NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Right Reverend Laish Boyd Sr., Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of The Bahamas and The Turks and Caicos Islands, implored members of the Legal Profession to conduct themselves with the greatest degree of integrity in their professional and personal lives. He called on them to redouble their efforts at improving the conduct of justice in The Bahamas.
“While it is true to say that the majority of lawyers aspire to do good, there are a few bad apples that stain the reputation of the profession as a whole. I urge you collectively to do all in your power to expedite the process whereby unethical and dishonest attorneys are made to account for their actions in relationship to their clients especially,” he said. “We know and the public does appreciate the improvements in the time frame in which cases are being heard, but we all agree that we are an extremely long way off from where we need to be.”
Bishop Boyd addressed the annual service to observe the opening of the Legal Year at Christ Church Cathedral Wednesday.
The service was attended by Chief Justice Sir Michael Barnett and Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Senator the Hon. Allyson Maynard Gibson, members of the Court of Appeal, Justices, Magistrates, police officers and attorneys. Students and teachers of C. R. Walker and C. C. Sweeting schools were also in attendance. The Very Reverend Patrick Adderley, Dean and Rector of Christ Church Cathedral officiated the service. Justice Ian Winder and Marilyn Meers, Deputy Registrar, read the lessons.
Bishop Boyd challenged the congregation to exercise justice in areas that demand continued efforts including justice, fairness and integrity. He said these issues require attention, prayers and actions.
The Freedom of Information Act, the media, labour disputes, electricity, disclosure of financial information by Parliamentarians, Value Added Tax (VAT) were among the items he touched on.
On VAT he said, “I urge all concerned to comply with the law not only to avoid punishment but rather to honour our duty as citizens. Whether we like it or not, it’s the law. I urge the government to be as responsible as possible in the expenditure of public funds at its disposal … The more taxes collected the more you need to be accountable for the expenditure of the funds.”
Bishop Boyd encouraged all concerned to do everything in their power to reduce the cost of electricity. “God has given us in The Bahamas an abundance of sunshine, however we are not using this sunshine as much to our advantage as we ought. What is so strange, so many of us complain about electricity costs but we have not invested in solar lighting and solar heating for our homes and businesses. This is an individual responsibility, not a government one. He commended the government for implementing duty free importation of these and other energy reducing items.
Regarding labour disputes he said there are too many “unsettled labour disputes involving the government. I urge unions to be fair in their demands and employers, especially the government, must move to resolve disputes more quickly especially those that have been lingering for years,” said the Bishop.
The service was followed by a procession to the Supreme Court where a ceremony was held to mark the opening of the Legal Year.