Casinos not worth soul, says priest
The fallout of spiritual and moral conduct of Barbadians should be weighed against the economic gains if casino gambling is introduced on the island.
This is the view of the head of the Barbados Christian Council (BXC), Canon Noel Burke, who said the ill-effects from gambling would cause chaos.
At The NATION’S Talkback programme held recently at the Courtney Blackman Grand Salle at the Central Bank, The City, members of the public suggested that casino gambling was a way to boost the economy.
However, Canon Burke did not see it as a good idea.
“The church is not in favour of gambling or casino gambling,” he said. “It brings with it a host of other evils and that has been demonstrated across time and history. It deteriorates the moral fabric of a society and we are already seeing some deterioration here.”
Canon Burke said the disorders could cripple a nation and crime and violence would increase rapidly.
“Look at the crime in the Bahamian society. What can we gain or profit from? Arguably we may gain materially but there are many other ways in which we would lose; we would lose our soul.”
He added that if Government developed legislation to allow for casinos to set up here there was nothing his organisation could do about it, but the BXC and greater Barbados would have to deal with the repercussions.
“The moral and spiritual fallout would also be a responsibility of every citizen, so the disadvantages must be weighed against the advantages that may seem to accrue. It is not just about money but about who we are as a people.”
Casino gambling has been a controversial issue for many years, and Barbados’ two major political parties, the Barbados Labour Party and the Democratic Labour Party, have not supported this type of activity.
The topic was highlighted in Parliament as recently as 2015, when Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite called for a study on the impact of the plethora of available gambling opportunities was having on households.
CANON NOEL BURKE