June 07, 2016
One of the pastors from the vote no campaign claimed yesterday the group was "brutally victimized" in the lead-up to today's constitutional referendum.
Mario Moxey, of the 'Save Our Bahamas' committee, said efforts were made by certain people hoping to silence the group's campaign.
"I can't presume as to why we're being victimized," said Moxey, pastor of Bahamas Harvest Church.
"I would think it is an attempt to silence our message, which has been very effective.
"People are listening to us, and for that reason, others want to silence us as much as possible."
Moxey said over the weekend, he and other members of the group received a call informing them that they would not be allowed to have their weekly prayer meeting in Rawson Square or Parliament Square, as the yes campaign would be using the spot in their place.
He said the act was "unfair", as the group had been holding meetings there religiously as a part of its campaign.
"We were kicked out of Rawson Square," Moxey charged.
"We've been having 'Prayer in the Square' there for the last seven weeks or so on Monday nights.
"I think the yes campaign, who knew that we had meetings there, should have respected that, but they didn't.
"They obviously got approval from Parliament to occupy both Rawson Square and Parliament Square.
"We just got the call this weekend, and it caused us to have to make immediate plans to change our prayer meeting to Grace Community Church."
Co-executive Director of YES Bahamas Cheryl Bazard denied that her group knowingly planned to meet in Parliament Square in an effort to sabotage the vote no campaign.
"Their campaign announced that they would have their last meeting at Bahamas Faith Ministries earlier," Bazard said.
"This was nothing intentional at all.
"Parliament Square is free, so we wrote a letter on June 1 and received a response on June 2 giving us permission to use it.
"If you look back, they announced that they wouldn't be in the square and that is what we know.
"We had no intention to use the space to oust them.
"They were not scheduled to be in the square."
Moxey also claimed that ZNS canceled the group's television documentaries and radio ads.
These were paid for in full, according to Harris Media Group, which is responsible for the campaign's public relations and marketing.
Moxey said the cancellations were no accident.
"Our broadcast was scheduled to play at 8 o' clock last Friday," Moxey said.
"I guess ZNS has the right to reschedule anything they so desire.
"The prime minister decided to have an address around the same time as our broadcast on Friday, which pre-empted our show.
"We were also scheduled to have a rebroadcast on Sunday, and they (ZNS) turned around and cancelled it with no explanation."
General Manager of the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas Diana Swann had no comment on the claims.
She said she was out of the country.
Moxey also reiterated that the government was unfair for not funding the vote no campaign despite funding YES Bahamas.
Save Our Bahamas had asked the government for $100,000 to spread its message.
Moxey said the "bogus actions" were an attempt to influence votes.
He said if vote yes prevails, he and other members of the group would stand by their beliefs and fight against same-sex marriage in The Bahamas.
Save Our Bahamas has urged Bahamians to vote against bill number four, which would make it unconstitutional to discriminate against someone based on sex.
The group has urged Bahamians to vote their conscience in relation to the three other bills, which deal directly with citizenship matters.
"I can't say whether we will win or lose, but my confidence is in God," Moxey said.
"We've done everything that we can under our own human effort, and we are allowing God to do what he has to do.
"If the yes vote prevails, we will examine the impact we have on our churches.
"We have some religious freedom where we won't be forced to perform same-sex marriage, but we may see a day where we may be forced to do so, and we have to and will prepare for that."
Jayme C. Pinder, Guardian Staff Reporter
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