The church in Barbados has come in for severe criticism for what one man of the cloth and former Barbados Labour Party (BLP) parliamentarian has described as their complicity with the Government and failing to speak out against the administration’s wrongdoings.
The labour movement did not escape Reverend Joseph Atherley’s criticism either, as he contended that they have become “soft”.
Atherley told the audience at the third People’s Assembly at the St Leonard’s School that many leaders preach the church’s non-involvement in politics but are very involved.
“They are in the leadership of the church…multiple persons who are bigger politicians than I am,” he said.
“The church in Barbados, in the face of the great betrayal by the Democratic Labour Party as a party in the last election has kept silent… In the face of all that is happening, the church has either been passive and inactive, or it has been complicit with the government in betraying the aspirations and visions of Barbadian people.”
Atherley also chided his own party for harbouring discord within its ranks.
“The psyche of the country need to be healed, but if the Barbados Labour Party is to provide that healing, the Barbados Labour Party must heal itself,” he said.
While he refused to comment more on the publicized disagreement between the party’s leader Mia Mottley and her predecessor Owen Arthur, Artherley had much to say about the church.
He alleged that church leaders have not only been supportive of the Prime Minister Freundel Stuart administration, but have been spreading the message:
“They are very partisan in their view, and they extend that partisan vision over their congregation.”
The former MP drew applause and a standing ovation for his fiery presentation in which he also warned against a lack of militancy of trade unions, forecasting severe consequences if the workers’ representatives do not take a stand.
“Unless the present posture of organised labour in this country changes and workers begin confidently again to believe that those unions are working on their behalf we will have an explosion in this country,” he cautioned.
“The unions need to come up to the plate. The church needs to rise up and step up to the plate.”