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The Bahamas Independence Order 1973

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Tenure of office of members of House of Assembly

49.—(1) Every member of the House of Assembly shall vacate his seat in the House—

(a)upon a dissolution of Parliament;

(b)if he resigns it by writing under his hand addressed to the Speaker or, if the office of Speaker is vacant or the Speaker is absent from The Bahamas, to the Deputy Speaker;

(c)if he is absent from the sittings of the House for such period and in such circumstances as may be prescribed in the rules of procedure of the House;

(d)if he ceases to be a citizen of The Bahamas;

(e)subject to the provisions of paragraph (2) of this Article, if any circumstances arise that, if he were not a member of the House, would cause him to be disqualified for election as such by virtue of sub-paragraph (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), (g) or (h) of Article 48(1) of this Constitution; or

(f)if he becomes interested in any government contract:

Provided that—

(i)if in the circumstances it appears to the House of Assembly to be just to do so, the House of Assembly may exempt any member of the House from vacating his seat under the provisions of this sub-paragraph, if that member, before becoming interested in such contract as aforesaid or as soon as practicable after becoming so interested, discloses to the House the nature of such contract and his interest therein;

(ii)if proceedings are taken under a law made under Article 51 of this Constitution to determine whether a member of the House has vacated his seat under the provisions of this sub-paragraph he shall be declared by the court not to have vacated his seat if he establishes to the satisfaction of the court that he, acting reasonably, was not aware that he was or had become interested in such contract; and

(iii)no proceedings under the preceding sub-paragraph shall be instituted by any person other than a Senator or member of the House of Assembly.

(2) If circumstances such as are referred to in sub-paragraph (1)(e) of this Article arise because any member of the House is under sentence of death or imprisonment, declared bankrupt, adjudged to be of unsound mind or convicted of an offence relating to elections and it is open to the member to appeal against the decision (either with the leave of a court or other authority or without such leave), he shall forthwith cease to perform his functions as a member of the House but, subject to paragraph (3) of this Article, he shall not vacate his seat until the expiration of a period of thirty days thereafter:

Provided that the Speaker may, at the request of the member, from time to time extend that period for further periods of thirty days to enable the member to pursue an appeal against the decision, so, however, that extensions of time exceeding in the aggregate one hundred and fifty days shall not be given without the approval, signified by resolution, of the House of Assembly.

(3) If, on the determination of any appeal, such circumstances continue to exist and no further appeal is open to the member, or if, by reason of the expiration of any period for entering an appeal or notice thereof or the refusal of leave to appeal or for any other reason, it ceases to be open to the member to appeal, he shall forthwith vacate his seat.

(4) If at any time before the member vacates his seat such circumstances as aforesaid cease to exist, his seat shall not become vacant on the expiration of the period referred to in paragraph (2) of this Article and he may resume the performance of his functions as a member of the House.

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