By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
LOCAL pastors yesterday continued their reproach of the position taken by the country on a United Nations resolution that sought to block the appointment of a UN independent expert to investigate worldwide cases of discrimination and abuse against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.
Pastors Cedric Moss, Alfred Stewart and Lyall Bethel expressed disappointment over the country’s decision to side with a “slim majority” of nations to uphold Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn’s appointment, and accused the government of misrepresenting the views and wishes of the “overwhelming” majority of Bahamians.
The pastors raised alarm over the upcoming resolution in an e-mail, sent to Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell last Friday. Mr Mitchell declined to comment on the matter yesterday.
In a follow-up e-mail yesterday, the pastors wrote: “We are disappointed that The Bahamas voted with a slim majority of countries to allow without any deferment the appointment of Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn as the independent expert. Professor Muntarbhorn has publicly announced that he will use his appointment to promote LGBT ideology, so by supporting his appointment, it is clear that you and your government support his plans.
“This, we respectfully submit, is wrong and is yet another example of the Bahamas government’s misrepresentation of the views and wishes of the overwhelming majority of Bahamians at the United Nations.”
An international law professor from Thailand, Mr Muntarbhorn was appointed in September and given a three-year mandate to investigate incidents of discrimination and abuse around the world.
Monday’s resolution represented the second attempt by The African Group, a regional bloc comprised of 54 member countries, to block the appointment. Underscoring that there is no international consensus on sexual orientation and gender identity, the African bloc has argued that the expert’s mandate had no legal basis.
According to reports, the UN human rights committee rejected an African draft resolution opposing the expert’s work on November 21.
The pastors’ e-mail continued: “Nevertheless, we take some comfort from the fact that these CARICOM countries demonstrated democratic representation and respected the views of their citizens by voting to prevent the appointment of Professor Muntarbhorn and the promotion of his LGBT ideology: Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
“We also note that Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, and Trinidad and Tobago abstained in today’s vote, which would have a better option for The Bahamas than voting for the appointment of Professor Muntarbhorn.
“But our greatest comfort lies in the fact that there is a sovereign God who raises up and brings down political leaders and parties, and he always has the final say.”
The email added: “Finally, while we firmly disagree with you and your government on this issue, please be assured of our ongoing prayers for you as you carry out your stewardship of leadership on behalf of the Bahamian people.”