BISHOP Neil Ellis was the talk of social media yesterday, after he took a break from rendering unto God to loudly condemn Caesar.
Caesar, in this instance, is Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, and for Bishop Ellis, it seems, is mad as hell and not going to take this any more when it comes to COVID-19 restrictions.
He lambasted Dr Minnis, saying: “It’s a dangerous thing when you start acting like a god. It’s a dangerous thing when you got all the power wrapped up in your hands.”
He criticised Dr Minnis for being “the only person in a country who can determine who goes and who stays, who has a funeral in a church and who else goes to the graveyard”, adding: “It’s a dangerous thing when there’s only one person in your country making all the decisions.”
Bishop Ellis also hit out at FNM MPs for not standing up to the PM and demanding no more lockdowns and no extension of curfews.
Perhaps it’s no great surprise that Bishop Ellis’ line about not extending the orders rings similarly to the party line of the PLP, for whom his only criticism seems to be that “this ain’t no time to gloat and this ain’t no time to be quiet, we have to fight for our nation and fight for our children”.
It is, however, unusual for a man of the cloth to be quite so outspoken in this manner.
Dr Minnis, in response, was far more measured, saying that he would not “say anything ill of him”. Rather, he went on to point out that it is not just down to one man – but rather that it comes about through Cabinet. Indeed, at any stage, if the FNM felt their leader was being dictatorial, there are processes for challenge and removal – so this talk suggesting dictatorial behaviour is just political hogwash. More than that, the electorate always has the final say when election time comes around.
Notably, we don’t see in his tirade what Bishop Ellis’ solution to the virus is. Presumably, if he wants to scrap lockdowns and curfews, allow as many people as possible back into church and lift the limits on funerals, he has a plan to stop the spread of the virus in those circumstances? If not, then perhaps we can file this complaint where it belongs – in the world of political gamesmanship.
Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. Rather, offer to lend a hand.
For a long time in The Bahamas, there was talk of vast riches that The Bahamas was missing out on from the export of aragonite. It became a popular point of discussion on social media – and a stick with which to beat whichever government was in office at the time. Part of this was because of high prices in tiny markets – but there was a general feeling that we were losing out on riches here within our shores.
In today’s Tribune, we learn of actual riches from which we are gaining nothing – all from our maritime resources.
More than 100 research permits a year are given to institutions to come and carry out investigations in our waters. As a result of those, a “large cluster” of patent applications have been filed based on a microbe found in our waters.
As far back as 2012, it was calculated that 125 new natural products had been discovered in our waters, while clinical trials for a pharmaceutical based on that microbe were due to start six years ago.
This raises the prospect of commercially successful drugs being generated thanks to our waters – but what benefit will we get from it? A report from the IDB says: “Almost no benefits are flowing back to the country from these and other cases of utilisation and commercialisation of Bahamian genetic resources.”
In a time when we talk about trying to make our economy more agile, these are opportunities that we should not be missing out on.
More than that, we talk about our environmental credentials as a nation – but here are resources that could benefit from cultivating our environment, and which could be lost if we don’t focus on their preservation.
We should not be so busy chasing fool’s gold that we miss out on the real treasure. Let’s not miss out on a financial boon with nothing to show for it but a diving permit.