FNM Chairman brands sermon “nasty political attack”
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Mount Tabor Church Senior Pastor Bishop Neil Ellis yesterday gave a scathing rebuke of the Minnis-led administration as he expressed opposition to the extension of the emergency powers orders for another month.
During his sermon, Bishop Neil Ellis prefaced his comments by quoting a passage from the Book of Daniel about King Nebuchadnezzar, whom he said was caught up in an exaggerated sense of his own self-importance and sought to deify himself or put himself on the same level as God.
“That’s always a dangerous place to go for kings, and rulers, and prime ministers, and presidents got to be careful when they set themself up in an undemocratic fashion because sooner or later you become so bigheaded that you begin to act like a God,” he said.
Addressing the House of Assembly last week, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced the resolution will be tabled at the next sitting to extend the public state of emergency to November 30.
Ellis accused FNM parliamentarians of being “spineless” for allowing the lockdowns and extension of curfew to continue unchallenged.
“How dare y’all? Having been democratically elected by our people because you’re spineless and trying to protect your territory….and you don’t have enough spine on the inside to stand up and say no more lockdowns, prime minister, we will not extend these curfews, we will not give you an extension of the orders another month.
Ellis continued: “I was amazed at how grown men and women can sit down and watch the democratic process be placed under a tunnel. It’s a dangerous thing when you start acting like a God, it’s a dangerous thing when you got all power wrapped up in your hands.
“How in the world did we get like this,” he added.
“This is no longer cute. It was alright for the first two or three months while everyone was trying to get their composure and understand this virus but eight months in? if you’re gonna ask for an extension at least make a case. Don’t just come I want an extension for another month and hook lock and sinker all of your men and women vote for it.
“How dare y’all? You are insulting our intellect and parading on our democracy and sidelining our right of movement and humiliating our business owners and entrepreneurs. You’re one-man-stand is killing our economy. It sure doesn’t help when the one in the chair does not believe in God.”
Ellis also took aim at the government for the recent decision by Bahamas Power and Light to cut power to some 9,000 residents for nonpayment; Minister of Education Jeffery Lloyd over his public spat with teacher’s union president Belinda Wilson; and House Speaker Halson Moultrie for his challenge to the government over longstanding issues with his office.
For his part, Free National Movement Chairman Carl Culmer said he was baffled by Ellis’ sermon and furthered Minnis is a Christian and member of the Catholic community.
The FNM chairman said it was unfortunate the bishop used a global public health crisis to unleash a “nasty political attack”, and defended Minnis’ use of the emergency powers to mitigate the spread of the virus.
“In the Christian tradition it is only God who judges the heart and the faith of one his children,” said Culmer.
“Bishop Ellis should know this.
He continued: “It is unfortunate that Bishop Ellis would use the pulpit where he was expected to provide an uplifting message of hope to his congregation to launch a vicious, mean-spirited political attack on the Prime Minister of our country, who is working hard to keep Bahamians safe during the worst public health crisis in our country’s modern history.”
Culmer maintained the prime minister consults with public health experts, his Cabinet, parliamentarians, the business community, and civil society groups.
He called on Ellis to acknowledge the seriousness of the COVID-19 crisis and to help spread public health safety guidelines.
Culmer added: “This is a low moment for Bishop Ellis and our country. I will keep him in my prayers.”