PM: FOIA enactment soon, but no timeline for marital rape law

The government is committed to the full enactment of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by May of this year, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said yesterday.

“We’re committed to that, and we will do all that we possibly can,” Minnis said.

“But in spite of that, you know, you have access to all information.”

There has been criticism on the lack of progress on the full enactment of FOIA.

The Organization for Responsible Governance raised concern that the delays could mean going into another election without the full enactment.

Ahead of the 2017 general election, the Free National Movement repeatedly promised FOIA.

Attorney General Carl Bethel said last May it will be fully enacted by May 2020.

Bethel said he expected an information commissioner to be named by the end of 2019, but it has yet to happen.

Also among the Minnis administration’s promises was marital rape legislation.

The topic resurfaced in late 2017 after United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women Dubravka Simonovic said that The Bahamas is out of step with the UN’s Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) as it has failed to criminalize all forms of marital rape.

Two years ago during an appearance before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, Switzerland, Bethel said the government intends to criminalize marital rape.

A bill was drafted and circulated to community stakeholders.

However, Minnis said yesterday that he is uncertain when that will progress.

“That’s a matter I’ll have to discuss with Cabinet colleagues, as we have a lot of items on the agenda that we must deal with,” he said.

“And one has to prioritize certain things. So, we’re looking at the whole scope, the whole landscape.”

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Rachel Knowles

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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