By: Toby Hayes
The Organization for Responsible Governance
Do you remember being asked the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?”? It was a question that instilled a sense of excitement, wonder, and hope. All things seemed possible. For many young Bahamians, though, the spectrum of opportunities slowly contracts and diminishes for one sole reason: education. According to Ministry of Education statistics, from 2015-2017 nearly half of the students that take the BJC don’t go on to take the BGCSE and, of those that do, less than 40% achieve a grade of C or above.
Whilst standardized testing at the primary school level, such as the GLAT, show more promising results, the Minister of Education stated in his 2017 budget contribution that primary level teachers “routinely lament” the gaps in literacy, numeracy, and cognitive skills in young students, especially those who have not had the benefit of pre-primary education.Read more
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: [email protected]