through it legally binds the government and I have shown people the law on that. That then helps to mitigate the distrust because they see themselves as part of the legal process where the constitution is regarding them as important and the government is being legally demanded to listen to them. It takes an awakening to cause the distrust to be put to one side when the issue is as huge as these bills are. Sometimes we say to them if you do distrust the government take that up when the election comes around, this is a referendum that is dealing with issues that concern all of us as citizens and it will affect your future sons and daughters. We had some pastors who said they were only upset with bill number three because of the immorality but others said they didn't like bills number one and To many of the church groups, we were seeking to disrupt the traditional number two." Bahamian society and allowing unmarried men to be proud of their fornication by bringing their children born out of wedlock and giving While there has been intense controversy over bill number four and 7
the fear that it would effectively open the door for same sex marriage in the country, Mrs Nottage said she does not believe it has derailed the Committee's educational campaign. "I would agree that it has certainly been very powerful. I would agree that it has attempted to hijack the referendum. I don't think it has and I think the results will prove us right. I think any such fear factor is always an attempt at doing what is not right and it is bound to fail. The result will prove it right or wrong. There has been a very visible attempt to highjack bill number four by switching the conversation from the essential request for equal rights under the law to a whole question which is totally off the table and irrelevant to it, same sex unions and sexuality.' "Once the sex word started to get thrown around it had a certain power of fear. It wasn't like throwing a word like citizenship around. That doesn't give people fear as much as sex. In a small community there is always a fear factor which, when it is fanned, everybody goes to the wall. I find it interesting that few people have come out and spoken openly on this sex fear factor. No one, psychologists, psychiatrists or doctors, has come out and spoken to the fact that what has happened is a psychological reaction to a very intimate knowledge of each of us, of our own sexuality. The sexuality card is an interesting one to play for whatever reason it has been played," Mrs Nottage states. Mrs Nottage stresses, however, that it is important that the voters get to know the facts about the four bills. "Get to know the facts and then you can deal with your fears. If your fears are still real then you can have the basis on which to say I am still not satisfied. Other than that you are driving away the knowledge and replacing it with a fear that paralyses you. One vote is going to make a difference in whether a change is made. Some people really don't feel that men and women should be equal whether from a biblical standpoint, their personal upbringing or their own history of treatment in their family. They are happy with that and I'm not saying I'm challenging that. We have very traditional homes in The Bahamas and I have found that the more you travel through the family islands you find out how solidly traditional they are. I grew up in a very traditional home.'' 8
T GALLERY 9
T THE CONSTITUT COMMISSION The Constitutional Commission was appointed in August 2012 to conduct a 'comprehensive' review of the Constitution of The Bahamas, and to recommend changes to the nation's Constitution which would ultimately require a national referendum. Former Attorney General Sean McWeeney QC was appointed Chairman of the Commission, and was given the mandate to build upon work done by the Adderley-Tynes Commission, the first Constitutional Review Commission appointed (2002 2007). Other members ofthe Commission included Mr Loren Klein, Chief Counsel in the Chambers of the Attorney-General, who also served as the technical coordinator of the Commission's Secretariat and acted in a similar capacity to the first; former Attorney-General and former Minister of Education Carl Bethel; retired Justice Rubie Nottage, Associate Professor in law at the College ofThe Bahamas; Mr Mark Wilson, a long serving retired Permanent Secretary and educator; Mr Lester Mortimer a lawyer and partner at Cal lenders and Co who also served on the Adderley-Tynes Commission; Mrs Tara Cooper-Burnside, a lawyer and partner at Higgs & johnson who also served on the Adderley Tynes Commission; Dr Olivia Saunders, a professor at the College of The Bahamas; Mr Michael Albury, a community leader and hotelier; Ms Chandra Sands, a businesswoman and entrepreneur from Eleuthera; Mr Michael Stevenson, a law professor at the College of The Bahamas; Mrs Carla Brown-Roker, a retired teacher from Grand Bahama; and the Commission' youngest member Miss Brandace Duncanson, a Legal Draftsperson in the Law Reform. The McWeeney Commission was tasked with examining issues related to the strengthening of the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, with a particular focus on citizenship provisions; a review of the provisions relating to the distribution of state power versus civil liberties and individual rights; whether The Bahamas should evolve from a Constitutional monarchy into a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations; questions relating to the retention and enforcement of capital punishment; matters relating to the Judiciary, including whether the Privy Council should remain the final appellate court; the composition of both Houses of Parliament, and accountability of political representatives. 10 There was also a specific mandate to consider questions relating to our political system, which were as follows: Whether there ought to be constitutionally fixed dates for general elections; Whether there ought to be fixed term limits for Prime Ministers and MPs; Whether the electorate should be vested with limited rights to recall their MPs; Whether the Senate, being an appointed body, should be consti tuted differently to encapsulate a broader cross-section of national interests; Whether eligibility for service in the Senate should be lowered from 30 to 21, the same age that applies to the House of Assembly; Whether the unqualified right to free speech enjoyed by legislators needs to be modified so as to give the individual citizen either a limited right of reply to defamatory attacks against him in Parliament, or a right to seek redress against the offending legislator in a court of law; and Whether the constitutional power and authority over criminal prosecutions now vested in the Attorney General should be trans ferred instead to a constitutionally independent Director of Public Prosecution with security of tenure. The Commission's work entailed wide consultation with Bahamians from throughout the country and abroad, both in interviews and town hall meetings which were held throughout the country. Presentations were to the Commission by framers of the Constitution; current and former Chief justices; the President of the Court of Appeal; the leaders of the FNM and DNA, and the Attorney-General on behalf of the Government; leaders of major trade unions; representatives from COB US and the Eugene Dupuch Law School and other youth representatives; the former Parliamentary Commissioner; Chief Clerk of the House of Assembly; a wide cross section of religious leaders, leading constitutional lawyers; environmentalists; representatives of the disabled; representatives of the Haitian community; representatives from international bodies, such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); the local representative of the LGBT community. In addition the Commission received and considered numerous written submissions from persons representing a wide cross-section of the Bahamian community.
