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Dame Joan: Referendum A Ruse For Lgbt Rights

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

FORMER Court of Appeal President Dame Joan Sawyer has claimed that the Christie administration is using the upcoming gender equality vote as a “ruse” to implement lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in order to conform to international human rights policies.

In a speech at a recent Bahamas Bar Association forum on the upcoming referendum, Dame Joan suggested that the government’s aggressive support for the YES Bahamas campaign is a push to ensure that all Bahamians are “in step” with LGBT rights as prescribed by the United Nations.

She insisted that the vitriol levelled at her in recent weeks because she does not support the referendum occurred because the government viewed her as a hindrance to their attempt to sway the public into a “yes” vote.

“The hidden agenda, I say, was deposited last October when the leader of this country said in a public statement published in The Guardian, that we as Bahamians need to get in step with the rest of the world with regard to the LGBT agenda.”

It is unclear which statement Dame Joan was referring to, however in March 2015 The Tribune reported that Prime Minister Perry Christie told College of the Bahamas students that leaders of conservative countries must consider how their nations could “co-exist in a world” where global attitudes towards social issues like homosexuality are shifting.

According Dame Joan, the four referendum bills are being presented in a certain manner to dupe voters. She claimed that matters of citizenship that are contained in the first three bills are being masqueraded as the crux of the vote as a way to misguide voters away from the intentions of bill four. This bill seeks to eliminate discrimination based on sex, which has been defined as being male or female.

She stressed that the government could make the necessary changes proposed by the referendum without a public vote.

“Must I allow you to brainwash me and claim that you are helping my children and grandchildren? Don’t play with people’s minds. We are not toys, we are human beings, we have the capacity to think. Don’t insult our intelligence,” she said.

“I know they carried me to war because I honestly said I hadn’t read the bills. I saw no need for me to read the bills because the bills in my humble opinion, in my very humble opinion, are not worth the paper they are printed on.

“Am I crazy, or I can’t read now? Why do you insult me and think that I must swallow drivel poured down my throat, incisively?

“Must I allow you to brainwash me and claim that you are helping my children and grandchildren? Who are you helping and what is the purpose of all this waste of time, money and energy?

“I am not a part of the ‘no’ vote campaign, I simply said what Joan Sawyer would do. I am not trying to tell you how to vote. But I am not going to vote for nonsense. It is time we get it right, we need to raise the level of debate.”

Dame Joan, who is also a former chief justice, also accused the government of dumbing-down the population.

“We are dealing with human beings and we are trying to establish a code of decency and public and moral conduct. You cannot build a country on immoral conduct, you not build it.

“I don’t care what they say, you must have a firm moral base. When England was Christian it conquered one-third of the world. Where are they now? When Spain was Christian how much did it have? Where is it now? America is imploding. America is at war with itself.”

Dame Joan said that global and local standards should not be changed to align with “personal problems.”

“Standards must stay in place, they are set as goals for which we ought to strive. Not as soon as it suits us, put them on one side and then we accommodate whoever. Where will it end?

“What happened to us? Are we so enamoured (by) this thing called money that we have forgotten who we are? How important we are as people? How important life is? How important it is to strive for excellence? Are we going to always consider going with the lowest common denominator rather than the highest common factor?”

Advance polls for the gender equality referendum were held yesterday.

General voting is scheduled for next Tuesday across the country.

Comments

ThisIsOurs 3 years, 8 months ago

She is right about one thing, you cannot set your standards by what other people are doing. It's the worst rationale ever. Btw, I believe she's right about everything

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 8 months ago

We need more Dame Joans in our legal profession ........... very few of them are using their profession to add quality to our citizenry .......... most of them are just greedy, crooked hogs

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jackbnimble 3 years, 8 months ago

I watched her whole speech on Facebook and it gave me goose pimples. I am so glad she added her voice to this debate and with her understanding of the law and the ramifications, I can see why she drew this conclusion. I am even more persuaded to vote NO. Go Dame!

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jt 3 years, 8 months ago

So everyone is in support of a woman who has formed an opinion without even reading the bills? This country is insane.

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jackbnimble 3 years, 8 months ago

She admitted that in the beginning she did not read them but when she did she was more distressed and knew they were a waste of time.

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Economist 3 years, 8 months ago

I watched her presentation.

She gave a reasonable background on the Darcy Ryan case but is unaware of the full story as to the advice first received and his decision to go with a lawyer who wanted to make political points.

Darcy Ryan would have got his citizenship much sooner if he had not been persuaded to play politics. His earlier counsel wanted to use a more subtle yet more effective approach.

She did not put the whole matter in the context of the true political atmosphere of the day. I believe that she did not do so because she was naïve of it as she was never affected by it.

Her interpretation of article 15 need to be considered with comments made by Sean McWeeney and Fred Smith.

