Occult 'thrives' in The Bahamas

Nassau, Bahamas - An American missionary group has claimed that the occult is thriving in The Bahamas, it was revealed yesterday.

In a statement on the Avant Ministries website, the religious organization said that it was important to send their missionaries to The Bahamas because of the widespread black magic carried out on the islands.

"Religion is very important to the Bahamians. They have been exposed to the gospel but there is little evidence in their lives of new life in Christ. The occult, man-made ideologies and false cults are flourishing," it read.

In their statement, the Kansas based ministry also outlined other reasons for stationing their missionaries in The Bahamas.

They claimed that the Bahamian society is "marred with spiritual and physical poverty, discrimination and lack of training."

Avant Ministries also insisted, that they are here to help educate the country's youth.

"Forty-five per cent are under the age of 15. Education has become a top priority for the government," the website's statement read. "Standards have been raised and new schools have been opened."

Currently, Avant Missionaries are operating a "fully accredited" secondary boarding school in Eleuthera.

According the Christian group, the school "exists solely to help the youth of The Bahamas prepare for the future spiritually and academically."

Recently, the occult in The Bahamas was thrust into the media spotlight, after it was claimed that the desecration of an infant's grave was linked to the satanic movement.

On Tuesday Sept 20, the St Joseph's Cemetery grave of Ellyetta Brooks, a female infant, was dug up and the casket and the body removed.

Media reports stated that the steel-reinforced cement slabs had been broken and removed from the grave. Police officers discovered the casket in nearby bushes and the remains of the infant were 10 feet away.

At the time, officers said they were not ruling out the possibility that satanic or occult rituals were possible motives for the grisly crime.

But just days after the incident, Elliott Brooks, the father of the baby girl, told The Guardian that the digging up of his daughter's grave may be a "hate crime."

He said, this crime could have been committed by a close relative he recently had an argument with, or an ex co-worker, who recently tried to stab him.

"I'm not ruling out that this is not a hate crime because I feel as if somebody could do this to my little girl who died, imagine what they would do to someone who is living," said Mr Brooks.

Police officials are still investigating the crime and no clear-cut motive has been established.

Weeks before the grave's desecration, the sacred monstrance of St Francis Cathedral was reported stolen.

The monstrance is a large golden cross inside a circular container , in which the Body of Christ is placed and then shown to the congregation for adoration in a Roman Catholic Mass.

Almost two weeks after it was stolen, the religious tool was discovered amid bushes in the Bain Town area. But it was missing the Holy Eucharist.

In media reports, a devoted Catholic said he believed the incident was linked to the dark arts.

He said that it was a common ritual for Satanists to mock the Roman Catholic service and that much of their rituals are done in the exact opposite form of a Catholic service. He claimed that this is done to show their contempt for his religion.

In an effort to stomp out demonic practices, Avant Ministries said they will Christianize Bahamians through counselling group discussions, Bible classes and chapel services.

"[They] are used to confront the students with Jesus Christ and to guide them to mature Christian living," their statement read.

Avant Ministries (formerly Gospel Missionary Union) was the first organization to send evangelical missionaries into Mali, West Africa and Ecuador, South America. Their missionaries are also stationed in 15 other countries around the world.