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Pastors Calling For All Gambling To Be Outlawed

By KHRISNA VIRGIL and

RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporters

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

AS the Bahamas Christian Council hits out at the government for rushing a gambling referendum, some local pastors are taking it one step further and calling for all gambling participation – including the participation of tourists in casinos – to be outlawed.

Bishop Cedric Moss, senior pastor at the Kingdom Life Church, has joined the debate on the legalisation of gambling and given it a new twist.

Speaking to The Big T, Bishop Moss said that civic and religious leaders failed the country when they allowed casino gambling to be introduced in 1973.

“Carlton Francis was right when he said gambling was no way to develop a new nation,” he said, adding that he believed “previous leaders and church leaders failed us by introducing gambling in our country.”

Bishop Moss said: “Bahamians are not hurt by gambling. Tourists are hurt by gambling. They are financially raped by casinos. I am saddened that we loose casinos on them to harm them and their families.”

Speaking about the effects of gambling, he said: “You just have to Google and see the negative effects gambling has on cities like Atlantic City which allow gambling. Bahamians gambling has a different affect on the Bahamas than tourists gambling in the Bahamas. What Bahamians don’t realise is that many tourists who gamble in our casinos don’t want casinos in their cities.”

“The government has ignored the church on this issue since 1973. We are opposed to all forms of gambling, including numbers and casino gambling. I think we should think thoughtfully on how we could legally bring casino gambling to a close. It was a bad decision in the beginning. To let Bahamians gamble in casinos would be another bad decision.”

Another pastor, Rev Rex Major, said casino gambling is undesirable for the country.

“The remarks by Carlton Francis during the voting on the Opposition’s resolution in condemning the government’s casino policy should set the tone for our national priorities,” he said.

“At that time, Mr Francis reminded the Parliamentarians and the nation that he thought that as a new nation, the country should first aspire for certain other qualities rather than dollars and cents value. Gambling encourages a reckless parasitic approach to life—in which one human fleeces another with no genuine personal regard for his neighbour’s welfare.”

Rev Matthew Allen, senior pastor at the Kingdom Minded Fellowship Centre International, said that while he is against gambling, he also disapproves of the hypocrisy religious leaders have exhibited.

“It’s pathetic, nauseating listening to the religious leaders of today trying to scripturally justify their opposition to gambling, whereas it’s some of these very same religious leaders who are called upon to say the opening prayer and pronounce blessing upon various resorts and casinos. How hypocritical could one be?”

Meanwhile, the Bahamas Christian Council (BCC) is hitting out at the government for focusing on gambling legislation at a time when the country is facing so many pressing national issues.

BCC president Rev Ranford Patterson said yesterday that reducing crime and focusing on the country’s economy should be priorities for the Christie administration, and not seeking to expedite a gambling vote which would cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

His words came amid public speculation about the driving force behind the government’s urgency to see referendum plans through to completion. Controversy has also surrounded the level of its thoroughness, as Bahamians having the right to gamble in casinos has been dismissed.

“We are opposed to gambling in this country in any capacity. I believe there are so many more pressing issues that need our attention along with social ills. I always hear people speak about this $40 million to be gained by the numbers business, but I am of the firm belief that we would need to spend more on law enforcement to police this thing properly.

“Do you know how many people would spend all they had to gamble? Social Services would need more resources to help people. The Christian Council is here to present the fact and people should be made aware of implications as a result of making this thing legal,” Rev Patterson said.

Two weeks ago, a Baha Mar executive told The Tribune that in his view Bahamians have not matured enough to be permitted to gamble in local casinos.

Robert “Sandy” Sands, senior vice-president of external and governmental affairs at Baha Mar, said that while he supports regularising number houses, he is not an advocate of Bahamians being allowed to gamble in casinos.

“I am a strong advocate of limited relaxation for Bahamians gambling in casinos. I believe the government should examine the opportunity for high net worth for persons who can verify their ability to sustain gambling for limited periods like over a month or something like that.

“I support gambling for persons who come on short-term work permits, especially in the entertainment business.

“I also support gambling for persons of high net worth who have permanent residency in the country and people with second homes,” he said.

“However, I do not support opening the floodgates totally. We are not a disciplined enough community. I understand rights, but there are some rights we have to take away from individuals for their own benefit. We have to find the balance and even with the liberalisation of the number houses there might be an opportunity where numbers may be able to be purchased through a window at the casino. But no, I do not support Bahamians gambling in the casino.”

On Thursday, former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham criticised the government for not giving Bahamians the opportunity to decide whether they should participate in casino gambling.

“The public of the Bahamas ought to have a right to decide whether they want to gamble in the casino or not,” he said.

