NGO Outlines Issues It Wants Among Priorities of New Bahamas Government

Save The Bays says passing a Freedom of Information Act should be a priority for the new Bahamas government.

 

NASSAU, The Bahamas, Friday May 12, 2017 – Just hours after the Free National Movement (FNM) swept general elections on Wednesday, winning all but four seats in the 39-seat House of Assembly, one of the country’s organizations has called on the new government to give urgent attention to what it said are promises Bahamians want fulfilled as top priorities.

Chief among those, contended environmental advocacy group Save The Bays in a statement, is delivering on a long-awaited Freedom of Information Act that would enable the people to know the people’s business.

After congratulating Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis and the FNM, Save The Bays said: “For far too long, the people of The Bahamas have been kept in the dark about issues or decisions that affect them until it is too late. It is time to lift the veil of secrecy and for the people to be guaranteed the right to know the people’s business. It is time for light and transparency and only through a strong and genuine Freedom of Information Act can those rights be guaranteed.”

The statement said the group also wanted to see continued interaction with civil society and commitment to public consultation, serious attention to electoral process reform including campaign finance, passage of a comprehensive environmental protection act, an end to unregulated development and equitable handling of Crown land applications with priority given to Bahamians.

“While our priority is environment and sustainable development, that does not trample of the rights of long-standing Bahamian communities. We want this government to know, just as the former government knew, that we are, in many ways, the watchdog for the many whose voices are silenced by fear of victimization,” the non-governmental organization added.

“We will continue to hold everyone’s feet to the fire and truly hope that you will be successful in all you do in energizing the economy, managing debt and restoring faith in The Bahamas locally and abroad.”

In his victory speech on Wednesday night, Dr Minnis had promised that there would be no victimization under his administration.

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