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The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) and the Free National Movement (FNM) are institutions in The Bahamas. Many people inherit their political affiliation to these parties. Grandmothers tell stories of Pindling doing this or that. Grandfathers tell stories of fighting to wrestle control of this country from what they believed to be a 'wicked' PLP. The bodies of some Bahamians are laid out in political headquarters when they die - an extraordinary symbol of allegiance to the party.
The fledgling Democratic National Alliance (DNA) is fighting for recognition in this environment. The party is running a full slate of candidates and wants to be recognized as a possible government of The Bahamas.
Last night the party held The People's Summit at Wyndham Cable Beach Resort. The event was televised and broadcast on radio. DNA supporters were out in green cheering for their party -- and a reasonable number of people seemed to be in attendance.
What is interesting about the upstart party is that in a short time it has found the resources and support to at least look like a party. It takes money to be televised and to purchase ads and paraphernalia.
The party last night officially named Chris Mortimer its deputy leader. Mortimer is the CEO of Galleria Cinemas. The party has been able to attract well-known Bahamians, such as Mortimer and attorney Wayne Munroe, as candidates.
It is unlikely that the DNA will be successful in its ultimate goal -- winning the general election. However, it seems as if the party will make an impact in the popular vote count.
If the DNA is able to claim as much as 15 percent of the vote, it would essentially ensure based on the perceived closeness of the support of the PLP/FNM that the party that wins the election and forms the next government would have less than a majority. In fact, the new government could only secure in the low 40 percent range of votes cast.
Bahamians should be pleased that more people are offering themselves for elected office. In a democracy we all should do more than complain. The more choice we have as voters the more dynamic our system becomes.
No one should attack independent candidates or third party candidates just because they are trying to make a difference. Ask them questions and investigate their records. If you like the candidate or party, extend your support. If not, choose someone else or another party.
Again, we urge those who have not yet registered to vote to do so. Once Parliament is dissolved only the people who registered up to the day before it is dissolved will be allowed to vote.
Politicians, media and the Parliamentary Registration Department have all urged potential voters to register. Those who do not plan to vote may change their minds on Election Day. If you register, you have the option to change your mind. If you don't, you cannot.
Kingdom - The much-anticipated upcoming general election is expected to
be formally called and Parliament dissolved by Prime Minister the Rt.
Hon. Hubert A. Ingraham, within the next few weeks. Established youth
organization (organizers of the 'Say Something' youth forum), 'We Are
The Future' - A Youth Organization in conjunction with its election arm
'Truth Bahamas', wishes to engage those seeking election in discussion,
on the key issues currently affecting The Bahamas.
Free National Movement, the official opposition Progressive Liberal
Party and the newly formed Democratic National Alliance have now all
officially launched their candidates. It would, therefore, appear that
the three political...
The parties are almost ready, and most of the country is too, for the next general election. Though the prime minister has until May to call the vote, it is expected that he will do so before then.
Based on the registration numbers thus far, more Bahamians will be eligible to vote in 2012 than the 150,000 on the voting list in 2007. Included in that eligible voter number are the bases of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) and Free National Movement (FNM). For whatever reasons, these people will vote for the party they are aligned to regardless of who it selects as candidates and regardless of who leads it.
The swing voters, who change their minds from time to time, will largely determine the next government.
For the swing voters who are undecided or confused, we offer a few simple suggestions to help in your evaluation process.
It would be wise to initially define what you think are the biggest problems facing the country. Once this is done, examine the records of the parties on those issues. The leaders of the PLP and the FNM have been around a long time. They have clear track records on issues such as job creation and crime management. It does not take much thinking or research to evaluate the performance of each of the main parties, and their leaders, on issues of national concern.
What must then be analyzed is leadership itself. In the Westminster system in developing countries, significant power is concentrated in the hands of prime ministers. The man you elect would need to be competent, fair, energetic and enough of a visionary to help lift the country from its current malaise.
