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Scenes from the visit of Fox Hill Branch of the PLP at St John’s Native Baptist Church and present an award to Bishop Carrington Pinder

Remarks By Senator Fred Mitchell
St John’s Native Baptist Church
Honouring Bishop Carrington Pinder

18 August 2019

Good morning

I want to thank this church and you Bishop Pinder for providing this opportunity in this service to present this award to you from the Fox Hill Branch of the Progressive Liberal Party. And though I do not any longer have the official authority to say so, I believe I speak for all the people of Fox Hill when they say this is a most deserving award.

You served with distinction in the Fox Hill Community and I was pleased to be able to work with you for most of your stewardship in that part of the vineyard.

Today, I recall the day that I lost the general election in 2017. I remember one of your church members in St Mark’s in Fox Hill said that she had lost in one year not only her pastor but also lost her MP. I was flattered to be in the same sentence with your name.

I want to say as I have always said that I looked to you for spiritual guidance yes but in the secular world and traditions, an example of what I call equanimity. That is just a fancy word to say that yours is an example of serving everyone without fair or favour, not being judgmental but being there to help whatever the circumstances. That taught me a lot and when I work with younger men and women and all the leaders of our branches nationwide, I tell them the same thing, we are here to serve all people. We are not here to judge their lives but whatever the circumstances to make their lives easier. The only thing that counts is the content of your character.

I have therefore dedicated my life to that old Benedictine saying: chastity, poverty and obedience. I don’t confess to achieving it all but it is an aspirational goal to which all public servants should aspire. After all, the Biblical injunction is to sell all your treasures, give them to the poor and follow Jesus.

I have watched you as you responded to the vicissitudes of your own path to leadership in this church. You are now the superintending Bishop. To many it may have looked easy but you and I know very well, the well-worn path to getting here. Not once, did you express a bitter word , nor were you perplexed. You kept on going. 

It trained you well for the big dance: now as Bishop you have to be everything to all people. You have to have a listening ear. You represent a long history and tradition of the native Baptists and so in representing that institution, you have to know when to tell some and keep some. Proverbs say there is a time to speak and a time for silence,

I hope you are not offended by my saying that I have adopted wholesale that view. I now have that role as well as Chairman of the Progressive Liberal Party the oldest political party in our country, that has fought for every progress in the human rights of our people. I therefore now represent an institution and I speak for that institution. I have no right to vent my spleen at every sling and arrow that is thrown, even if it is untrue information thrown at me personally. I respond to defend the institution when that institution’s interests are at stake. It’s not a personal mission but an institutional one. So far, there is nothing that has happened or been said since 10 May 2017 thank God that has threatened me personally for that matter but more importantly the PLP as an institution.

Thank you for allowing me to say that. I believe you can say the same thing about your mission at St John’s. Its future is assured under your leadership. For me, I say I have the job of a lifetime. So, I congratulate you here today on the work you have done.

On 10 May 2017, the lady said she had lost her Bishop and her MP. But I hope that in losing both, she now knows that her loss is the greater gain of the Commonwealth Of The Bahamas,

Thank you to Tammi Ferguson Culmer and her team for thinking of this award.

Bless you sir. Bless this church and God Bless the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.