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New boundaries report sent to GG

The four remaining members of the Constituencies Commission yesterday submitted a report to the governor general separate from the one recently submitted by Commission Chairman Halson Moultrie.

Renward Wells, leader of government business in the House of Assembly, confirmed to The Nassau Guardian that commission members did not recommend the addition of any more seats in the House, which has 39 seats.

The other three commission members are Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources Michael Pintard, Progressive Liberal Party Deputy Leader Chester Cooper and Supreme Court Justice Deborah Fraser.

The four members have called Moultrie’s submission of a report on Friday with his signature only “a clear and flagrant breach of the constitution”.

Speaking of the report the majority of the commission sent to the governor general yesterday, Wells said, “There was an addition of some views that were expressed by the opposition member, Chester Cooper, that was shared during the course of the discussions that we had.

“We’ve had some 15 meetings and we all spoke to the parliamentary commissioner about ensuring that folks who were deceased would be removed from the permanent register as well as we were thinking about ways in which we can deal with those who are presumed missing from [Hurricane] Dorian.

“Those would’ve been part of the report that the speaker submitted but it was couched in a different kind of way. Also, too, we took out those portions that the speaker would’ve considered his ‘minority opinion’. That was not agreed by the members.”

Wells said there were views expressed by the members that did not make the report submitted yesterday.

“But the things that we all agreed upon in the beginning, the report that was being sent forward that was agreed probably more than a month ago, is what was sent forward to the governor general,” he said.

After Moultrie submitted his report on Friday, the other commission members said in a statement that report does not reflect the views of the majority of the commission and they will ask the governor general to reject it.

However, that letter was not submitted yesterday.

“We just submitted a letter saying here’s the report of the Boundaries Commission,” Wells said.

 The report submitted by Moultrie stated, “It was the will of the majority of commission members to recommend no change to the 39 electoral constituencies.”

Moultrie also attached a dissenting opinion, recommending that four additional seats be added.

On Monday, when asked about Moultrie’s recommendation, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said, “There’s no report yet. The members of the committee have spoken and I accept what they said.”

Early last year, Minnis said at a political rally that there will be no changes to the boundaries. 

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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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