Does the leader inspire you? Do you think he cares about the country, or does he just want to be prime minister? Will he listen to the people once he is elected? Is the team around him competent? These are just some of the questions that should be considered.
Now, we mentioned the PLP and FNM. There is also a 'third party' in the race - that is, the Democratic National Alliance (DNA). Its leader is a one-term member of Parliament. What must be considered here is whether he and the members of his party are ready to govern.
We have discussed the macro-level of voting thus far, but another approach can be taken. There will be 38 constituency races. While many Bahamians vote for party or leader, it is just as reasonable to vote for the person you think best to represent you, your community and your interests.
Voting for party, leader or candidate is fine once the decision is a considered one. Voters should not just place their Xs next to candidates from particular parties because of, for example, family history.
To those who are disheartened by the choices before us this electoral cycle, do not become apathetic. Look closely before you decide not to vote. If none of the main players interest you, consider the lesser ones. Not voting should always be a last option.
What all Bahamians must remember is anything is possible at election time if the people are interested and open to making the change they desire. We vote in governments. We vote them out. No party or leader is guaranteed anything on election day. We must work hard during these upcoming weeks to ensure that the best government for The Bahamas is chosen. And when this is done, we must work just as hard to ensure that the people who make up that government do what they were elected to do.
By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
THE union representing City Markets workers has said it would welcome the sale of the struggling food store chain if it meant saving jobs, officials telling Tribune Business that discouraged employees were leaving the chain every week.
Bahamas Commercial Stores and Warehouse Workers Union (BCSWWU) executive, Rosalie McKenzie, said salary payments for City Markets were lagging two weeks behind, with management struggling to meet payroll. The Finlayson family, in a recent interview with Tribune Business, confirmed they were in talks with three separate parties over the sale of a majority controlling interest in the five ...
It was on that fateful day, August 2, 2003, when the motor vessels United Star and Sea Hauler collided at sea. It was an August Monday holiday weekend and the Sea Hauler was full of passengers traveling to Cat Island. That day has been described as the worst in the maritime history of The Bahamas. Due to the collision, four persons lost their lives and 25 were injured - some seriously, losing limbs.
What did the Christie-led Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) government do at the time to help the many victims and their families? Absolutely nothing.
In fact, more than three years later, the then Ministry of Transport and Aviation released a statement on December 22, 2006, days before Christmas and another new year following the tragedy, stating among other things that, "the government will continue to take all legal avenues to resolve this matter. All parties are encouraged to join with the government in seeking a resolution to this matter in a manner consistent with the law of the land."
In plain language the PLP did nothing, and worse, intended to do nothing to, as they say, "wipe the tear from every eye" of the victims and their families. The PLP had an opportunity to give real meaning to those words and demonstrate care and compassion. Instead, they did nothing. The above statement by the then PLP government was in response, at the time, to demands for compensation by the families and the injured persons.
It was the FNM government, led by Hubert A. Ingraham, just a year after being elected on May 2, 2007, that set up a fund of $1 million to truly relieve some of the suffering of the victims of the tragic Sea Hauler incident and their families.
Not only did the compassionate and progressive FNM government make the $1 million available to the victims and their families, it also agreed to have the past and future medical expenses incurred at any governmental health facility be paid by the government.
We are reminded of the straw market fire on September 4, 2001, a mere eight months before the May 2002 general election. While the FNM was in government, in the months leading up to the general election, the Christie-led PLP strongly criticized it for not rebuilding the market.
Ironically though, the Christie-led PLP won the May 2002 election and for five years to the day, May 2007, they failed to rebuild the market. Incredibly, they did not even commence its reconstruction. And they had the brass to make an issue of eight months. Worse, the same make shift and intended temporary arrangements the FNM government put in place for the straw vendors during the eight-month period, remained their workplace for the duration of the PLP's term from 2002-2007.
