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Bahamas: Bar associations joins calls for independence of Parliament

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Bahamas Bar Association President Kahlil Parker today called for full enactment of the Freedom of Information Act, as well as legislation that will ensure the independence of the judiciary and Parliament, insisting the judiciary cannot rely on governments not to “abuse their borrowed powers”.

During the Opening of the Legal Year, Parker said the bar council has monitored and, where necessary, engaged the government regarding execution action taken on declaring, extending and managing the ongoing state of emergency.

He said the preservation of health and safety, and lives, remains a paramount concern as The Bahamas contends with the global pandemic, which has assaulted healthcare systems across the globe.

He also said now is not the time for retrospectives, but to renew calls for a substantively independent judiciary and legislature “in keeping with the constitutional promise of a separation of powers”.

“As citizens, we cede power to the government on the understanding that the constitutional system of checks and balances is [functional] and effective to guard against the executive, judicial or legislative overreach,” Parker said.

“We repeat our call for the debate and passage of a Court Services Bill to enhance the independence of our judiciary by [enabling] the judiciary to accountably and transparently manage its own financial and administrative affairs while promoting good governance, the rule of law and the separation of powers.”

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