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Voter apathy is the death of democracy Bahamian bishop warns: The Church of England Newspaper, February 3, 2013 p 7. February 5, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of the West Indies, Gambling.
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The democratic process is more important to civil society than the outcome of any election, the Anglican Bishop in Nassau said on Sunday, as he urged Bahamians to go to the polls this week and make their voice heard in the country’s gambling referendum. The Rt. Rev. Laish Boyd, Bishop of the Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Islands, said that while the church opposed gambling, it would not tell people how to vote.

“At this junction it is not important to focus on who will vote ‘yes’ and who will note ‘no’, since persons are entitled to their considered position on the subject, and since people will form and hold their own opinions,” the bishop said.

The “issue now is citizen participation,” Bishop Boyd said. “I call on every registered voter to go out and to vote on Monday, January 28.”

Tourists are permitted to gamble in the island’s casinos, but no legal form of gambling is allowed for Bahamians. However, an illegal but widespread lottery known as the numbers or policy is popular across the islands. A common form of gambling in urban America before the legalization of state lotteries, in the numbers game a gambler places a bet with a bookie in a betting parlor (most often bars, barbershops and other semi-public venues)  hoping to select the winning three digit number drawn at random.

The bishop said the diocese “does not support the legalization of the numbers business. This remains our position since stated publicly in 2010 and before that.”

But he was also concerned about voter apathy. “Some people have concluded that they will stay out of the process,” Bishop Boyd said. “This is wrong because your vote is important.”

“We are blessed in this country with many freedoms, e.g., freedom of religion, association and expression, the freedom to hold and to express different opinions and the privilege of free and fair elections,” the bishop said.

“Make sure you fulfill your national responsibility by casting your ballot in the referendum.”

While a few prominent pastors have called for the legalization of the numbers game, the Bahamian Christian Council has urged the country to vote “no” to the proposal that supporters say would raise revenue for the government and take the numbers game out of the hands of criminals. Church leaders, including Bishop Boyd, have urged voters to say “no”, saying the financial rewards to the state of gambling are outweighed by the social and moral costs it imposes on the people.

Bahamas celebrates the diamond jubilee: The Church of England Newspaper, March 16, 2012 p 6. March 21, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of the West Indies.
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The Bishop of the Bahamas and Dean of Nassau greet Prince Harry on the steps of Christ Church Cathedral, Nassau

In a service celebrating the diamond jubilee, the Bishop of the Bahamas has called upon his countrymen to emulate the Queen’s faithfulness to God, her country and people.

In a sermon delivered at Nassau’s Christ Church Cathedral on 4 March 2012 before a congregation that included HRH Prince Harry of Wales, leaders of government, parliament, the judiciary, church and military, Bishop Laish Boyd called upon the country’s leaders to be as faithful to their duties as the Queen was to hers.

The “real test” of leadership was commitment, said Bishop Boyd. “The carrying out of that duty every day, every week, every month, every year, in good weather, in bad weather, whether I feel like it, or whether I don’t feel like it, that is the challenge.”

The Queen “has been diligent, faithful, unswerving, steadfast and sure in the execution of her duties and her availability to all who must call upon her. As monarch, she represents in so many ways, the image of leadership, stability, continuity, a link with the past and our heritage — a link with the present and the life we now live, and a link with the future,” he said.

Bahamians should, like the Queen, see their work as a gift from God and a responsibility before God.  No matter what the call given in life might be, it was really about God.

“Often as human beings we see ourselves in terms of who we are, what we have done, what we have experienced, what we struggle with. We see ourselves in terms of our pains and wounds, our successes, our accomplishment, and all of these things are important because they form our identity; however on our human journey, we are called not to focus only upon ourselves, but to see ourselves in terms of what God has for us to be and what God calls us to,” he said.

Bishop Boyd concluded that “as we worship God and thank God for the contribution of Queen Elizabeth II and all that she means to us, let us also remember that we have been called to serve, and wherever we are called to give it, it will reach its full potential only if we let go of self, and throw ourselves into the arms of God.”

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

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