We all know that it was this compassionate and progressive FNM government, in this term, during the worst economic conditions the world has faced since the Great Depression of 1929, rebuilt the market for the straw vendors who had to endure the elements in the same intended temporary arrangement over five years under the PLP government.
It is an irony, because in the main, the straw vendors (not all of them) are thought to be supporters of the PLP. But the PLP did nothing for them. It took a FNM government to wipe away the tears of every straw vendor and to bring true relief to all of them.
The opportunity for tertiary education has been a thorny issue in this country because the prevailing view under the 25-year governance of the Pindling-led PLP was that unless you were connected to the PLP in some way, "you needed not apply". Famous words of the PLP today.
Today many qualified Bahamians, regardless of party affiliation, receive scholarships, funds that are not repaid. If you meet the academic criteria, you can receive at least $7,500 and up to $40,000 per year to study abroad for a four-year degree. No questions asked about who your family might be or who you may know in the governing party. Due to the FNM government those days are gone, and thankfully so.
The Christie-led PLP government awarded a grand total of $1.7 million in scholarship funds from 2002-2007. The current FNM government awarded, inclusive of the current school year, $28 million in scholarships. In fact, this school year alone more than $8 million has been awarded. That is almost five times the entire term of the Christie government and 20 times that of their last year.
So who's for the 'small man'? The facts speak ever more loudly than all the PLP talk: Hubert Ingraham and the Free National Movement.
- Michael A. Foulkes,
secretary general, FNM
By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
The Finlayson family yesterday confirmed they are in talks with three separate parties over the sale of a majority controlling interest in the five-store City Markets chain, telling Tribune Business that beyond their existing $19 million injection their "appetite is just not there" for further investment.
Mark Finlayson, principal of the Finlayson family-owned Trans-Island Traders vehicle, which holds a 78 per cent stake in City Markets' operating parent, Bahamas Supermarkets, said the family's focus was on saving the supermarket chain's 450 jobs, but warned the company "may not survive in its present form".
Hinting that some po ...
Chief of the Electoral Observation Mission (EOM) of the Organization of
American States (OAS) in Guyana, Professor Gordon Shirley, highlighted
today to the Permanent Council "the significant efforts made by the
Guyanese Electoral Commission (GECOM) to improve procedures and execute
an overall inclusive and clean electoral process," and commended "the
high level of training and dedication exhibited by GECOM staff in the
The report of the Electoral Observation Mission
(EOM) that accompanied the general and regional elections held on
November 28, 2011, underscores as a positive aspect of the campaign
period the GECOM's efforts to adopt Codes of Conduct for both political
parties and media and the reopening of the GECOM's Media Monitoring
Unit. In terms of campaign financing, the report noted the positive
steps toward creating
In past columns, we have examined the ideal in several areas of politics, including the ideal leader, the ideal nation, the ideal electorate and the ideal media. Today we would like to Consider This...what is the ideal we should be striving for in a political campaign?
Firstly, we want to look at what a campaign should not be. It should not simply be an excuse for a concert, although concerts have their place and are integral to our campaigns, figuring prominently into our political culture. However, the ideal campaign is not only about concerts, nor are they occasions for public drunkenness or other rowdy, anti-social and uncouth behavior. Campaigns should not be looked upon, as we have heard several candidates from different parties suggest to their followers, as a time to enrich ourselves financially while still voting our consciences, or in Bahamian nomenclature, "take the money but vote for the party of your choice." In other words, the ideal political campaign should not be about bribery. An ideal campaign is not all about how many flags we can fly on our vehicles, pins we can display, stickers we can affix to our car bumpers and T-shirts we can wear.
The ideal campaign is neither noisy nor unruly. It is not about shaking the hands of those who come to you for your vote without delving deeply into their minds, motives, morals and messages.
