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Govt not likely to meet fixed election date pledge this term, AG advises

Attorney General Carl Bethel said it is unlikely that the Minnis administration will implement a fixed election date during this term because the issue would become “extremely political” as the next general election nears.

Bethel pointed out that this would require a referendum.

In opposition, Free National Movement Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis promised a referendum on the issue.

“There’s a certain window for referenda which I think is long passed by now,” Bethel told The Nassau Guardian.

“Any referendum at this stage would tend to be too political. I think that for any further constitutional reform that the time for that has really passed.”

He added, “…Any constitutional reform would nonetheless become extremely political as we get closer to the general election’s day.”

Asked how likely it is that a fixed election date would be introduced before the next general election, Bethel replied, “Unlikely, but no decision has been made.”

Before he left for a trip to the United Nations in New York in September 2018, Prime Minister Minnis said two bills — proposing a fixed election date and a term limit for the prime minister — would be tabled two weeks later.

In November 2018, Minnis said those bills would “definitely” be tabled by the end of the year.

However, that did not happen.

During the last campaign, Minnis repeatedly promised that, if elected, he would push legislation to limit the tenure of the prime minister to two terms, whether consecutive or not.

His commitment to a term limit was also stated long before the election campaign.

The same promises were echoed in the government’s Speech from the Throne.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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