Casi­nos not worth soul, says priest

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - News -

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.

(FP)

CANON NOEL BURKE

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