Today in The House of Assembly The much awaited Constitutional (Amendment) Bill 2017 was opened for debate. The Bill establishes an Independent Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
Minister of State for Legal Affairs Elsworth Johnson explained that The Bill would confer responsibility of the prosecution to the sole care of the DPP and give that office a degree of autonomy from the influence of the Attorney General (AG). Though the AG would still be able to give instruction to the DPP in certain circumstances, instructions must be in writing and signed.
Minister Johnson argued that the separation of these offices would reduce the frequency of nolle presequi's - a controversial order allowing the AG to stop prosecution of cases without opposition. Giving the DPP autonomy helps to free the justice process from political influence.
Leader of the Opposition Phillip "Brave" Davis pointed out that as long as the AG can give directions to the DPP on such a broad basis, not much is changed from the current system and the office is not truly independent. He urged the government narrow the scope of offenses in which the AG can intervene.
What do you think? The Organization for Responsible Governance will be submitting recommendations for amendments to the Office of the Attorney General and Members of Parliament. Read The Bill and send your feedback to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Minister Johnson also tabled a suite of important Bills for first reading, promising that the bills will be opened to public consultation before they are debated. Two of the bills, the Integrity Commission Bill and the Ombudsman Bill potentially represent major forward steps in addressing corruption in government. Input from citizens like YOU is crucial to ensuring we get these Bills right! Click on the icons below to read the bills tabled.
If you have questions or suggested amendments sent to email@example.com.
The Integrity Commission Bill, 2017 intends to establish an anti-corruption body aimed at: educating public officials and the public at large
1) educating public officials and the public at large on issues of corruption and the importance of integrity in office
2) Identifying and investigating instances of corruption
3) Researching and advising on reforms and best practices to address corruption within Bahamian government
The Ombudsman Bill, 2017 seeks to establish an Office of the Ombudsman, which will act on behalf of the people to investigate instances of maladministration advise government on ways to improve administrative practices
The Companies (Non-Profit) (Amendment) Regulations, 2017 will change the regulation and incorporation process for non-profit organizations and would require these organizations to keep and submit reliable financial records