Public Education on Constitutional Reforms have begun!
Nassau, Bahamas – Remarks by Bradley B Roberts, National Chairman, Progressive Liberal Party at the Informational Forum hosted by the Constitutional Commission held at BCPOU Hall on 11th August 2014:
Prime Minister and Party Leader, the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie;
Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Party Leader, the Hon. Philip Brave Davis; Parliamentarians, Stalwart Councilors and Party Officers;
To our honoured guests and presenters, the Constitutional Commission, especially the Chairman of the Commission, Sean McWeeney, welcome and a pleasant good evening.
On behalf of the Progressive Liberal Party, I extend my heartfelt thanks to the Commission for offering of its time and talents to bring greater clarity and treatment to the four Constitutional Bills currently before Parliament and the subject of vigorous debate and scrutiny.
This is only the second time in forty years that The Bahamas has attempted to amend its constitution via a Constitutional Referendum so this occasion is historic in nature and the correct information is critical to our ability to make the correct choices regarding our Supreme Law.
The general theme of the proposed constitutional amendments is equality for all under the law. This theme rings a familiar tune with the Progressive Liberal Party given our history and rich legacy in the women’s suffrage movement and the broader fight for equal rights and social justice that led to the women’s right to vote in 1962 and Majority Rule in 1967.
Further, the expansion of the franchise of political participation to women by the PLP is a matter of public and historic record. We appointed the first female Senator and Cabinet Minister; ratified the largest number of female candidates in the 2002 General Elections; appointed the largest number of female Cabinet Ministers in that same year including a Deputy Prime Minister not to mention the election of the first Deputy Leader and National Chairman of a major political party.
It is important to recall these historic events in our national development as a tangible demonstration of the PLP’s commitment to gender equality and equality for all under the law. Consequently, the Progressive Liberal Party supports the in principle the proposed Bills currently before Parliament as expanded personal freedom and rights are always welcomed as such acts deepen our democracy.
We are confident that the Constitutional Commission will conduct its public education campaign with the enthusiasm, patience and comprehensiveness that this illustrious body so ably demonstrated during the consultation stage of this process. No stakeholder in civil society was denied an audience and each and every corner of this archipelago was covered. Please give the Commission a round of applause for their tireless efforts. I am advised that Retired Justice Rubie Nottage will lead the public education campaign which gives us great comfort and confidence as she is well known for her brilliance, competence and thoroughness.
I encourage and entreat each branch of the PLP, namely the Women’s Branch; the Progressive Young Liberals; the National Progressive Institute; Stalwart Councilors; the National General Council and the Constituency Associations to pay special attention to this presentation as you are expected will be called upon to assist with the public education campaign within your branches and communities; you must spread the word and fight against misinformation. Feel free to call on the Commission if you have additional questions or require specific treatment of a particular legal or technical issue. The Commission is known for its patience and thoroughness.
So without further delay, I once again thank you all for coming out tonight to show your support and I especially thank the Constitutional Commission for taking time out of their busy schedule to meet with us.
Thank you and welcome.