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Publius 3 years, 8 months ago

Why didnt Joan say that in 2001 since Bill#4 is the same Bill unanimously passed in 2001 for the 2002 referendum? Oh, let me guess...

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 8 months ago

She was an Ingrahamite???????????? .......... HAI Ref. question was more general in nature but almost identical in motive

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Publius 3 years, 8 months ago

You are back with this foolishness again? It is the same amendment.

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Zakary 3 years, 8 months ago

  • It is the same amendment.

I would not say that it is the same amendment. If I remember correctly, the 2002 referendum sought to insert the word “gender” into Article 26, while this referendum seeks to insert the word “sex”. Now depending on who you talk to, those are two very different things.

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Publius 3 years, 8 months ago

It is the same article being amended to include reference to male and female is what I am referring to. The FNM's Bill did use gender instead of sex, which was the wrong term to use Constitutionally and legally and actually would then have given rise to sexual orientation being factored into our laws for the first time, since gender is what you feel you are in addition to or as opposed to what you may be biologically. "Gender" does not exist anywhere in our laws or our Constitution for this very reason, and because we follow English Common Law on the definition of sex. English Common Law defines sex as being what you are biologically. So ironically, the FNM's Bill was even more controversial by its insertion of "gender" instead of "sex". Sex is actually the correct term for our laws . Funny Joan did not point that very critical error of legislation out on the part of the FNM, but let me guess why...

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Zakary 3 years, 8 months ago

  • It is the same amendment.

  • It is the same article being amended to include reference to male and female is what I am referring to.

So we agree that it is a different amendment, but to the same article?

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viewersmatters 3 years, 8 months ago

well said, we the people need to hear both the pros and cons of these bills we dont need to just hear yes vote but give us a fear honest understanding and debate give each sides eqaul rights to spread the word and if most people favors yes or no the would vote. but to use our children and equal rights for a referendum to grant citizenship is kinda disappointing we the people just need the honest truth and for government to respect out intelligence and not always look as us as D averages. Vote not o influences but clear your minds ad vote on what you think is right and best for the Bahamas and our future.

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SP 3 years, 8 months ago

............... Dame Joan Sawyer Displays Rare Fortitude Among Dissenting Elites ..............

While an overwhelmingly vast amount of aristocratic individuals share and totally agree with Joan Sawyer's analogy, they continue cowering in silence when the country and people need them most!

These learned cowards are more concerned with "fitting in" and maintaining "shoulder rubbing" status with the powers that be than utilizing their status of national respect to voice opinions unpopular with their political peers, regardless of having the knowledge that the whole country will suffer.

Their silence is deafening and is the main reason corruption flourishes in our country from the high office of PM down to the city dump.

I applaud and highly congratulate Dame Joan Sawyer for breaking the long too old mold of tongue in cheek silence among learned individuals, and exhibiting the moral strength and perseverance to STAND UP and publicly articulate that which must be pronounced for the benefit of people and country.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing"

- Edmund Burke

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EnoughIsEnough 3 years, 8 months ago

what an idiotic woman. at times like these i am ashamed of my fellow countrymen. she has an opinion without reading the bills? and you all support her? are you all living under a rock? do you really believe that in a country so backwards thinking, so intolerant, so judgemental, so ignorant, so full of hate for others, that our politicians have a secret agenda to support the LGBTQ movement (which by the way is very small and insignficant compared to the number of paedophiles and child molesters living among you)? seriously? how ridiculous can you people be? this is about equal rights for all -men and women, regardless of who you want to sleep with. regardless of how much you have cheated on your wife, regardless of how many outside children you have and don't care for, regardless of who you choose to love or whether you want to wear dresses or pants. This country, where once upon a time the black man was not permitted into certain restaurants, stores, movie theatres, where black men were once slaves due to the same level of ignorance and pathetic justification - really people? You want to judge others with the same pathetic yardstick by which you were judged (and found unacceptable and inhumane) yet now it's okay. Wow, just wow, what a great bunch of "christians" you are...

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viewersmatters 3 years, 8 months ago

why is it the anyone who disagrees with any of these bills being lambasted and castigated. do we hear any of the no vote discriminating anyone who supports any of the bills? simply all that they are doing is giving thier views and opinion of the bills. can we not living in a Democracy country where we can freely voice our opinions and say how we feel? why do name calling at any body who just want their voice to be heard, how much level of ignorance are we displaying by trying to take away the voice of any man, woman, child even foreigner? why call someone ignorant just for expressing how they feel? should the Yes supporters be allowed to continue to to try to stamp the free thinking people who disagree with their feelings? how ignorant is that.

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sunshine242 3 years, 8 months ago

I sincerely hope you have a job cause the foolishness you trying to make sense out of could only buy you comfort in hell. Its not the people who are backward its you who is being misled...only a fool breaks his own heart ...ponder well

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