No, the ideal campaign should be a time when you, the voter, earnestly and deliberately decide what it is you want to see your government accomplish for you, as a Bahamian, for your community in particular and for the nation as a whole. The ideal campaign is an occasion when you set the priorities of what you want to hear from the candidates who are all competing to be the stewards of your future for five uninterrupted years.
When we talk about setting priorities, we don't mean just being satisfied with hearing, for example, that candidates will "deal with crime". In an ideal campaign, candidates must come with the specifics of their plans for dealing with what it is that you feel is important for your well-being and that of your family and the country.
In an ideal campaign, the voters' time would not be wasted hearing a list of the candidate's old successes or the old failures of their opponents. In an ideal campaign, the discussion would be focused on what successes the candidate is planning for the voters' future.
In the ideal campaign, candidates will be clear about establishing milestones and yardsticks for their performance if they are successful. Candidates who are serious about serving the people whom they seek to represent would not be reluctant to set criteria by which they can be judged as to whether they are successful during their term in office. Candidates who are sincere about representing people would have no fear whatsoever about being judged and critiqued on their performances, knowing that constructive criticism can only make them better as they go about their job, which is, first and foremost, building a secure and successful Bahamas.
Campaigning with ideas
It is not difficult to determine whether candidates are serious about discussing the issues that are important to voters. There is a positive correlation between the quantity of mud-slinging in which candidates engage and the level of frustration and desperation that they experience on the stump. If a candidate is confident that his message is resonating with the electorate, then the focus would be placed on a discussion of that message and the issues it addresses, as well as the candidate's vision for the future. If, on the other hand, the candidate is desperate, the amount of mud that is slung and the depths to which a candidate sinks to make his point will dominate his campaign, clearly demonstrating his lack of understanding of the issues that we all regard as important. Accordingly, voters should take note of which candidates take the high road on the campaign trail, addressing the issues substantively, and those who sink to the depths of vitriolic invectives, or mud-slinging, in order to make their points to seek your support.
Political campaigns in The Bahamas present many opportunities for gossip and innuendo to abound. The rumor mill is rampant during the silly season. And often the more salacious the scandal, the more some people seem to revel in unfounded or unsubstantiated twaddle. In an ideal campaign, candidates would spend far too much time talking about what matters that they would simply have no time left to indulge in rumor-mongering. In campaigns, as in life, the idle hands, or, in this case, the idle candidates' tongues, are truly playgrounds for the devil.
Increasingly, in the ideal campaign, political debates should figure more prominently. This not only includes debates by the parties' leaders but also by constituency candidates. True, party leaders must be prepared to debate each other on the issues that will affect us all, and if they are not prepared to debate the issues they do not deserve to be seriously considered by the electorate.
Additionally, voters must be able to evaluate individual candidates in their own right because it should be a team of leaders who will govern us, not just the party leader. In future elections, the cult of personality which has punctuated previous polls and the prodigious primacy of the party leader must diminish and the importance of the team will increase. What better method is there to evaluate the team than to be able to assess them on the issues that they will be able to address in public debates?
In the ideal campaign, the candidates will no longer be selected because of connections, lineage and past precedent. In the ideal political campaign, candidates will be selected by the political parties because they possess strength of character and commitment to service. These attributes will be the primary considerations in their selection as standard-bearers. These qualities will be a welcome departure from many of the past and some of the current candidates, and should greatly improve the quality of representation, ridding us of the despicable behavior all too often observed in Parliament.
The ideal campaign will feature a majority of enlightened, intelligent, knowledgeable, and ethical political candidates who will inspire the Bahamian people toward greater dedication, helping to mold the society in more fulfilling and positive directions.
In the ideal campaign, if we take democracy seriously, without the die-hard allegiance to partisanship that perpetuates a polarized polity, we will come to fully appreciate that the ultimate responsibility for the welfare of our society does not rest entirely with the candidates who offer for office. Ultimately the ideal campaign will truly confirm that our future really rests with us.
oPhilip C. Galanis is the managing partner of HLB Galanis & Co., Chartered Accountants, Forensic & Litigation Support Services. He served 15 years in Parliament. Please send your comments to email@example.com.
