By Royston Jones Jr.
Nassau Guardian Staff Reporter
NASSAU, Bahamas -- Catholic Archbishop Patrick Pinder said the suggestion of flogging illegal immigrants as a solution to The Bahamas’ illegal immigration problem “lacks civility” and indicated that these sorts of pronouncements “speak to a spirit of inhumanity among Bahamians”.
Archbishop Patrick Pinder
Pinder made the remark during his homily on Sunday.
While Pinder did not name anyone, attorney Wayne Munroe came under fire in December, when he recommended flogging illegal immigrants as a deterrent to people seeking to illegally enter the country.
Munroe joined the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) in September 2015.
“How can we claim democracy when we continue to deny equal rights under the law to a large sector of our population?” Pinder asked.
“How far have we advanced towards the perfection [that] Christ desires of us when we hear suggestions of flogging illegal immigrants as a solution to illegal immigration?
“The very thought lacks civility and it lacks charity.
“It is far from the most constructive thinking on what is a phenomenon globally, and one of our most enduring social challenges locally.
“Justice must indeed be served. By his own testimony, Christ did not come to us to do away with law.
“He came to represent its perfect fulfillment.
“He does so by opening the Age of Grace, where justice is to be tempered always by mercy.”
Last December, Munroe, a former Democratic National Alliance candidate, said the price is too low for immigration offences in The Bahamas, and suggested that if illegal immigrants believed “we tortured and killed them, they might not come”.
The suggestion of corporal punishment for immigration offences drew strong rebuke from some quarters, including the official opposition.
Free National Movement (FNM) leader Dr Hubert Minnis called Munroe’s statement “barbaric, brutal and callous”.
He also called on Prime Minister Perry Christie to condemn Munroe’s remarks and “strongly state his (Christie’s) position so that the public would not be left with the perception that his failure to admonish Mr Munroe is further evidence of the prime minister’s weak leadership”.
Noting that mercy is the foundation of the church, Pinder said it is urgent that citizens understand and apply the concept of mercy, which he said embodies the spirit of forgiveness, love, redemption and regeneration.
He added that the only path forward is one of peace.
Republished with permission of the Nassau Guardian