FREOUENTL ..._ ASKED QUESTIONS ..._ General Will the Government be able to overturn the results of the referendum? No. Unlike the gaming referendum, the upcoming june 7 2016 referendum is a Constitutional Referendum. The results determined by a simple majority votewill be legally binding on the Government. The people's vote will be the final word. If any of the Bills fail, can the changes be made by ordinary legislation? No. The Constitution is the "supreme" law of The Bahamas. It cannot be changed by ordinary legislation. If any other law is inconsistent with the Constitution, the Constitution prevails. Depending on the extent of the inconsistency of the law with the Constitution, it could be rendered void. What is meant by "equal rights"? As citizens we all share the same responsibilities, like paying taxes. As citizens we should all therefore share the same rights. Equal rights means that men and women are to be treated the same under the constitution and laws. Don't Bahamian women already enjoy the same rights as Bahamian men? Not all of the same rights. These proposed constitutional amendments will permit Bahamian women to pass on citizenship to their children and to their spouses in the same way that Bahamian men are already permitted to do; and will also prevent discrimination of women or men in future laws of The Bahamas. There are four Bills. Will voters be expected to provide just one "Yes" or "No" vote for all of the Bills as a group or will voters be required to vote for each Bill individually? Voters will be required to vote for each Bill individually Bill No.1 If a majority Yes vote is achieved, will Bills Nos. 1 and 3 be retroactive, entitling children born before the Bills become law, to citizenship. No. If passed, these Bills will not apply retroactively. They will become law at some time after the referendum. However the Bahamas Nationality Act 11 gives the Minister responsible, discretion to register the minor children of Bahamians, as citizens of The Bahamas; avoiding injustice to children born prior to enactment of the relevant Bills. Bill No.2 Will the right to Bahamian citizenship be an automatic right to foreign spouses upon their marriage to Bahamians? No. The right to Bahamian citizenship is not automatic. The screening process is rigorous, including in-depth interviews of parties in the marriage and inspections, to ensure that the marriage is indeed an authentic one. The process can take at least ten years. Moreover, a 2015 amendment to the Immigration Act, makes participation in a fraudulent marriage a criminal act, punishable by fines and imprisonment. Bill No.3 Bill No. 3 provides that fathers must show legal proof of their paternity. What does this mean? That the unmarried father need only provide a sworn statement or affidavit of some kind that says he is the father of the child in question? No. The standard of proof will be that paternity is established through DNA evidence Bill No.4 Will Bill No.4 open the door for same-sex marriage in The Bahamas? No. The sole purpose of Bill No.4, is to prohibit the enactment of future laws that discriminate against men or women. To ensure that men and women enjoy the same rights as citizens. In this Bill, "sex" has been purposefully defined as "being male or female" to ensure that it cannot be interpreted to mean sexual orientation. Moreover, under Bahamian law, as provided in the Matrimonial Causes Act, marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman. Same sex marriage is illegal in The Bahamas. Since the Constitution is the "supreme" law over other laws, is it possible for Bill No. 4 to be used to overrule existing law that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman? No. The Matrimonial Causes Act expressly provides, that in order to be legal, a marriage m.ust be between a man and a woman. Nothing in Bill No. 4 changes this law. The word "sex" may mean male or female, but what if a person changes his or her gender? "Sex" in Bill No. 4 is defined as "being male or female". This means male or female as established at birth. This is evidenced by what is stated on an individual's birth certificate. -
CONSTITUTION AMENDMENT BILLS. Current Article 8 A person outside The Bahamas after 9th july, 1973 shall become a citizen of The Bahamas at the date of his birth if at that date his father is a citizen of The Bahamas otherwise than by virtue of this Article or Article 3(2) of this Constitution. "Equal Rights Under the Law" Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2014 Articles 8 & 9 Proposed Amendment 8(1) A person born outside The Bahamas after the coming into operation of this paragraph shall become a citizen at the date of his birth if at that date his father or mother is a citizen of The Bahamas otherwise than by virtue of this Article or Article 3(2) or Article 1 0 of the Constitution. 8(2) Paragraph (2) shall not affect the right of any person who was entitled to citizenship of The Bahamas by vir tue of any provision of this Constitution in force before the coming into operation of this Article. Article 9 repealed .Do you approve of The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2014? Under this proposed change to the Constitution, a child born outside of The Bahamas would, after the coming into operation of this amendment, become a Bahamian citizen, at birth, if either its mother or father is a citizen of The Bahamas by birth. YesO NoD 12
