The saying goes, “If you want to hide something from Bahamians put it in a Book”. I’m saddened to admit that there is more than an ounce of truth in that saying. We simple don’t read as much as we should. But if there is one thing every Bahamian should make an effort to read, Its our Constitution.
The Constitution of The Bahamas lays out the structure of our government and the laws under which we live. Yet the majority of Bahamians have never read it or even know where to find it. Several days ago I conducted a poll at my office of well educated professionals to see if this was true. I asked, Have you ever read The Constitution of The Bahamas?
Out of the thirty people I asked, twenty three persons, including myself had never read the constitution. That’s 75% and I think the numbers may be worst for the general public. Not only had they not read it, but many did not know where to even find it. Why is that?
I’ve come up with a few reasons;
- We are not taught the constitution in our schools
- Its in legalese, which is hard for the average person to read
- The location of the document is not promoted publically
- Perhaps the powers that be don’t want the general population aware of their rights?
In the US every child is taught The American Bill of Rights from an early age. This ensures that every citizen is a full participant in the society and understands what it means to be an American.
Here in The Bahamas, it seems like The Constitution is reserved for a privileged few. Sure if one wants to find the constitution its easy enough to find. But its not promoted. How often have you heard someone in authority advise the public to read the constitution?
I believe this is one of the reasons 98% (I’m guessing, but I willing to bet I’m not far off) of our representatives have been lawyers. And why many ordinary Bahamian feels they can not be a part of government.
If we are to progress as a people, I feel its vitally important for every Bahamian to understand their basic rights, the structure of our Government and the limitation of the powers of those in authority.
Therefore, my plan over the next few weeks/months is to explore The Constitution of The Bahamas. I will try to break it down into plain English for all to understand.
Beginning with The Protection of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of The Individual I will seek to educate myself and you the reader on our constitution.
There are about 15 articles on the Fundamental Rights and Freedom of The individual in Chapter 3 of our constitution. I will post on each one and provide a PDF download of that post for every subscriber. I’m not a Lawyer but I hope to give you a reasonably close translation.
Please download the documents and share with friends, family members and colleagues. Help spread knowledge of the constitution of The Bahamas.