HC Deb 27 April 1950 vol 474 cc140-1W
Mr. Kenneth Robinson

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what is the nature of the suffrage in the Bahamas; whether the ballot is secret; and if he will make a statement on the present constitutional position in the Colony.

Mr. J. Griffiths

There are two legislative houses in the Bahamas, a wholly nominated Legislative Council, constituted by Letters Patent and Royal Instructions, and a wholly elected General Assembly constituted by local law.

To be entitled to be registered as a voter at elections of members of the General Assembly a person

  1. (1) must be a male British subject who has attained the age of 21 years and has been ordinarily resident in the Colony for 12 months preceding his application for registration; and
  2. (2) must either.
    1. (a) own land in the Colony of a market value of at least five pounds; Or
    2. (b) have been for six months last preceding the date of his application for registration, the tenant of land at a rent of at least two pounds eight shillings per annum in New Providence or one pound four shillings per annum in an Out Island.

The General Assembly Elections Act, 1946, of the Bahamas makes provision for the secrecy of the ballot at elections of members of the General Assembly.

Under the Letters Patent the Governor is empowered to legislate for the Colony with the advice and consent of the Legislative Council and General Assembly, subject to His Majesty's power to disallow any law so made. The Governor may, in his discretion, refuse his assent to a Bill passed by the two Houses or reserve the Bill for the signification of His Majesty's pleasure. The Governor has no reserved legislative powers. The Governor may prorogue the Legislative Council and prorogue or dissolve the General Assembly.

Executive authority in the Colony is exercised by the Governor after consultation with an Executive Council. The Executive Council is constituted by Letters Patent and Royal Instructions. Maximum membership is nine of whom three are ex-officio members and the remainder may be officials or unofficials appointed directly by the Crown or by the Governor in pursuance of His Majesty's instructions. The present position is that, in addition to the ex-officio members, three other members have been appointed who are unofficials and members of the General Assembly. One of these three acts as the Government spokesman in the General Assembly.

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