Within a matter of mere days, Bahamas Christian Council (BCC) President Bishop Delton Fernander found himself reminding people during two important days in Bahamian society – Majority Rule Day and addressing the judiciary during the opening of the Legal Year, that God is with his people.
At the Majority Rule Day observance, he said God has a plan for The Bahamas and its people, and during the Legal Year ceremony, reminded members of the judiciary that God is one of justice and order, reminding them that although they have the authority to judge on earth, that God is the ultimate judge of how they would have treated his children in the execution of their duties and that people should work to hear the “righteous judge say well done thou good and faithful servant”.
“As we move forward as a people, we must recognize our privileges and that we do not take them for granted,” said Fernander during the Majority Rule Day observance. “Those who had a role in bringing this day to fruition must become and remain household names. Majority Rule [January 10, 1967] was and is a day that all Bahamian citizens should revere, understanding that the alternative would be that many of us would have no say in who governs our country. God was with us then and he remains with us, evidenced by our endurance as a nation of free and fair elections in which every citizen may participate. We must ask God for guidance as we move ahead, that we can excel in love and unity as a united people.”
Fernander said belief in God, country, and each other as fellow citizens must serve as the beacons that guide Bahamians to the next level. He said he believes God has a plan for The Bahamas and its people.
During the Legal Year opening event, he told members of the legal community that it spoke volumes that they would take the time to acknowledge God and ask for his guidance as they move forward.
“Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said that ‘democracy is not just about one day every four or five years when elections are held, but a system of government that respects the separation of powers, fundamental freedoms like the freedom of thought, religion, expression, association and assembly, and the rule of law’. In the world we live in, democracy is not a right, it is a privilege to those who can achieve it and maintain it. An enduring and robust democracy, in my view, cannot exist without justice. The citizens of any democratic state must be able to rely on the fair and blind administration of justice. To this point in our history, we have been able to assure the Bahamian people of fairness and independence of our judicial system. We cannot falter in this endeavor. As we grow as a nation, so should our system of justice. Though you may go to work sometimes and be frustrated by this or that, please know that the work you do is not in vain.”
The BCC chief said the new nation of Israel was given instruction about governance, power and justice, and leaders were to be appointed to pursue the well-being of the people. And that they were to make decisions for the people directed by values such as fairness, sincerity and divine consciousness. He said that perversion of justice, partiality and bribery were to have no place in the governance system of the people. He said the relationship between good leadership and the well-being of the people was established.
“The possibility of inheriting the blessings of the land was closely connected to commitment to good governance. Good leadership and governance were not supposed to be at the pleasure of the leader. It was a divine imperative. It was the right of the people. The very well-being and prosperity of the people depend on the quality of leadership of the various leaders. The citizens were to actively participate in the governance of the nation. They were to honor their leaders, that lead well. They were to thank God for the blessings of providence through the services of those in governance. They were further expected to lift up a cry unto God when they are denied justice and righteous judgement. The cry of the oppressed people was to be heard not only by God but also by the leaders.
“In Proverbs, the invitation was given to those who had the opportunity to judge the people to plead the cause of the needy and defend the rights of the poor. Speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves, judge righteously, defend the right of the poor and needy. God who is the imitator of good governance is always looking for people to stand in the gap for the peace and security of the land.”
Fernander said in The Bahamas, justice must remain blind.
“As the judiciary, you must ensure that every single individual that comes before you receive justice, whatever form that may take. As your mission states – to do right to all manner of people, after the laws and usages of The Bahamas without fear or favor, affection or ill will.
“We cannot be the generation in history where regression can be marked. We cannot be the generation that dropped the baton because we were too preoccupied with selfish endeavors. As you carry out your duties as justices, magistrates, barristers, or registrar, always remember that God and history are recording your efforts. Just as we remember those who came before us fondly or with contempt, is the same way that one day in the future, your name will either be revered or condemned,” said Fernander.
“Our God is one of justice and order. Though you have the authority to judge us here on earth, he is the ultimate judge of how you have treated his children in the execution of your duties. We work to hear the righteous judge say ‘well done thou good and faithful servant’.”