Editorials


The four constitutional bills that relate to gender equality, following passage in the House of Assembly on Wednesday, now go to the Senate. If the Senate follows true to form as per usual, The Bahamas will be significantly changed.

From the pending Senate passage to Referendum Day, debates will rage around the nation. The one major difference this time as compared to when the Hubert Ingraham-Led Free National Movement put the gender equality vote to the public is the strong consensus that Prime Minister Perry Christie has achieved.

He must be given due credit for approaching the all-important subject of gender equality in a manner, generally, whereby support was unanimous in the House and is likely to be as well in the Senate. Also, key Christian denomination leaders publicly declared support before the historic vote in the House.

Nevertheless, there is a lot of food for thought. Much will be digested from now to Referendum Day, whenever that comes.

For instance, we present one scenario.

The second Constitutional Amendment Bill passed on Wednesday calls for a foreign man married to a Bahamian woman to be entitled to the same access to Bahamian citizenship that a foreign woman married to a Bahamian man enjoys.

So, once that man marries into this constitutional safe haven, if he later divorces that Bahamian woman, does his full status of citizenship remain?

If so, we then go to Constitutional Amendment Bill No. 3.

That bill that was passed in the House of Assembly and will more than likely go easily through the window dressing process in the Senate. It allows for an unmarried Bahamian man to pass on his citizenship to his child subject to legal proof that he is the father.

He can pass the citizenship to his child. That will be the case at birth, whether the child is born outside of The Bahamas or inside, as dictated by Constitutional Amendment Bill No. 1.

So, a Kenyan could marry a Bahamian woman, divorce her, return to Kenya and father several children there. Those children, according to Constitutional Amendment No. 1 would become Bahamian citizens at birth?

Bahamians are advised to ask many more questions to get a clearer understanding of the proposed amendments.

Once Referendum Day comes and the votes of â yes⠝ are in the majority, the law of the land will stand.

Referendum Day is coming soon.

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