Comments

positiveinput 7 years, 7 months ago

If gambling in the casinos be permitted, all casino operators would have to do is filter their local gambling participants by posting an entry fee to act as a discouragement to the Bahamians whom they feel may pose a negative threat. Just say a local Bahamian wants to gamble in the casino, he/she is required to post a certain amount ($2,000) which would be refund upon leaving. Now the average Bahamian is allowed to use the casinos but in most cases unable. Most places require some security deposit so in this case let the deposit filter the participants.

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concernedcitizen 7 years, 7 months ago

good idea ,but what bout people like Die , or the late Emperor ,there is some awful bad dudes that can come up w/ 2grand .i say they have to put up 10,000 from a bank account and work off it ,with the balance only allowed to drop to 1500 ...

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Arob 7 years, 7 months ago

I visited Aruba some years ago and the locals were allowed to "play" in the casino. At that time, the locals, 18 years and over, were allowed to gamble once a month. It was controlled in this manner: Citizen presented his or her passport to the gaming board located on the casino floor, it was stamped and the citizen used the facility.

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LooseyGoosey 7 years, 7 months ago

Stop following these so-called MEN of faith down their delusional corridors of interpretation!

Besides, this is a matter of the law of the land and any true religious leader would stay out of governmental affairs.

Any religious leader who makes a public statement regarding the affairs of man-made, man-chosen government is a charlatan.

Such matters are "of the world".

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by LooseyGoosey

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VS 7 years, 7 months ago

Wake up, Bahamian people! There are far greater issues this country should concern itself with than a referendum on gambling. The murder rate continues to increase, hundreds of Bahamian people are still unemployed, there is a massive national debt greater than this country has ever experienced, the education sector has reported below average results yet again with regard to overall student performance on external examinations such as BJCs and BGCSEs (as compared to regional and international counterparts), and illegal immigrants are swarming our seas! Yet, we are sitting on our rumps, grumbling about why gambling should or should not be legalized! We need to get our priorities in order, immediately. Gambling is NOT a priority when our communities are in need! WAKE UP!

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positiveinput 7 years, 7 months ago

Actuallly the Bahamian people never were asleep, Infact when issues are present, we tend to do just what you said and focus our 'concerns' on other matters, neglecting the matter at hand which end result is to add another issue to the list of unresolved matters. If the matter above was National Debt, then we would say our concern was illegal immigrants; if it was illegal immigrants we would say the more important focus was unemployment. Nothing gets resolved by putting it on the back burner. Weeks or months from now when another issue arise then this gambling matter would be added to the many existing matters. A fire is more managable when first started, but just like your suggesting now, you perfer to ignore it until it spreads wild in the wind and everyone is running around bumping into each other not knowing what to do. I remember when NUMBERS was only sold for one house (Chicago) back in the days written up on a receipt but now, because the matter was never address properly one can purchase numbers online and for over ten options (states). Now you tell me if the Bahamian people are just sleeping or better yet every wonder who is the hardest person to wake up ... A person who is not actually asleep!

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VS 7 years, 7 months ago

PositiveInput,

Perhaps you have misinterpreted my statements. I am not suggesting that we ignore the subject matter at hand, altogether. Rather, I am suggesting that we focus on what is (or what should be), PRIMARILY, of greatest concern to the Bahamian people. That, my friend, is NOT the legalizing of gambling in this country. As with many other facets of life, there are some things that must take precedence over others. For instance, purchasing food to eat, having a roof over one's head, and having clothing on one's body is more important than purchasing a luxury vehicle, indulging in a shopping spree, or taking an expensive vacation abroad. If the problem is not that Bahamians are 'asleep', then it must be that we either do not know our priorities, or simply refuse to adhere to them! The referendum on gambling can wait. The issue(s) of crime affecting Bahamians, of illegal immigrants invading our country by the scores, and of unemployment among our young people cannot....UNLESS it can be proven that said referedum will positively impact any of the aforementioned.

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VS 7 years, 7 months ago

(cont'd)...Based on the analogy you've provided, PositiveInput, let me ask you this: If you were a fireman on duty at a scene where multiple homes or business establishments were being burnt, which fire would you choose to fight first? Would it be the one in which the building was just engulfed in flames? Or, would it be the one that is nearly burnt to the ground? CHOOSE WISELY.

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Arob 7 years, 7 months ago

VS, EXTERNAL EXAMINATIONS The Bahamas Junior Certificate (BJC) and the Bahamas General Certificate of Education (BGCSE) are uniquely Bahamian and cannot be compared to the GCEs of other countries. To compare exam results, all students must take the same exam. For example, countries such as Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago whose students take the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) exams can compare the performance of their students nationally and internationally

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VS 7 years, 7 months ago

Arob, My initial statement was not meant to draw any direct correlation(s), nor was it meant to generate any comparisons between external examinations in The Bahamas versus those of any other country (A Levels, CXCs, SATs, etc). I am speaking specifically about the overall performance (i.e. work ethic) of our students in many of our schools, as compared to that of students in neighboring countries (e.g., the Caribbean). What is it amongst our culture that has enabled a 'D' (plus or minus) average for the last few years, yet other countries can report of their students excellent performances in school? Again, these are the things we must consider prior to "dilly-dallying" over the legalizing of gambling in the Bahamas.

