The breaking news on May 4 2023, is that the Privy Council, the highest Court of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, from which there is no appeal, has concluded “that the Constitution of The Bahamas confers citizenship of The Bahamas at birth on a person born in The Bahamas who is the child of (1) an unmarried woman who is not a citizen of The Bahamas and (2) a man who is.”
It is only common sense, after 50 years of legal mumbo-jumbo, for savagely emasculated Bahamian men and maliciously disadvantaged Bahamians whose foreign mothers are not married to their Bahamian fathers.
From Independence, 1973, the Government held the position that children, born out of wedlock to Bahamian men and foreign women, were not entitled to Bahamian citizenship at birth.
Naturally, this position was vehemently opposed by Bahamian fathers over the past 50 years, but nothing was done to compel the Government to review its interpretation of the Constitution, until Attorney Wayne Munroe’s submission to the Supreme Court was accepted by Sir Ian Winder and upheld by the Court of Appeal.
Sir Ian’s ruling was a major blow, struck against gender discrimination, and demolishing a 50-year-old policy that undermined Bahamian men, and denied them their right to be the legal, proud and responsible fathers of all their children, regardless of the nationality of the mothers.
Finally, after 50 years of cruel discrimination, Sir Ian’s judgement heralded the achievement of gender equality for Bahamian men, not married to the foreign mothers of their children.
The inequality existed because unmarried Bahamian mothers could pass on citizenship to their children, regardless of the nationality of the fathers, but unmarried fathers could not.
Further, Sir Ian’s wise conclusion abolished the inequality that had been a grave impediment to Bahamians who were denied the right to automatic citizenship and the many attendant rights and privileges, because their foreign mothers were not married to their Bahamian fathers.
Both FNM and PLP Governments were ill-advised in their decision to contest this land-mark ruling by Sir Ian, before His Majesty’s Privy Council.
And now, a major victory has been won for Bahamian fathers at the Privy Council, which has now upheld the ruling by Sir Ian Winder, Chief Justice of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, that Bahamian fathers can pass on citizenship to their children born out of wedlock to foreign mothers.
Bahamian fathers are shedding tears of joy today.
In the positive outcome of this matter, Sir Ian Winder emerges as the greatest legal mind to occupy the high post of Chief Justice of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, since Independence.
In our opinion, the intellectual energy that he applies to the administration of justice is unparalleled in the 50-year history of an independent Bahamas, not only in this case but in all other matters brought before him.
And because of this astute approach, he has inspired a new confidence in the independence, integrity and WISDOM of the Court as the third arm of Government.
We pray that his tenure be a long and outstanding one.
Submitted by: Rodney Moncur