‘WE WERE GONNA DO IT’: Minnis backs move to change citizenship law

‘WE WERE GONNA DO IT’: Minnis backs move to change citizenship law
Former Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Former Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis supports the Davis administration’s plan to give men and women equal access to citizenship through ordinary legislation, noting he wanted to do the same when he was prime minister.

The administration’s plan to change the law, a move that counters the results of referendums on the subject this century, has sparked debate in the country between those who believe it is against the will of the people and those who believe it is simply the right thing to do.

Minnis told reporters yesterday:  “I could only speak to what was our position when I was prime minister and we felt that there should be equality in terms of women being able to pass their citizenship on to their children regardless of which part of the world they are and where they’re born and we were gonna ensure that that was done.

“We were prepared to bring in the legislation. We understand the challenge, legislation versus constitution and it can be challenged.

“I think the way forward, once its done, it’s essential that before its done, that extensive education ensues so that the Bahamian populace understands exactly what you’re trying to do, what was done in the past, failed, etc, but I think in terms of equality, that’s the way to go but education is the most important thing.  Like I said, when I was prime minister, we had discussed it and we were gonna do it.”

Minnis joins his predecessors Hubert Ingraham and Perry Christie in supporting adjusting citizenship access rules by amending the Bahamas Nationality Act rather than the constitution.

Ingraham has said he held a referendum on the matter during his second term in office only to make sure the changes could not be easily reversed by a successive administration. Otherwise, he said the changes could easily be made through ordinary legislation.

Asked why he didn’t follow through with the plan he announced in 2017 to change the law, Minnis said: “Draft was written and being reviewed by legal teams…it was not tabled.”


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