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by Rev Lucille Baird
I hasten to share my concerns and deep disappointments on the proposed legislation on same sex civil unions mentioned in the throne speech. The legalising of same sex civil unions, while promising the people a referendum on same sex marriages.
To my mind, it’s unprofitable to give with the right hand stimulus packages, while with the left hand removing our cultural, moral and spiritual pillars, on which our country was built. There is very little difference between same sex civil unions and same sex marriage, because it must be noted that the buggery laws have to be removed in order to accommodate the same sex civil unions. Are we playing
word games with our people?
The late Honourable Owen Arthur at the ground-breaking ceremony for the Little Battaleys Church on Sunday June 25, 2006 said: “Barbados has a moral and spiritual fight on its hands” and he made the point clear that “our society was being bombarded by foreign forces, that if not properly countered, could fundamentally alter fundamental values and morals and spiritual things of great significance, that historically made the communities cohesive and strong.”
He further issued a clarion call to the Church to remain morally and spiritually assertive and he further contended that, “if our society is to be made safe in the face of change, the Church has to drop its moral and spiritual anchor and help the political leadership stabilize society.” The Church in 2020 must rise to the occasion.
Sometime in the 1990’s while Miss Mia Mottley was the Attorney General she made a gallant attempt to remove the legislative props so that homosexuality could be legalized. This move was met with a prompt rebuttal and was shot down from the then Prime Minister, Mr. Owen Arthur.
Miss Mottley recanted and an apology was given for such a hasty proposal, saying it was not a well thought out plan and it was ill-advised.
It would seem that Miss Mottley has always been on a quest to legalise same-sex relationships in Barbados, despite how the general populace feels.
Fast forward to September 2020, same sex civil unions have now been proposed for legalization during the throne speech by Her Excellency Dame Sandra, subject to referendum.
I wish to give a resounding thumbs down to this move by Miss Mottley and to inform the people of Barbados that same-sex civil unions are just about the same as same sex marriages because it requires the removal of the buggery laws from the statue books. We need to stand up and give a loud NO to both.
I have always been very troubled about the (30-0) mandate given to this Government. In fact, I would be troubled with any (30-0) mandate given. To any political party, this is a danger to democracy.
It is not conducive for a healthy democracy, it poses a very serious threat to any sound democratic process. Every healthy political structure needs a strong opposition, the absence of a strong opposition will create an authoritarian rule.
Sadly, it was the people’s disillusionment with the former administration that created a high level of “vex voting” and tipped the scales for the benefit of this present Government.
In the final analysis, however, anyone given such a resounding mandate or vote of confidence, should be careful to treat it with great humility and respect. They ought to see themselves as the people’s servants not their lord and master.
This Government should always be mindful to include the people at every juncture, especially as it relates to laws that touch their morality, values and their Christian beliefs that have been long enshrined in our culture and our psyche.
This decision by Miss Mottley is a serious betrayal of the trust and confidence that the people of Barbados have so willingly bestowed on her as their Prime Minister.
It is a big misstep.
Nowhere in her Manifesto at the last election or otherwise prior to being elected did the Prime Minister indicate to Barbados that it was her explicit intention to change the law and introduce same-sex civil unions.
The people of Barbados did NOT have the chance to either support or deny this proposal. As such, The Prime Minister presently does not have the mandate or explicit support of the people of Barbados on this fundamental matter. And she is very well aware that this is a fundamental matter for the people of Barbados.
Mr. Peter Wickham, pollster and Gay Rights Advocate, is quoted as saying in the midweek Nation of Wednesday September 16th 2020, that in the Throne Speech of 15th September by the Governor General, it was announced that Government was moving “in the direction of recognizing same sex civil unions because the island had increasingly found itself on international lists for having a poor human rights record.”
She added that the country could not afford to be blacklisted when it relied so heavily on external funding and investment.
However, Wickham said he did not buy this argument as Barbados had only received international pressure as it related to its buggery laws.
This rush to legislate same sex unions under the guise of the Human Rights Record is a mere red herring and all Barbadians should see it for what it’s worth.
There are other areas of concern that require our immediate attention based on our human rights record, yet there is no rush for reformation or to enact laws to improve these areas.
1. Child Abuse
2. Sexual Harassment
3. Domestic Violence
I am deeply concerned about the silence of the 25 members of Cabinet and especially Mr. Colin Jordan, a leading elder of the Church.
We sing happily, “The Lord has been the people’s guide for past 300 hundred year, with Him still on the people’s side we have no doubts or fears.”
We need to get serious about having God in our affairs and we need to recognize that in order to have God as our guide continually, we need to remember “In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct our paths.”
Miss Mottley in her recent address to the teachers of the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College said: “It was pointless for a student to be equipped with the knowledge that could help propel Barbados to new heights, yet their moral compass is not calibrated correctly.”
She also quoted the words of former US President Theodore Roosevelt: “To educate a man’s mind and not his morals, is to create a menace to society.”
At present there is a battle for the moral heart and soul of Barbados. If we are serious about instilling morals and values to our children and the populace, we have to be consistent in our speech, we cannot be spouting morality on one hand and on the other hand legalizing abominable acts that go against the mind and will of God for this nation and against the will of the people.
I want to remind our honorable Prime Minister that she is the Prime Minister of the entire populace of Barbados, not just a few with ungodly agendas, who would want to push her to legalise abominable acts.
You must not pander to the whims, fancy and the demands of the few, but remember that you were elected to look after the well-being and the welfare of the entire nation.
If you want the Lord to continue to bless you and bless this nation then do the right things according to His will. In my mind one of the greatest measurements of a good human rights record of any country, is how they treat their children, their senior citizens, their disabled and the Church. We are getting a failing grade in these areas.
Finally, I found it discourteous to have our beloved Governor General read a throne speech that contained such a bitter pill for Barbadians to swallow as the proposed legalizing of the same sex civil unions.
This should have been presented directly from the Prime Minister. To further ask the Governor General to read a speech with the potential for her dismissal in 2021, as we become a republic, is disingenuous.
I wish to call on the Prime Minister to rescind on her proposal to legalize same sex civil unions.
Please madam Prime Minister give the populace the referendum that was promised on both the same sex marriage and Barbados as a republic.
Hear from the people including the Church, you are called to serve, do this with humility, openness, and transparency.
The people of Barbados will support you as long as you include them in the nation’s affairs.
Rev Lucille Baird is Founder, CEO and Senior Pastor of Mount Zion’s Missions Barbados.