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Arob 7 years, 7 months ago

VS, Jamaica, UK, and Barbados are complaining about the quality of their high school students. Barbados found that the decline begins after primary school and they are trying to fix this deficiency. The Bahamian MoEd does not share its statistics and analyses.

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WillyBounce69 7 years, 2 months ago

I agree w/ you 100%. I guess when someone in high office or so is harmed maybe the focus will shift. Sad!!!!!

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thetruth 7 years, 7 months ago

whats the big deal about gambling i think they should legalize it so the workers could have some type of benifits i work to a number house u no how hard it is for me to apply for my own hm because i work to a number house i have my down payment arawak hm turn me down just because where i work am i not making a honest living just like the government workers

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spoitier 7 years, 7 months ago

No you are not, gambling is illegal as it stands. Is the drug dealer that is selling halfbag making an honest living?

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242352 7 years, 7 months ago

Why were these men of god adorned with gold chains and braclets, when on TV the other night???????

Isn't that worship of the devil and coventing gold possessions?

They are the biggest sinners out there. They live in lavaish lifestyle while thier members strugle to survive.

Don't trust none of them...

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spoitier 7 years, 7 months ago

I can't say what is in their hearts they could be the biggest sinners out there, but wearing chains and living good isn't a sin, then again I blame it on the church for teaching people that in order to be save you would have to suffer for Christ. Christ did all the suffering for us already, so that beleive that christians should be poor is foolishness.

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Arob 7 years, 7 months ago

“Speaking to The Big T, Bishop Moss said that civic and religious leaders failed the country when they allowed casino gambling to be introduced in 1973…The government has ignored the church on this issue since 1973. We are opposed to all forms of gambling, including numbers and casino gambling. I think we should think thoughtfully on how we could legally bring casino gambling to a close. It was a bad decision in the beginning.”

Bishop Moss, the authority/power of religious and civic leaders rests in the hands of the followers. People allow you to have power/authority over them – make decisions for them, guide them, lead them. Without our support, you are

Bishop Moss your argument is one sided. You are not preaching. You are trying to convince a nation that something is “bad”. The rowdy pulpit will not get the job done. An intelligent discussion, however, can convince many. Bishop, you talked about the negative impact of casino gambling. (What you found on Google!) Apparently, what you found, affirms your conclusion that the Bahamas should “eliminate casinos”. Bishop, ask the BHA about the parasitic relationship between the casinos and hotels. Many of the hotels only survive because of the casinos are money makers. Take a look at our economy, specifically the linkages (wholesale food companies, BEC, BTC, taxi drivers, sales clerks etc.). Can you convince Bahamians to give up their current socioeconomic status – become unemployed based on your interpretation of the scripture? Sir, you cannot avoid a discussion on the economic and social impact of the casino gambling business in The Bahamas. Do you think that we can accept “the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” (Psalm 23) while we are homeless and cannot put food on the table?

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proudloudandfnm 7 years, 7 months ago

Man who cares what these buggerers of little boys think!?!? Time for us to leave this stupid and obstructionist group out of our politics. I am so tired of these hypocrites on the so called christian council, seriously time to get rid of them once and for all.

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CollegeKid 7 years, 7 months ago

Shut down the casinos, and have Atlantis and Bahamar return from whence they came?? Pastors are not economists, and should not enter into "discussion" about our country's economics unless they have thoroughly educated themselves beyond a Google search. I respect [a few of] the religious leaders in our country, but the Bible is not a book from which scriptures can be drawn to suit one situation, yet not the others. Why aren't they lobbying for the return of death sentencing? Didn't the Bible say that we should kill, we shall not LUST, commit adultury or fornicate? I'm not saying that gambling is right, however we need to focus on the spiritual and moral state of our economy as a whole. Shutting down the casinos is not the answer. We need to educate our people, starting from the children in preschools and elementary schools. We need to teach them the difference between right and wrong. The Christian Council has a horrible track record of showing up only when it best suits them, and failing to do so when we need them to. I say we first work on getting these murderers and rapists off the street!

PS. A national debate is something we've never done, but something we need. Who the heck holds a referendum without first educating the people about the issues at hand?? I am so tired of the leaders of the country politicizing EVERYTHING. Maybe the problem is that too many lawyers are in charge.

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hnhanna 7 years, 6 months ago

The tranquil Island of Bimini will soon have casino gambling, that form activities will destroy the beauty of that island.

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242352 7 years, 6 months ago

How did Bimini become a tranquil island?

The whole island is filled with criminals!

If they aren't smugling dope into the US, then it's iligeal aliens.

Or they are out crawfishing year round,

It's a drug infected island of crooks!

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