Pastors say Bahamians have lost trust in govt

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September 13, 2014

Pastors Lyall Bethel of Grace Community Church and Alfred Stewart of New Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church yesterday encouraged Bahamians not to support any member of Parliament who votes in favor of the Gaming Bill, in the next general election.
Bethel, Stewart and several other prominent religious leaders have been sparring with Prime Minister Perry Christie over the gambling issue.
The pastors have pointed out that the majority of Bahamians who voted in a gambling referendum last year January voted no on the issue.
Bethel and Stewart repeated that Christie and his adminstration are "killing democracy" in The Bahamas by moving ahead to regularize the web shop industry.
"I think representatives need to understand that they represent the people, and when the people speak, they need to listen and govern themselves accordingly," Stewart said.
"I wish every person who votes in favor of this Gaming Bill [to] lose their seat and be replaced by men and women, who first and foremost fear God and are willing to represent the people of this nation."
Bethel made a similar statement.
When asked whether the government's decision to regularize the industry would impact its ability to return to office, Bethel said, "Absolutely.
They have lost.
"They can send their spin doctors out as much at they like and say black is white, and white is black...but Bahamians are watching.
"...The Bahamian people don't trust you anymore. You have lost integrity and I call on the prime minister to stop making this about whether you have faith or not.
"This is about principle and integrity. Stand by your integrity. Be known for your integrity.
"Let the country know that you are a man of integrity and that your word is your bond."
On Thursday, Christie, who was responding to several pastors who condemned the government's decision on the issue, said no religious leader in the world can give him a "passport to heaven".
He said whether or not people believe he is doing the right thing in regulating the web shop industry, it is not a "sinful action".
Both pastors said Christie's faith is not the issue.
Bethel said the prime minister appears to have missed the point.
"We told him, and we told him endlessly, it is an unprincipled thing for him as the prime minister of the country to go against the wishes of the people," Bethel said.
"We think that is the death of democracy. He has now exalted special interest groups and given them enormous power, and is going to give them more when they are invited to be those who will get a web shop license.
"We just think the whole thing has been unprincipled and undemocratic."
Stewart said the real issue is whether the government should be pursuing an "agenda separate from that of the people".
"We believe that once again the government, duly elected by the people, ought to be concerned and give priority to the concerns of the people of The Bahamas," he said.
"As Pastor Lyall said, [the government should] not do the opposite, and act only in the interest of a select few, particularly when it is going to be at the people's expense."
Bethel urged the prime minister to "not be the one to bring the ruinous spirit of gambling and making that legal".
He accused Christie of allowing the web shop industry to grow in a "free-for-all" fashion by refusing to shut them down.
He added that the government's actions have and will continue to foster a "spirit of lawlessness".
In May, Bahamas Faith Ministries International President Dr. Myles Munroe said the government is on the verge of creating a "democratic dictatorship" in The Bahamas on the issue.
He said the distrust of the Bahamian people would be reflected in the next general election.

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News date : 09/13/2014    Category : Nassau Guardian Stories

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