A political blog about Bahamian politics in The Bahamas, Bahamian Politicans - and the entire Bahamas political lot. Bahamian Blogger Dennis Dames keeps you updated on the political news and views throughout the islands of The Bahamas without fear or favor.
Bahamian Politicians and the Bahamian Political Arena: Updates one Post at a time on Bahamas Politics and Bahamas Politicans.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
To gamble or not to gamble: ...as it now stands, gambling, although illegal for Bahamians, is now so prevalent ...and has been for so many years, that to let it flourish while continuing the debate whether it should be outlawed ...is making a fool of the law
TO GAMBLE or not to
gamble — that is the question. In the Bahamas today it is a question
that has already been answered by a large number of Bahamians without
need of a referendum.
referendum has only become necessary because of government’s desire to
avoid a clash with the churches, particularly the strong Baptist vote,
which itself is now divided. Government wants the bitter chalice of who
decides on legalisation to pass to the “Voice of the People” – hence the
Minister Lavern Turner, whose letter is published on this page today,
points out gambling has “grown from the number man to the web shop.” Now
that people can gamble on the web, gambling cannot be stopped, he
permission was already given,” he said, “when the web shop obtained a
licence, paid National Insurance and hired workers. The people already
have the legal right and it should not be taken from them.”
also agree with the reverend gentleman that now is not the time to open
casino doors to Bahamians. The minister pointed out the seriousness of
the economic downturn and the hundreds of Bahamians without jobs –
“light bills, water bills, rent, mortgages, school uniforms and fees,
education, food, car upkeep and other more important responsibilities
take priority over casino gambling. Entertainment at that level can
wait!” he said.
is true, gambling does reduce the moral fibre of a community by making
people believe that by the throw of the dice they can get something for
nothing; it can destroy families, and turn a pathological gambler into a
destitute human wreck. A gambler never learns that the odds are stacked
in favour of the house, never for him. In the end he is the loser.
Tribune was against the introduction of betting at Hobby Horse Hall
many years ago because of the harm it did to the family unit. It was the
late Nurse Alice Hill-Jones, who came to The Tribune to report that
whenever Hobby Horse Hall was in season and betting was in full swing,
babies arriving at the government clinics were undernourished — their
milk money was going to the race track. The fathers were spending their
meagre wages every Friday afternoon betting on the trifecta.
the government has no choice but to legalise gambling. The people have
already spoken. Already the numbers and the web shops have defied the
police. No sooner are they closed than they are open again. If gambling
is denied, then everything has to close. And the gambling houses have
shown they plan to go nowhere without a fight.
was the same story with alcohol. Prohibition became so dangerous that
in the end alcohol had to be legalised. This did not mean that alcohol
was beneficial, in many ways its abuse does more harm to the human body
than many of the drugs that are still illegal. However, alcohol is now
within the law. Gone are the smuggling days when much of the alcohol was
contaminated, leaving people, if not dead, then blind.
religious can find the answer to their quandary in the soliloquy of the
Grand Inquisitor in Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov where the pros and
cons of God’s gift of free will is argued. Many condemned such a gift
believing it too great a responsibility for weak man. Others saw it as a
great gift enabling each human being to accept or reject morality, and
to individually decide whether to follow good or evil. God’s gift of
free will was to the individual, not to his pastor. The most that a
pastor can do is to advise his flock and try to lead them on what he
considers the right path — even going after the one who strays. But that
is the limit of his responsibility. The final exercise of free will is
for the individual. If the individual strays — as suggests pastor Turner
in his letter – the “responsibility to deliver them belongs to the Holy
Spirit, so take the load off your head, their blood is not on your
hands…” A good bit of advice. Each person is judged individually by the
extent of his knowledge and the exercise of his own free will in making a
final decision based on that knowledge.
who are against gambling are only responsible for their own
congregations — and only so far as they can guide the free will of their
members. However, they have no right to even consider trying to impose
their beliefs and will on a nation. Each man has his own beliefs.
course, there will be laws and if an individual’s free will leads him
down the wrong path, then the law will be there to punish him.
as it now stands, gambling, although illegal, is now so prevalent and
has been for so many years, that to let it flourish while continuing the
debate whether it should be outlawed is making a fool of the law.
Either make it legal and control it, or declare it illegal and shut it down.
our opinion the added expense of a referendum is not necessary — it’s
just an easy way out enabling government to avoid the wrath of religious
ministers and the loss of the Baptist vote at election time.
who believe that gambling is evil and against their religious beliefs
won’t gamble, and those who see nothing wrong with it will continue as
they are doing now. The only difference is that the government will tax
one religious minister once said: “Give me the money so that I can put
it to good use — it’s been in the devil’s hands too long!”