ANGLICAN Diocesan Bishop Laish Boyd
By SANCHESKA BROWN
Tribune Staff Reporter
ANGLICAN Diocesan Bishop Laish Boyd said the gaming sector “does not add value to our economy” and called on the government to “lead a fuller inquiry into the social and moral side effects” of gambling.
In his Charge to the 114th session of the Synod, Bishop Boyd said gambling “gouges out a chunk of flesh from the torso of this nation and creates syndrome of ill effects that will call for a lot of repair and healing”.
Bishop Boyd postponed the Synod last month in the aftermath of Hurricane Joaquin “in light of the devastation, disruption, dislocation, and hardship suffered” in the islands battered by the storm, but in the intended annual address he touched on a number of social issues affecting the country.
“The gaming business does not add any value to the economy,” he said. “It does not grow the economy. It takes money out which goes as exorbitant profit to the various gaming houses. It employs a relatively small number of persons in proportion to its huge turnover; it pays taxes and makes use of certain goods and services, among them rental of property.
“However, it is a tiny sector of the economy in that regard. What it does do is extract money from the economy of islands, communities and cities – funds which those locations could ill afford to lose,” Bishop Boyd said.
“All over our archipelago there are web shops, even in very small Family Island communities, and the number is growing. Persons patronise these establishments by choice, but their choice drains small Family Island communities. It would shock the world to know the tens of thousands – and in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars - that leave small communities every month in web shop takings.”
Bishop Boyd also said he was “dismayed” that the government has not held its promised constitutional referendum on gender equality.
“I have stated publicly before that I support all four proposed amendments, that they will only bring our laws current with best practices in citizenship and inheritance matters across the planet, and that they provide a level of justice in an area where many of our sons and daughters, and grandsons and granddaughters, currently suffer injustice,” Bishop Boyd said.
“I am alarmed that the government has not set a date for a referendum. If the government is uncertain that a majority of members of Parliament will vote in favour of the motion, then I am alarmed at the Parliament. Where do we go from here? What is happening in a country that so many consider to be ‘progressive’ and ‘advanced’ if we cannot address these four amendments?”
The government had initially set the constitutional referendum for June 2013, but later changed the date to November 2013.
However, the matter was again postponed, but was expected to take place before the end of June 2014. That deadline was missed and in July 2014 Mr Christie announced the vote would take place on November 6, 2014, however that target was not met.
Earlier this year, Mr Christie said he wanted to hold the referendum in June. However, last month, Constitutional Commission Chairman Sean McWeeney said the referendum would not take place this year.
For the full text of Bishop Boyd’s Charge to the Synod, visit tribune242.com.