Shadow Attorney General Richard Lightbourn told delegates at the Free National Movement (FNM) convention last night The Bahamas should consider tying the tubes of unwed mothers who depend on the state to raise their children.
Lightbourn said it is necessary “for us as a nation to consider adopting the lead of several countries in the world which results in an unwed mother having her tubes tied after having more than two children which would in the end result in fewer children being born”.
He said, “The state should not have the burden of paying for the upbringing of children.
“By adopting such measures, there would be [fewer] classrooms needed in the future and [fewer] persons coming out of school every year seeking employment and would also result in the mother of these children being able to live a better life not having to bring up so many children.”
In response, FNM Chairman Sidney Collie released a statement last night stressing that Lightbourn’s comments were personal and do not reflect the position of the FNM.
“The FNM does not believe in restricting anyone’s
“It is said that 5,000 children leave school each year so this would suggest that the birth rate is in that area.
“Many young women have five and six children, many of whom are born out of wedlock. Many of the fathers of those children have little involvement in the child’s upbringing either emotional or financial. The laws of our country and the legal system [are] such that the father is not likely to be compelled to assist financially in the upbringing of the child.
“An FNM government would introduce legislation which would enable a court to deduct from a father’s pay check an amount to be paid directly to the mother of the child, and in this way the father would consider carefully the consequences of having an unprotected relationship and in all likelihood reduce the number of children born in The Bahamas.”
An overview of the data collected by the Department of Statistics on births in The Bahamas over the last 40 years shows that women, domestic and foreign-born, are having fewer children. That information was released back in 2012.
The data in the births report, collated from 1970 through 2010, showed that with a population of about 170,000 in 1970, there were 4,894 live births recorded.
Juxtapose those numbers against the 5,362 live births recorded among a population of more than 340,000 in 2010, and the downward shift is apparent.
The report also showed that the birth rate fell almost 50 percent, from 28.8 births per 1,000 persons to 15.8 births per 1,000 persons from 1970 through 2010.
Lightbourn told delegates that until the crime situation in The Bahamas is addressed, it will continue to affect adversely every aspect of life in The Bahamas.
Speaking of the zero tolerance approach an FNM government would take, Lightbourn said, “We have heard this theory mentioned on several occasions by certain parliamentarians and several law enforcement officers, but unfortunately there has been little evidence of the adoption of a zero-tolerance policy.
“There is also a need for everyone to understand that zero tolerance means what it says, so even if you are a relative of the prime minister or the commissioner of police, the law applies to you.
“The policy of zero tolerance was the cornerstone by which Major [Rudy] Guiliani and his chief of police turned crime around in the City of New York, and there is no reason why such a policy would not be effective in The Bahamas.
“This will be the cornerstone of the FNM’s crime initiative.”
In opposition, the Progressive Liberal Party promised to make communities safer for Bahamians. But the problem remains a serious concern for many, with a murder record at the end of 2015.
Lightbourn said “persons anxiously anticipate the collapse of this government and there will be great rejoicing in the streets when they fall”.
“The anxiety has slackened because the country knows that relief is around the corner and not one of those economic corners that the prime minister suggests that we have turned,” he said.
With FNM elections set for today, Lightbourn, who supports the leadership team of Loretta Butler-Turner and Dr. Duane Sands, said there is every desire by all elements in the party to leave this convention energized and united in a solid purpose to save The Bahamas from the PLP government.
“However, as we enter into the final phase of this convention, let us all remember that at this moment in time, we have no leader, we have no deputy leader, we have no treasurer, and we have no chairman and the purpose of the convention is to elect those officers, so let us all leave our minds open to the process,” he said.
“We owe no allegiance to anyone at this time. However, when the selection is made, we need to take into account the voice of the people throughout the length and breadth of our archipelago so that we can ensure that we will move forward with the strongest team possible to take us to victory in the general election.
“So FNM’s, let us make that choice and leave here united in that goal.”