TALK BACK: Readers speak out on Morris issue
Online readers were quick to respond to the news that controversial Anglican priest Reverend Charles Morris had apparently run afoul of his public service bosses.
Morris, a teacher at Combermere School, confirmed that he had received a letter from Permanent Secretary Cecile Humphrey of the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, asking him to explain comments he made earlier this year that were critical of the Government.
Here’s what readers had to say:
Jay Tee: Whatever happened to free speech? Is Barbados becoming like Iran/Iraq and those countries that silence opinions?
Tony Waterman: In a democratic society like ours, Rev. Morris has the right to say whatever he wants to say about anyone, including the Government, as long as he does not libel anyone or incite violence.
Carl Harper: Democracy in Barbados is under serious threat when there are bold attempts to silence the Press, and a public school teacher is asked by his superiors to explain comments made during a people’s forum.
Sodi S: Well, if the Government is his boss, then he can’t go around bad-mouthing them. I don’t think this is so much about free speech or democracy, as it is about the employee/employer relationship. I understand that he is a reverend, and so part of his job is to speak on social issues. However, you just can’t go around making your boss look bad in public.
Olutoye Walrond: Hold your outrage, people. I know we all think we live in this free, democratic society where we enjoy rights that the unfortunate people of Cuba and other countries don’t have; but I got news for you – we are not. There are rules dating back to colonial days which prohibit public servants from expressing certain opinions in public. It has always been like this, so wake up and smell the colonial (iron) curtains of the state called Barbados.
Valerie Hoyte: The reverend is a servant of the Most High and a servant of the people. He has no legal obligation to anyone’s ego . . . .
A bigger concern is the reverend is a teacher. His role is to not only consume but to produce knowledge. His job is to question and reveal the ugliness and truth of society.
Mervin Errol: I am so sick with the commentators who fail to examine these issues in respect to the laws governing such issues. Lobby for a change of the laws, but until then encourage people to cooperate with the system that feeds them. The gentleman went too far this time.
Lloyd Gulston: I think the question of criticism hurled at an employer should not be the why but more the how. How the goodly priest did it and the words he used to describe his employer is what brought him in disrepute. You can be critical of your boss or the plans of your boss in a respectable manner. I think this is a case where the words used convey disrespect and disregard for the powers that be.