Equal Protection of the Law: The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities) Act, 2014, Bahamas

Bernadette Bain


The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities) Act, 2014 is a new and informative piece of legislation, the purpose of which is to provide equal opportunities for persons with disabilities. This paper explores the basis of the Act, which has its foundation in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The legislation further facilitates the rights and freedoms provided under the Bahamian Constitution, and underscores fundamental rights.

This analysis of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities) Act, 2014, examines the nature and scope of equal rights and whether the Act provides adequate enforcement. The aim of the provisions is to restrict discrimination against persons with disabilities by providing opportunities on an equal basis and to require persons having dealings with the disabled to accommodate their needs. It is questionable whether the Act fulfils its purpose and whether penalties for failure to comply with the Act are adequate, as there is a lacuna or gap in the law, which hinders purposeful rights.


People with disabilities - Legal status, laws, etc. ; Rights and freedoms; Enforcement

Full Text:

PDF Full text


Bahamas National Council for Disability [Web page]. (2015). http://www.bncdbahamas.org

Bahamas. Ministry of Housing & Social Development. (1996). National policy statement for persons with disabilities.

Bahamas. Ministry of Housing & Social Development. (1999). Report of the National Task Force on Disability.

Clark, M. (2012). The human right of the disabled to access justice: An imperative for policing. The Police Journal, 85(3), 221-234. https://doi.org/10.1350/pojo.2012.85.3.584

Ingraham, F. (2014, March 27). Bahamas disability bill one step closer to reality. The Bahamasweekly. http://www.thebahamasweekly.com/publish/local/Bahamas_Disability_Bill_one_step_closer_to_reality33958.shtml

Plimmer, M. (1998). Standing in someone else’s shoes: The incorporatio of the ECHR and the provision in the Human Rights Bill argues that there are lessons to be learnt from Commonwealth Caribbean constitutional law. The New Law Journal, 148(6848), 1026-1027.

Turnquest, A. (2014, June 5). Disability legislation defended. The Tribune. http://www.tribune242.com/news/2014/jun/05/disability-legislation-defended/

Vanhala, L. (2010). Twenty-five years of disability equality? Interpreting disability rights in the Supreme Court of Canada. Common Law World Review, 39(1), 27-47. https://doi.org/10.1350/clwr.2010.39.1.0194

Cases, Conventions and Law Reports

Bahamas Independence Order: The Constitution (1973) Bahamas (No. 1080). http://laws.bahamas.gov.bs/cms/images/LEGISLATION/SUBORDINATE/1973/1973-1080/TheBahamasIndependenceOrder1973_1.pdf

Bishop of Roman Catholic Diocese of Port Louis v. Tengur, (Mauritius) (2004). UKPC 9. http://www.saflii.org/mu/cases/UKPC/2004/9.pdf

Commissioner of Police v. Davis (1993) 3 WLR 846.

Council of Civil Service Unions v. Minister for the Civil Service (1985) 1 AC 374.

De Freitas v. Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Lands and Housing (1999) 1 AC 69.

European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. (1953). Retrieved from http://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Convention_ENG.pdf

Matadeen v. M. G. C. Pointu (Mauritius) (1998) UKPC 9. Retrieved from http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKPC/1998/9.html

Minister of Home Affairs v. Fisher (1980) AC 319.

Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities) Act (2014) Bahamas (No. 31 of 2014). http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/ELECTRONIC/90308/120377/F-1133270545/BHS90308.pdf]

Police v. Rose (1976) MR 79.

R. (Razgar) v. Secretary of State for the Home Dept. (2004) UKHL 27.

R. v. Oakes (1986) 1 SCR 103.

Société United Docks v. Government of Mauritius (1985) AC 585.

Thornhill v. Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago (1980) 31 WIR 61 PC, 2 WLR 510.

United Nations. (1948). Universal declaration of human rights. http://daccess-ddsny.un.org/doc/RESOLUTION/GEN/NR0/043/8 8/IMG/NR004388.pdf?OpenElement

United Nations. General Assembly. (2006). Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. http://www.un.org/disabilities/

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15362/ijbs.v22i0.267

Copyright (c) 2016 Bernadette Bain