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No gambling here a myth


No gambling here a myth

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There is this ongoing discussion on casino gambling, and I write to support Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite with regards to his call for a study on casino gambling in Barbados.

Permit me to quote a line from an article written by the late Jeanette Layne-Clark: “My second concern has to do with the hypocritical, holier-than-thou approach of some people who condemn casino gambling.”

In September of 1998, the then tourism minister Billie Miller (now Dame Billie) headed the Barbados delegation to the Caribbean Tourism Organisation when she said no to casino gambling in responding to queries about the issue during a news conference she hosted at the Jamaica Grand Hotel in Ocho Rios.

Miller told the media that Barbados had considered casino gambling and that Barbados had spoken. “They have opted for other forms of gambling. They are heavy on lotteries, they like horse racing and so forth, but Barbadians have spoken very emphatically,” said Miller, who was also deputy prime minister.

However, Mr Editor, I would like to invite all those who are emotionally set against casino gambling to take a leisurely drive along the gambling spots across this island.

Beginning at Baxters Road, travel south to Spry and Marhill Streets in The City. There you have all sorts of gambling, including horse and dog racing; on to Aquatic Gap (off Bay Street), Fast Lime in Hastings, Bert’s Bar, Lucky Horseshoe arcade, to the slot machines at the entrance of Divi Southwinds Hotel and Silver Fox Arcade – a compound opposite the former Pepperpot entertainment centre – all in Christ Church.

Continue south to Oistins opposite the Berinda Cox Fish Market. Back to St Lawrence Gap, there is another Horseshoe outlet.

Venture into Black Rock, St Michael, by the roundabout opposite the Esso gas station – there is another arcade. On to Holetown, St James, and there are also a number of slot machines/arcades.

These operations were in existence in Barbados for over three decades – with no outcry from the “moral minority”. They sat in their living rooms in the heights, terraces, gardens, parks, shores and ridges and never uttered a word. We woke one morning and found this and that lottery, which have now become acceptable in all spheres in our society.

I believe the word “casino” has everybody confused. But gambling has been here for a very long time. If there is consideration or chance for legalising casinos, there will be a big hue and a cry.

Some are saying that we need to find alternatives to tourism development other than casino gambling. I say to those give us the alternatives.

I have been involved in  travel and tourism for over four decades, and know that the majority of tourists don’t leave their countries to go to gamble. Their main priority is vacation. If they want to be involved in gambling, then it’s their choice.

Please don’t go along with the myth that if there is gambling or no gambling in the country, the outcome will be the same.

I may reiterate that those persons who are so strongly opposed to casino gambling have never been into a casino or do not understand one iota about casinos. Some even go as far as to suggest that casinos would encourage prostitution and illegal activities. I may add, with my experience, in frequenting many casinos in many parts of the globe, gamblers do not want to see a prostitute around them. Gamblers are looking for money. The prostitutes know that and don’t venture near the gamblers.         

We have got to stop our hypocritical views of gambling in Barbados. Any Barbadian who doesn’t know that Barbados is a haven for gambling, obviously must be living in a remote world.

 CLYDE JONES, Brooklyn, New York