CONSTITUTION AMENDMENT BILLS Current Article 10 Any woman who, after 9th July, 1973, marries a person who is or becomes a citizen of The Bahamas, shall be entitled, provided she is still so married, upon making application in such manner as may be prescribed and upon taking the oath of allegiance or such declaration as may be prescribed, to be registered as a citizen of The Bahamas. Provided that the right to be registered as a citizen of The Bahamas under this Article shall be subject to such exceptions or qualifications as may be prescribed in the interests of national security or public policy. + "Equal Rights Under the Law" Constitution (Amendment) (No.2) Bill, 2016 Article 10 Proposed Amendment A man or woman who, after the coming into operation of this Article, marries a person who is or becomes a citizen of The Bahamas, shall be entitled, provided he or she is still so married, upon making application in such manner as may be prescribed and upon taking the oath of allegiance or such declaration as may be prescribed, to be registered as a citizen of The Bahamas: Provided that the right to be registered as a citizen of The Bahamas under this Article shall be subject to such exceptions or qualifications as may be prescribed in the interests of national security or public policy or as set out in paragraph (2) of this Article. (2) A person may be denied registration under this Article if: (a) there is satisfactory evidence that: (i) the marriage no longer subsists; (ii) the marriage was entered into for the purpose of enabling that person to acquire citizenship of The Bahamas; or (iii) the parties to the marriage have no intention of perma nently cohabiting with each other as spouses, after marriage; (b) the person has been convicted in any country of a criminal offence specified in any law which makes provision for such denial on the grounds of such conviction. Do you approve of The Constitution (Amendment) (No.2) Bill, 2016? Under this proposed change to the Constitution, the foreign spouse of a Bahamian citizen would, after the coming into operation of this Article, be entitled to apply for and obtain citizenship subject to satisfying: (i) existing national security or public policy considerations; and (ii) new provisions guarding against marriages of convenience Yes D No D 13
+ CONSTITUTION AMENDMENT BILLS Current Article 14 14.-(1} Any reference in this Chapter to the father of a person born out of wedlock other than a person legit i mated before 1Oth july 1973, shall be construed as a reference to the mother of that per son. (2} ... ( 3 } Any r e f e r ence in thi s Chapter to the nati o nal status of the fath e r of a person at the time of that person's birth, shall, in relation to a person born after the death of the father, be construed as a reference to the nat i onal status of the father at the time of the father's death; and where that death occurred before 1Oth j uly 1973 and the birth occurred after 9th july 1973 the national status that the father would have had if he h a d died on 1Oth july 1973 shall be deemed to be his national st a tu s at the time of his death. "Equal Rights Under the Law" Constitution (Amendment) (No.3) Bill, 2016 Article 14 Proposed Amendment 14(1} A r eference in this Chapter to the father of a person born out of wedlock after the com ing into operat i on of this paragraph means a male who satisfies any requirements as to proof of paternity as may be p rescr i bed (2} ... (3} Any reference in this Chapter to the national status of th e parent of a person at the time of that person's birth shall, in rel a tion to a person born after the death of his parent, be construed as a refe r ence to the national status of the parent at the time of the parent's death Do you approve of The Constitution (Amendment) (No.3) Bill, 2016? Under this proposed change to the Constitution, a Bahamian fath e r of a person born out of wedlock after the coming into operation of this a m endment wo uld be abl e t o pas s his citizenship to that person s u b ject to legal p roof that h e is the fath er. Yes D No D 14
CONSTITUTION AMENDMENT BILLS Current Article 26 26(3) In this Article the expression "discriminatory" means affording different treatment to different persons attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, place of origin, political opinions, colour or creed whereby persons of one such description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another such description are not made subject or are accorded privileges or advantages which are not accorded to persons of another such description. "Equal Rights Under the Law" Constitution (Amendment) (No. 4) Bill, 2016 Article 26 Proposed Amendment 26(3) and (5): In this Article the expression "discriminatory" means affording different treatment to different persons attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, creed or sex whereby persons of one such description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another such description are not made subject or are accorded privileges or advantages which are not accorded to persons of another such description. 26(11) In this Chapter, "sex" means being male or female. Do you approve of The Constitution (Amendment) (No.4) Bill, 2016? Under this proposed change to the Constitution, it would be unlawful to discriminate based on"sex", which would be defined as"being male or female" YesD NoD 15