‘Persecution,’ cries Opposition Leader
IT’S SIMPLY A persecution.
That’s how Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley has described a report in yesterday’s DAILY NATION that Anglican priest and secondary school teacher Reverend Charles Morris is to be charged for publicly describing this Government as the worst the country has ever seen.
“The news [yesterday] that Rev. Charles Morris is to be charged by the Personnel Administration Division causes us to ask ‘What next?’” Mottley said in a statement.
“This Government has over the course of the last year, through a number of its statements, sought to intimidate Barbadians into silence. We have spoken of it before but must now do so in even stronger terms given the actual steps taken to selectively charge Rev. Morris, for simply the expression of his opinion in a public forum.
“That Rev. Morris has stated that this Government is the worst this country has ever seen is his opinion. There is nothing subversive about his saying so. It has not incited anyone into action . . . . The selective charging of Rev. Morris when others remain untouched for their participation as teachers on political platforms and even in political advertisements in the midst of elections, reinforces the Barbados Labour Party’s view that this is nothing else other than persecution.”
Mottley noted that anyone who knew Morris would be aware of his frank and outspoken nature either against a Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration or a Democratic Labour Party one “or indeed against his own church”.
“There are too many other serious problems facing our educational system and our young people – indeed our country – for energy and time to be spent by the Ministry of Education and the Personnel Administration Division on what is really viewed by most fair-minded Barbadians as the expression of an opinion, and some may even argue, a statement of fair comment.
“This is yet another attack by this Government on Barbadians’ right to free speech and the state of our democracy,” Mottley said.
Morris, a teacher at Combermere School, has been called up for comments at a town hall meeting earlier this year organised by the BLP under its People’s Assembly banner, at which he called the Freundel Stuart Administration a “disaster”, “environmental hazard”, “catastrophe”, “cancer” and “threat”.
The cleric told the DAILY NATION: “It is clear they want to charge me for some kind of misconduct, but I want everyone to know there is misconduct taking place but not coming from me.” (AB)