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The Bahamas Independence Order 1973

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PART 6Delimitation of Constituencies

Constituencies

68.  The Bahamas shall be divided into thirty-eight constituencies or such greater number as may be provided for by an Order made by the Governor-General in accordance with the provisions of Article 70 of this Constitutions and each such constituency shall return one member to the House of Assembly.

Constituencies Commission

69.—(1) There shall be a Constituencies Commission for The Bahamas (in this and the next following Article referred to as “the Commission”).

(2) The Members of the Commission shall be—

(a)the Speaker who shall be Chairman;

(b)a Justice of the Supreme Court who shall be Deputy Chairman and shall be appointed by the Governor-General acting on the recommendation of the Chief Justice;

(c)two members of the House of Assembly who shall be appointed by the Governor-General acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister; and

(d)one member of the House of Assembly who shall be appointed by the Governor-General acting in accordance with the advice of the Leader of the Opposition.

(3) The office of a member of the Commission shall become vacant—

(a)if he ceases to be the Speaker, a Justice of the Supreme Court or a member of the House of Assembly, as the case may be; or

(b)in the case of a member appointed under sub-paragraph (2)(b), (c) or (d) of this Article, if his appointment is revoked by the Governor-General.

(4) If the office of a member of the Commission, appointed under sub-paragraph (2)(b), (c) or (d) of this Article is vacant or any such member is for any reason unable to perform the functions of his office, the Governor-General may appoint a person qualified for appointment under the said sub-paragraph (b), (c) or (d), as the case may be, to act in the office of that member and any person so appointed may continue so to act until his appointment is revoked.

(5) In revoking the appointment of a member of the Commission under sub-paragraph (3)(b) of this Article, and in making or revoking an appointment to act in the office of a member of the Commission under paragraph (4) of this Article, the Governor-General shall act in the same manner as he would act if he were making an appointment to the office of that member under paragraph (2) of this Article.

(6) Any decision of the Commission shall require the concurrence of not less than three members of the Commission.

(7) Subject to the provisions of paragraph (6) of this Article, the Commission may act notwithstanding a vacancy in its membership, and no proceedings of the Commission shall be invalidated by reason only that some persons not entitled to do so has taken part in them.

Procedure for review of constituencies

70.—(1) The Commission shall in accordance with the provisions of this Article, at intervals of not more than five years, review the number and boundaries of the constituencies into which The Bahamas is divided and shall submit to the Governor-General a single report either—

(a)stating that in the opinion of the Commission, no change is required; or

(b)recommending certain changes,

and the Governor-General shall cause such report to be laid before the House of Assembly forthwith.

(2) In carrying out a review for the purposes of this Article, the Commission shall be guided by the general consideration that the number of voters entitled to vote for the purposes of electing every member of the House of Assembly shall, so far as is reasonably practicable, be the same and the need to take account of special considerations such as the needs of sparsely populated areas, the practicability of elected members maintaining contact with electors in such areas, size, physical features, natural boundaries and geographical isolation.

(3) When the Commission intends to proceed under paragraph (1) of this Article, it shall, by notice in writing, inform the Prime Minister, who shall cause a copy of that notice to be published in the Gazette.

(4) As soon as may be after the Commission has submitted a report recommending changes in the boundaries of any constituencies, the Prime Minister shall lay before the House of Assembly for its approval a draft of an Order by the Governor-General for giving effect, whether with or without modifications, to the recommendations contained in the report, and that draft may make provision for any matters (including variation of the quorum specified in Article 57 of this Constitution) which appear to the Prime Minister to be incidental to or consequential upon the other provisions of the draft.

(5) Where any draft Order laid under this Article would give effect to any such recommendations with modifications, the Prime Minister shall lay before the House of Assembly together with the draft a statement of the reasons for the modifications.

(6) If the motion for the approval of any draft Order laid under this Article is rejected by the House of Assembly, or is withdrawn by leave of the House, an amended draft shall be laid without undue delay by the Prime Minister before the House of Assembly.

(7) If any draft Order laid under this Article is approved by resolution of the House of Assembly, the Prime Minister shall submit it to the Governor-General who shall make an Order (which shall be published in the Gazette) in terms of the draft; and that Order shall come into force on such day as may be specified therein and, until revoked by a further Order made by the Governor-General in accordance with the provisions of this Article, shall have the force of law in The Bahamas:

Provided that the coming into force of any such Order shall not affect any election to the House of Assembly until a proclamation is made by the Governor-General appointing the date for the holding of a general election of members of the House of Assembly or affect the constitution of the House of Assembly then in being.

(8) Save as provided in the next following paragraph the question of the validity of any Order by the Governor-General purporting to be made under this Article and reciting that a draft thereof has been approved by resolution of the House of Assembly shall not be inquired into in any court of law.

(9) Parliament may by law provide for an appeal to the Supreme Court against a statement or recommendation submitted by the Commission in pursuance of sub-paragraph (1)(a) or (b) of this Article.

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