PM: Bills for fixed election and PM term limit coming soon

PM: Bills for fixed election and PM term limit coming soon
Prime Minister, Dr. Hubert Minnis.

The draft constitutional bills dealing with a term limit for prime ministers and a fixed election date could “soon” be completed and be made available for public consumption, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis indicated on Thursday, even though he did not provide specifics.

Following his keynote address at the Securities Commission of The Bahamas’ Public Companies Forum at the British Colonial Hilton, Minnis was asked about his election campaign promise to introduce the measures that would require a referendum, of which his response was, “very soon.”  However, he did not provide a specific timeline.

While the prime minister did not expound on the bills or the process that would follow upon tabling them, he suggested the legislation could be tabled in the House of Assembly before the end of the year.

Ahead of his trip to the United Nations’ 73rd General Assembly in New York in late September, the prime minister indicated that the bills would be tabled within two weeks.

He also said Cabinet will begin advancing those discussions beginning in October.

At the time, he said, “We made a commitment that we will bring in term limits and we will do that. We have also made a commitment that we will bring fixed dates for the general election and we will bring that forth also, but we will bring those bills probably in about two weeks.

Opposition Leader Philip Brave Davis has expressed support of a fixed date for general elections, but does not support term limits for prime ministers on the basis that it represents a threat to democracy.

As it relates to the government’s intention to introduce term limits, Davis said, “Democracy requires the will of the people, in its fullest expression to be carried out.

“Are you going to now trump that by telling the people that if they want someone to serve as prime minister for more than two years that, that cannot happen because of an act introduced by Parliament?”

It remains unclear when he intends to hold a referendum to deal with term limits and a fixed election date.

The last two constitutional referenda failed.