By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
PASTORS Eddie Victor and Greg Bullard of the vote “no” group of religious leaders in Grand Bahama said that God spoke through the votes of the people who overwhelmingly rejected Tuesday’s referendum on gender equality.
The men said their stance was not political.
“Our role was an activist and watchman… to proclaim this danger...that would come to our country and threaten our tradition, culture and sovereignty,” they said.
Despite the messages they received on social media because of their support for the ‘no’ campaign, the pastors said they forgive those people.
They said the time now is to move forward and address critical issues concerning citizenship.
Pastor Bullard said: “We are not haters, we love people. We are not for a political party and we are not against a political party in our vote no yesterday. There were two allegiances we had yesterday: one was to God and the other was to our country; we want to preserve this country for future generations of Bahamians.”
Pastor Victor stated that the Bahamian people have truly been “awakened” to the fact there are outside forces that are putting pressure on The Bahamas and the Caribbean region to merge into an international agenda.
He noted that the real issue was with bill four.
“From everything we searched and examined we were overwhelmingly convinced that the insertion of the word ‘sex’ would have opened the door for same-sex marriage that would threaten our culture and traditions.”
Pastor Victor said that there are some critical issues as it relates to citizenship which can be dealt with in Parliament.
“Any government truly seeking to help the people I believe they will do it. We need to help this displaced population of individuals who are stateless and experience barriers and challenges because they cannot be normalised, and correct it.”
Although he believes that bill one in its intent was good, Pastor Victor explained that the problem was that it was not retroactive.
“The very problem that brought about the bill you are not dealing with it. And so you need to be able to say how do we deal with all these thousands of people who have been affected from 1973 to now, we need to create a situation where retroactively we can bring those into citizenship in the country,” he said.
He also did not agree with bill two, which would have given the foreign spouse of a Bahamian woman the same right to apply for citizenship that the foreign wife of a Bahamian man currently enjoys.
“I voted ‘no’ because I believe it was a threat to our tradition, culture, and changes would have open the door to our citizenship being given away. I believe citizenship should be earned and people should be engrafted into our culture,” he said.
Pastor Bullard believes that the Bahamian people voted based on conviction to Christian principles.
“With bill four we feel it would open the door for same-sex marriage and that was one of the strong reasons why people overwhelmingly throughout the Bahamas voted ‘no’.”
He stressed that the situation regarding the scores of persons who are stateless needs to be fixed.
“The church was a lion that roared yesterday, and that roar will not cease because of the ‘no’ vote on June 7, we will continue to advocate on behalf of those people who are still stateless because they need to have their situation resolved,” he said.