The election season is well in full force in The Bahamas. All of the major political parties have cranked up their machinery and politicians are making their presence felt on the talk show circuit. No one would argue that crime and the economy are two of the biggest concerns on the electorate's mind as we move toward the 2012 general election. However, politicians should not make the mistake of campaigning on these issues alone. The Bahamian electorate want answers and proposed policies on a multitude of issues including immigration, exploration of natural resources for economic benefit and future plans to address our failing education system. One of the issues that the next government of The Bahamas must confront is the more than half a century topic of gambling by Bahamians in The Bahamas.
Gambling no doubt is one of the most controversial topics of discussion in The Bahamas. There are many proponents and critics. It remains uncertain, however, what percentage of the Bahamian population is for or against legalizing gambling by Bahamians. The reality is that we as a nation continue to go round and round in circles on this matter, while thousands of Bahamians patronize the multitude of what are commonly referred to as 'number houses' in The Bahamas.
An argument against the legalization is that it will bring with it a myriad of social issues that are opposed to Christian values and will cause a decadence in Bahamian society. While it is accepted among some that gambling may not be an outright sin in the Bible, gambling done in excess is sinful.
Others opposed to the legalization of gambling have put forth an economic argument claiming that gambling is an open form of regressive taxation that will affect those of the lower income brackets more than those of the middle and upper class. As a result, those of the lower income class will fail to take care of their financial obligations at home such as paying necessary bills and caring for their families. A perception exists that individuals below the poverty line gamble more than persons who are not poor. However, studies in America suggest that the reverse is true as it was found that more persons of the middle class played the lottery as opposed to those of the lower income class.
Proponents of legalizing gambling assert that government cannot legislate morality. Further, proponents claim that there are many potential benefits including an increase in government revenue which can contribute toward charitable purposes, infrastructure and most notably education. Advocates of the legalization of gambling also argue that it is another legitimate source of income for a government that has limited ability to increase its revenue intake. Although this argument has been successful in persuading a lot of Americans to vote in favor of a national lottery, it was found that the eventual revenue was not utilized in the manner that many had hoped for. For instance, the additional revenue from the lottery did in fact go towards education; however, many states reduced or offset the allocation to the educational budget against revenue received from the lottery. Hence, the education budget was not increased overall but education was merely funded by another source of revenue. To remedy this effect, a few states in America have passed legislation to ensure that a certain percentage of revenue received from the lottery is allocated for the specific purpose of education. This ensures that the funds are used for the purpose intended on the one hand, and on the other hand it ensures that the states do not decrease their allocation to education.
The greatest issue with gambling in The Bahamas is the fact that there is much hypocrisy surrounding the point. Several decades ago, the government of the day approved policy for hoteliers and casino operators to provide gambling services, however casino gambling and 'playing numbers' was outlawed for Bahamians. It is interesting to note that civic organizations, churches and schools still have the ability to distribute raffle tickets as a major fundraiser. However, provisions have been made for such activities under the Gaming and Lotteries Act. Over the years, law enforcers have conducted random raids of 'number house' establishments in an attempt to discourage the practice of gambling by Bahamians otherwise called 'buying and selling numbers'. However, the truth of the matter is that neither the government nor the law enforcers have done an adequate job 'shutting down' the number houses.
There is widespread hypocrisy in that the government allows foreign investors to enter the country and provide amenities for casino gambling for their guests, but Bahamians though guests of these hotels quite often are unable to utilize these gambling facilities. It is unclear whether the operators of 'number houses' want gambling by Bahamians legalized. Any potential legalization will certainly decrease their profits, reduce market share and relinquish their current control to a government authority. Liberalization of the gambling market will foster competition and encourage the entrance of more competitors. Hoteliers and casino operators may not prefer any gambling policy that allows Bahamians to gamble not because of a threat to their market share, but because it will provide Bahamians with the licence to enter these establishments and patronize all the amenities just as the foreign tourists and non-residents do. Arguably, hoteliers and casino operators may not find such a policy good for their businesses.
