Senior Pastor Emeritus of New Covenant Baptist Church Bishop Simeon Hall has called for all parties to avoid political violence this after video surfaced last week of an heated exchange between Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) and Free National Movement supporters in the Golden Isles constituency.
In a statement, Bishop Hall said it is incumbent on all major political parties to set the tone of levelheaded political behavior during their campaigning activities and every Bahamian has an inalienable right to vote for the candidate and/or political party of their own choosing; unhindered and without intimidation from anyone.
“Violence of any kind – verbal or physical – is a sign of immaturity and speaks volumes as to the kind of nation we wish to build. People must learn to respect the views of others and their right to have such views, even when those views differ from theirs,” Bishop Hall said.
Bishop Hall referred to the Perpall Tract tragedy in 1972 where some persons were senselessly killed and injured during heated exchanges among supporters of different political parties.
Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman Bradley Roberts over the weekend also called for “peace and calm” during this election season, charging that the country’s “international reputation” for maintaining “political stability” could be at stake.
Mr. Roberts was addressing party supporters, candidates and others at the Jubilee Cathedral in Grand Bahama on Friday night, cautioned all political parties to exercise “self-discipline, self-control and restraint” as the country heads into the next general election, adding that “we can disagree without being disagreeable or insulting.”
Mr. Roberts was referring to the aforementioned altercation between FNM supporters and PLP campaigners while both sides were canvassing the Carmichael road area.
Several videos of the altercation were posted on social media and show supporters from both parties heckling each other; however, FNM chairman Sidney Collie has insisted that it was the PLP’s supporters who first engaged his party members.