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The Bahamas - Flag Legislation

Last modified: 2012-03-17 by zoltán horváth
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Flags and Coat of Arms Regulations - 1973

While discussing off-line the construction of the flag of the Bahamas, Zach Harden pointed me to the on line version of the Bahamian flag act and while looking around I understood that there are two more legislations regulating the flags in Bahamas which should be of our interest. Some of the flag described there are known to us, some are vaguely known and others are, as far as I am aware, not previously reported . There are no illustrations in the legislation (except when noted further on).

Flags and Coat of Arms (Regulation) Act (Chapter 32), assent 4 July 1973, commencement 10 July, 1973
http://laws.bahamas.gov.bs/cms/images/LEGISLATION/PRINCIPAL/1973/1973-0020/FlagsandCoatofArmsRegulationAct_1.pdf
This is the act introducing the modern Bahamian flag, its full name is: An Act to regulate the use of the National Flag, the Governor-General's Flag, the Prime Minister's Flag and the Coat of Arms of The Bahamas and to provide for matters incidental to or connected therewith.
The Schedule (Section 2(1)) of the Act provides blazons of the flag, Governor-General's flag, Prime-Minister's flag and the Coat of Arms of the Bahamas.

"PART I
The following is a description of the National Flag of The Bahamas -- Azure a Fess Or issuing from the dexter a Pile Sable.
PART II
The following is a description of the Governor-General's Flag -- Azure representation of the Royal Crest proper ensigning a scroll or inscribed Commonwealth of The Bahamas in Letters Sable.
PART III
The following is a description of the Prime Minister's Flag -- Azure a Fess Or issuing from the dexter a Pile Sable charged in the sinister with a Mace erect counterchanged over a Sun in Basem.
PART IV
The following is a description of the Coat of Arms of The Bahamas -- Arms: Upon a representation of the Santa Maria on a base barry wavy of four Azure and Argent on a Chief Azure demisun Or. Crest: Upon a representation of Our Royal Helmet mantled Azure doubled Argent on a Wreath Or and Azure. A Conch Shell proper in front of a Panache of Palm  Fronds proper.
Supporters: On the dexter side a Marlin proper and on the sinister side a Flamingo proper; and upon a Compartment per pale Waves of the Sea and Swampland proper. Motto: "Forward, Upward, Onward Together".

This unfortunately do no include drawings, as mentioned, and the Bahamian flag is nowhere defined in any more details then the above, i.e. the construction sheet that we provide (and others) is based solely on the flags in use (which seems to be rather consistent, I would guess - to a certain level :).
Željko Heimer, 11 January 2012


Flags and Coat of Arms Regulations - 1991

In 1991 a further regulations were issued, defining the bunch of flags that we know about (and a few more), but this provide not only the blazons, but also exact names and intended uses of these flags:
Flags and Coat of Arms Regulations, 1991, 1 November 1991, Chapter 32 - Section 7
http://laws.bahamas.gov.bs/cms/images/LEGISLATION/SUBORDINATE/1991/1991-0089/FlagsandCoatofArmsRegulations1991_1.pdf
The most interesting in it is the Part III titled "Other flags"  determining: the Senate Flag (including its use as the car flag by the president of the Senate), the House of Assembly Flag (and the car flag of the Speaker), the Minister's Flag, the flags for use by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (5 flags), Bahamas Prison Service Flag, the flags "flown on certain Government vessels and merchant ships" ("the 'blue' ensign", not named so in the Regulations), the flag for use on private vessels owned by Bahamians and on merchant ships having Bahamian registry ("the 'red' ensign", not named so in the Regulations), the stem jack for use on private vessels owned by Bahamians and on merchant ships having Bahamian registry ("the 'red' jack, not named so in the Regulations).

I guess that the quote from the Regulations is due here:
"FIRST SCHEDULE
PART I (Regulation 13)
Senate Flag
The Coat of Arms of The Bahamas in the centre of a red background.
PART II (Regulation 15)
House of Assembly Flag
The Coat of Arms of The Bahamas in the centre of a green background.
PART III (Regulation 17)
Ministers' Flag
The National Flag of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas to the dexter on a roundel argent a representation of the Arms of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas proper.
PART IV (Regulation 18)
The Royal Bahamas Defence Force Flags
Senior Officers Pennant
Vert a Pale Argent
White Ensign
Argent a Cross throughout Gules in the first quarter Azure a Fess or overall a Pile issuing from the dexter Sable
Commissioning Pennant
A Pennant in the hoist Argent a Cross Vert the fly also Argent
Commodores Pennant
A forked Pennant Argent throughout a Cross Vert and in the first quarter a Roundel also Vert
The Jack
Azure a Fess or Overall a Pile issuing from the dexter Sable
PART V (Regulation 19)
The Bahamas Prison Service Flag
A wreath surrounding two crossed keys and the words "Bahamas Prison Service" in gold letters in the centre of a green background
PART VI (Regulation 20)
Unarmed Government-owned Vessels and Merchant Ships Flags Flown by Warrant An upright and horizontal band of dark blue crossing at the centre on a white background with a representation of the National Flag of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas in the top left hand corner against the mast Gules a Cross Argent throughout in the first quarter a representation of the National Flag of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas proper
PART VII (Regulation 21)
Flag for use on Private Vessels Owned by Bahamians and Merchant Ships having Bahamian Registry
An upright and horizontal band of white crossing at the centre on a red background with a representation of the National Flag of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas in the top left hand corner against the mast Gules a Cross Argent throughout in the first quarter a representation of the National Flag of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas proper
PART VIII (Regulation 22)
Stem Jack for use on Private Vessels Owned by Bahamians and Merchant Ships having Bahamian Registry, which may be Flown while in any Port, while at Anchor or when not Underway A swallow tailed flag consisting of an upright and horizontal band of white crossing at the centre on a red background with a representation of the National Flag of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas in the top left hand corner against the mast
Gules a Cross Argent throughout in the first quarter a representation of the National Flag of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas proper"
Željko Heimer
, 11 January 2012


Customs Management - 1989

And finally, we have the Customs Management (Appointment of Customs' Seal and Flag Notice), Chapter 293 (Section 5), 19 January 1989
http://laws.bahamas.gov.bs/cms/images/LEGISLATION/SUBORDINATE/1989/1989-0007/CustomsManagementAppointmentofCustomsSealandFlagNotice_1.pdf
This includes the b/w drawing of the flag: if I interprete it right a yellow 3:5 flag with the badge of the Bahamas Customs in the canton from which are issuing toward the edges of the flag seven blue expanding rays, fimbriated black. My interpretation of this only an attempt needing a confirmation.
Željko Heimer, 11 January 2012