It appears that there are arguably many special interests who prefer to keep the status quo. However, maintenance of the current state of affairs will increase hypocrisy and anarchy among Bahamians. It is advisable for the next government of The Bahamas to ascertain the gambling appetite of the Bahamian population and propose a referendum on the matter. We must take a "what is good for the goose is good for the gander approach".
Legal gambling in The Bahamas should benefit both Bahamians and non-residents alike. The same is true for illegal gambling; neither Bahamians nor non-residents should benefit. If Bahamians agree to legalize gambling, it follows that the government must take the necessary steps to comply with the wishes of the people. However, if the overwhelming response is to keep gambling by Bahamians illegal, the government and relevant government agencies must enforce the law and uphold the provisions of the Gaming and Lotteries Act. This is the essence of democracy - a government of the people, for the people and by the people.
Arinthia S. Komolafe is an attorney-at-law. Comments can be directed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The recent brouhaha over Bishop Drexel Gomez's participation at a recent Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) rally raised important issues of the involvement of clerics in politics, and the relationship between church and state, more of which at a later date.
Unfortunately, these and related issues were obscured by all manner of uncritical thinking. This included slipshod editorializing by this journal in its March 8 edition entitled, "Reasonableness, family and politics".
The editorial weighed into the debate with rushed judgement and little historical context seemingly making judgements based on a simplistic reading of the daily headlines rather than a closer reading of history.
The editorial was a textbook example of making poor analogies. It attempted to support its sloppy conclusion by equating and forcing a false equivalence between the involvement of Rev. Frederick McAlpine in politics and the attendance of Delores Ingraham at political events on the one hand, with Bishop Gomez's participation at the PLP rally on the other.
Mrs. Ingraham's attendance at such events is regulated by General Orders and long-held customs. Moreover, she is not a cleric or a religious leader. Further, this column has previously argued that clerics such as McAlpine should not be engaged in partisan politics for reasons similar for arguing that Bishop Gomez's rally attendance was an error of judgement.
This newspaper reported that Bishop Gomez stated of his participation at the political event: "I was there simply because I was invited by my brother, who was having the formal opening of his headquarters in Nicholl's [sic] Town."
The Nassau Guardian reported, "He [Bishop Gomez] pointed out that he stayed clear of political statements when he addressed PLP supporters." The paper quoted the bishop: "I felt I was the most appropriate person to make the presentation, as the older member of the family and the person who has been in the public domain."
Bishop Gomez continued: "I chose my comments very carefully. I only spoke about my brother and our family. I made no reference whatsoever to political issues or to political parties. My intention was simply to introduce him to the people at the formal opening of his headquarters."
The Guardian further reported: "Bishop Gomez said he exercised two rights when he spoke at the political event. The first being his constitutional right to speak in the public domain on public issues and the second being his religious right to comment on matters of justice and truth."
It is not the bishop's exercise of his right of freedom of speech that is being questioned. The concern is the poor exercise of his judgement in speaking at a partisan political event. Good judgement requires that one choose not only one's words carefully, but also one's appearances in both senses of the word.
Bishop Gomez also has a right to run for the House of Assembly, a right he is unlikely to exercise. Anglican priest Fr. Addison Turnquest once ran for the FNM. Though it was his constitutional right to do so, it was a poor exercise of judgement.
Constitutional rights come with duties.
This is captured in the adage that though a citizen has the right to speak, he or she does not have free reign to bogusly shout fire in a crowded theater. Moreover, our rights are exercised within the context of other obligations and the demands of prudence and restraint.
A priest has the right to go out dressed in clerical garb to nightclubs, drinking and dancing into the wee hours. But that priest risks giving confusion to the faithful and undermining his or her moral authority and the credibility of the wider communion he or she represents.
