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Following COA ruling on citizenship, AG says people are ‘demanding to be registered to vote’

Attorney General Carl Bethel advised the Senate today that people are turning up to the Parliamentary Registration Department demanding to be registered to vote following a recent Court of Appeal ruling.

On Monday, the Court of Appeal affirmed a ruling by Supreme Court Justice Ian Winder that every person born in The Bahamas shall become a citizen of The Bahamas at their date of birth if either parent, irrespective of their marital status, is a citizen of The Bahamas.

Bethel insisted that the law has not changed despite the ruling.

“I am now advised that persons are presenting themselves yesterday and even today at the Parliamentary Registration Department demanding to be registered to vote,” he said.

“This is my information. Let me say, as I said to the press yesterday… if we were to lose at the Privy Council, at that time we would then be required to make changes to domestic law. In other words nothing has changed as a result of the ruling because the matter is still a matter of contest.”

However, Senator Fred Mitchell contended that the law has changed.

He said those impacted by the ruling can go to the Passport Office and seek to get a passport.

He encouraged the Office of the Attorney General to seek to get a stay.

Bethel said, “We are, on the attorney general’s side, taking steps, right now, to apply for a stay”.

The attorney general also noted that that the government intends to appeal the ruling. 

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