Bishop denounces possible legalisation of obeah

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By Makeida Antonio

A local religious leader has spoken out against a proposal being considered by the government of a CARICOM country to legalize the practice of obeah.

President of the Antigua & Barbuda Council of Church Leaders and Head of The Christian Ministries Center, Bishop Charlesworth Browne has joined Senior Pastor of the St. Lucia-based Castries Church of the Nazarene, Richard Spencer, who has given public support to a Jamaican minister of religion, who believes the practice is an abomination, a disgrace and a curse.

Bishop Browne made reference to the state of affairs in another Caribbean country which he believed to be a direct cause of the widespread practice of obeah there.

 “There are countries, even in the Caribbean, who have obeah as an official religion. I’m not going to name the country but one of the things that we would notice about the country, we are not necessarily better off than anybody, but we have seen the perils of that particular country,” Bishop Browne told OBSERVER media on Friday.

While some people purport to seek those who practice obeah for health and spiritual guidance, Bishop Browne is adamant that help can only come from one source, God.

The religious leader shared his belief that Antigua and Barbuda is guided by the Constitution to serve only one God and has warned against accepting the influence of obeah.

“This country, Antigua and Barbuda, our allegiance is due unto God Almightly and that is entrenched in the Constitution and we should not venture in any way to unsettle that, to remove that, to trouble that in anyway.

“We should remain a settled people serving God of Heaven.”

In Jamaica’s Parliament on Tuesday, Justice Minister Delroy Chuck signaled that the quasi-religious ritual could soon become legal.

This was just as lawmakers were getting ready to push the maximum fine from $100 to $1 million for anyone found guilty of practicing obeah.

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