NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Philip Turner, the former parliamentary commissioner, has been transferred to the Ministry of Youth as its newly appointed undersecretary, Eyewitness News can confirm.
The transfer became effective December 23.
There has been no public announcement on the transfer, nor has a new parliamentary commissioner been named.
Turner, who was contacted for comment about the registration process, confirmed the transfer to the Ministry of Youth, but did not provide specifics on the reason.
When asked for the reason for the transfer, Turner suggested he is a career civil servant and will go where he is needed.
When contacted, Attorney General Carl Bethel deferred to Minister of National Security Marvin Dames.
Asked if a new parliamentary commissioner had been named, Bethel said: “No, I would not know about that. It certainly has not been determined by Cabinet.”
Four days before the 2017 general election, the government removed Sherlyn Hall as parliamentary commissioner and replaced him with Charles Albury, the former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Tourism.
Turner replaced Albury in October 2017.
He was in favor of the government introducing a permanent or continuous register as opposed to a new register amid the coronavirus pandemic, which delayed voter registration and Local Government elections on the Family Islands.
In October 2020, Turner advised at a press conference that he had recommended the existing register be maintained, removing deceased and incarcerated individuals from it and transferring voters who changed their residences.
The move would only require new voters to register.
The register used in the last general election was set to expire in July 2021.
The government tabled the Parliamentary Election (Amendment) Bill, 2020, in early December.
The legislation effectively abolishes the quinquennial register and makes way for the continuous register of voters that would evolve each election cycle with the continuous addition of new voters, transfers and removal of those who have died.
According to the Parliamentary Election (Amendment) Bill, 2020, a registered voter would not be required to re-register by reconstitution of the boundaries, however, the commissioner may from time to time call upon registered voters to alter or correct their counterfoils of the voter’s cards.
A registered voter or person entitled to vote, aged 65 and older, would be considered a special voter and be allowed to vote in the advanced poll.
The bill authorizes the parliamentary commissioner to access all registers and other records of births and deaths that are required to be kept under the Births and Deaths Registration Act.
As part of the maintenance of the register, undertakers, morticians and directors of funeral homes, the director of national insurance and the commissioner of corrections would be required to provide relevant information on deaths at legislated periods.
The next general election in The Bahamas must be held no later than May 2022.