Corruption rampant in Goa, Church will guide voters: Archbishop

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Panaji, Dec 28 (IANS) With assembly polls just a couple of months away, Goa’s Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao on Wedesday said the influential Roman Catholic Church will guide its faithful to vote for genuine candidates.

The guidance to voters, according to the Archbishop, has become necessary as Goa has witnessed extensive environmental and social damage, which has led to rampant corruption and even weakened governance.

“Elections to the Legislative assembly of the state are approaching and the Church leadership in Goa will take up once again this duty-bound task. We do issue guidelines to our faithful on how to exercise their franchise and thus fulfil one of their sacred civic duties.

“These guidelines are read out in our churches, but they never mention the name of any candidate or any political party. The people are sovereign, they decide,” Ferrao said in his annual post-Christmas address at a simple function at the Bishop’s Palace here.

Top dignitaries in the state, including Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, senior politicians as well as businessmen from the state were present at the function.

“It is for this and other reasons that the Church takes upon herself, all in the name of genuine service to human beings and to the land, the task of guiding her members in the process of electing the right kind of individuals to the local and national governments,” Ferrao said.

Ferrao also said that there is a need to follow the principle of inter-generational equity vis-a-vis mining, adding that rampant mining has resulted in degeneration of the state and its people.

“But what we see is an extensive environmental and social damage to Goa, which has generated rampant corruption and even weakened governance. It has been an assault on our community and our natural wealth.

“More distressingly, it has been a loss to our children and future generations. Are we not answerable to them? Or, are they going to remember us as an irresponsible generation that has squandered natural wealth for the benefit of a few?” the Archbishop said.

Roman Catholics account for nearly 26 per cent of the 1.5 million population of Goa, a former Portuguese colony. The state is expected to go to polls early next year.

–IANS

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