What The Guardian reported as Bishop Gomez's defense of his two rights, "his right to speak in the public domain on public issues" and "his religious right to comment on matters of justice and truth" begs for clarity.
What exactly was the religious right exercised by Bishop Gomez at the PLP rally? What matters of truth and justice did he address at the rally in light of his statement, "I only spoke about my brother and our family. I made no reference whatsoever to political issues or to political parties."
In pressing that he exercised his right to speak to matters of truth and justice, Bishop Gomez appears to be making an inference. Is the inference that his brother's candidacy as a member of the PLP will better advance the cause of truth and justice? Is this not an endorsement of his brother and the PLP?
Is it Bishop Gomez's contention that he in no way imagined that his remarks at the rally dressed as he was in clerical garb would carry any influence with voters in North Andros or The Bahamas in general? Is it his contention that his appearance would be seen as nonpartisan, even neutral, amidst a general election campaign?
All of this adds more holy confusion than blessed assurance for the faithful and observers seeking to understand Bishop Gomez's post-rally defense. The bishop's appearance at the rally in clerical garb added to the confusion for many.
Former Commissioner of Police Reginald Ferguson also had a brother in politics, Johnley Ferguson, who ran for the House of Assembly as a Free National Movement (FNM) candidate. Assuming that the former commissioner was in that post when his brother was running, would it have been appropriate for the former, dressed in his police uniform, to address a FNM rally to speak about his brother?
Of course, there is a prohibition against such a thing in General Orders. The reasons behind the prohibition are compelling. Among them, the risk of undermining one's authority and that of the institution one represents by giving the appearance of partisanship.
Would Bishop Gomez have spoken on behalf of his brother were he still the head of the Anglican Church in The Bahamas? It is extremely doubtful that even as the retired head of the Anglican Church that the late Bishop Michael Eldon would have spoken at a political rally to introduce a family member.
Suppose current Anglican head Bishop Laish Boyd had a sibling running for office. Would it be prudent for him to mount a partisan political platform in an election season to speak about that sibling and their family?
Bishop Gomez pleaded: "My intention was simply to introduce him to the people at the formal opening of his headquarters." In moral theology, as in normative ethics, one is judged by one's intentions and actions either of which or both of which may be flawed depending on the case at hand.
The four cardinal virtues in the Christian tradition are prudence, justice, temperance and courage.
Prudence is the virtue which helps to guide or balance the other virtues. A classic definition of prudence is the ability to "judge between actions with regard to appropriate actions at a given time". Restraint or temperance refers to "practicing self-control, abstention, and moderation".
For many, Bishop Gomez exercised neither prudence nor restraint by speaking at a partisan political rally. Before acting, a cleric must ask whether his or her actions will be an occasion of confusion for the faithful.
With the benefit of centuries of historical hindsight and chastened by its blurring of the lines between church and state, the Roman Catholic Church is clear about the restrictions on clerics and bishops involving themselves in the political process.
The likelihood of Archbishop Patrick Pinder even attending a political rally as the ordinary or as a retired archbishop of Nassau is next to nil. Any Catholic priest who went on a political platform with or without his clerical collar to speak about his sibling would make that mistake only once, if ever.
Adding to the confusion, were Bishop Gomez's comments after Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham suggested that Opposition Leader Perry Christie apologize for the attendance of the bishop at the rally. Though the prime minister's comments were not addressed to him, it was the bishop who responded in language that can only be described as bellicose.
As other religious leaders are calling for more civil dialogue and restraint, Bishop Gomez blustered that the prime minister would lose a fight with him. Is that the appropriate language and tone for the former head of the Anglican Diocese or for any religious leader?
In this entire matter Bishop Gomez has acquitted himself as a political partisan and combatant instead of as a moral leader. Many Anglicans are alarmed at his conduct. So too are many other people of good will and Christian faith.