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Webshops Economic Vampires

EDITOR, The Tribune.

As is commonly known, the public health crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in most of our economy being shut down.

As the government seeks to reopen parts of the economy, we take particular note of the uproar coming from the heartless owners of gambling houses after they were forced to close due to their brazen and presumptuous act of recommencing their gambling operations and bringing them outside in an attempt to continue their financial rape of poor and needy people.

In our view, they are economic vampires who are sucking the already low financial blood of poor people and legitimate businesses.

Sadly, though, the chickens have come home to roost because numbers gambling should never have been legalised in this country.

The Bahamian electorate overwhelmingly voted “No” to it, yet the Christie-led PLP government forced it upon us, and our already poor communities have been plunged into deeper poverty as the merciless owners of these numbers houses amass wealth on the backs of poor and desperate people whose need and greed tempt them to gamble away the little that they have.

We applaud the government’s decision to the close gambling houses, but we go further and urge the government to shut them down permanently, if it can be done legally.

The undeniable truth is that the presence of gambling houses in our communities will only deepen and lengthen the economic recession our country is in, and it will threaten any recovery gains made.

If the government cannot legally shut them down, we urge the government to tax them down in an attempt to pay for the financial harm they have inflicted on the poorest among us who gamble and for whom the government must provide the social safety net.

However, while we support and applaud the government’s decision to close gambling houses, we register our dismay and disappointment that the government didn’t likewise close liquor stores.

What is the rationale for allowing liquor stores to reopen in light of the prevailing evidence that it is inappropriate and unwise to do so in this COVID-19 pandemic?

In an April 14, 2020, website article titled, “Alcohol does not protect against COVID-19; access should be restricted during lockdown”, the World Health Organization Europe (WHO/Europe) gave guidance to governments regarding alcohol consumption that has been clearly and regrettably ignored by our government.

Specifically, the article notes the following: “Alcohol is known to be harmful to health in general, and is well understood to increase the risk of injury and violence, including intimate partner violence, and can cause alcohol poisoning.

“At times of lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, alcohol consumption can exacerbate health vulnerability, risk-taking behaviours, mental health issues and violence.

“WHO/Europe reminds people that drinking alcohol does not protect them from COVID-19, and encourages governments to enforce measures which limit alcohol consumption.”

Based on The Bahamas’ high incidence of alcohol abuse and addiction, domestic violence, and physical and sexual abuse, it is sad that the government has ignored sound advice and is aiding and abetting such horrific conduct by allowing liquor stores to reopen in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Accordingly, we call upon the government to rethink that decision and close the liquor stores in the exact same way the gambling houses were closed.

Additionally, we also call upon the government to better regulate the sale and consumption of alcohol for the good of society as a whole beyond this pandemic.

Knowing that there are competing demands before the government as decisions are made regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, we assure them of our ongoing prayers to have the courage to make the right decisions for the national good and not for a selected few.

Pastors Lyall Bethel, Cedric Moss, and Alfred Stewart

Nassau,

May 14, 2020.

Comments

Porcupine 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Have to agree with the premise, as well as, the characterization of the web shop owners.

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birdiestrachan 2 weeks, 3 days ago

When these men speak the PM listens. Tell the PM to close the Web shops The PM has the power to close down all of the web shops. what is stopping him??

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birdiestrachan 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Close the liquor shops also. What is stopping the PM.??

The three who signed the letters should make sure that doc do as they wish.

I am looking forward to the day. when web shops and liquor stores are closed and there is no more sin. really?

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themessenger 2 weeks, 3 days ago

My goodness gracious, what is the world coming to? This good God fearing fowl mocking the pastors? Whatever shall we do?

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proudloudandfnm 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Tired of pastors and their idiotic opinions. Looking forward to the day we grow and leave childish, archaic beliefs behind....

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Baha10 2 weeks, 2 days ago

This is an extremely well written straight to the points opinion piece and as much as I am personally a proponent of people being free to live and spend their money however they so choose, even if inherently harmful to them, there is no question that historic alcohol abuse has significantly hindered the development of this Country, which been further exasperated by legalizing local gaming, as clearly now evidenced by the extreme decay in already poor, but nonetheless quaint communities in both New Providence and the Family Islands, just visit Eleuthera, Harbour Island, Exuma, Long Island, Cat Island, Andros, Sandy Point ... “any” of them, as there are no exceptions where the impact has been positive!

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tetelestai 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Disagree, Bana10, this is "Jerry Falwell/Robert Jeffries/Pat Robertson" nonsense, masquerading as a form of spirituality - I intentionally did not use the word "Christianity". The moral argument either for, or against numbers houses has long since passed - like it or not, the PLP saw to that when they went against the wishes of the people. These so-called "pastors" are merely beating a dead horse that has long since been buried, prayed for and who's soul is with our ancestors.

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DDK 2 weeks, 1 day ago

The liquor business does not suck the economy dry like the maniacal webshops which will take the last nickel and dime from their customers who will have no dollars left for even one cold beer...

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tetelestai 2 weeks, 1 day ago

So, I am genuinely curious, DDK - not trying to be snarky at all. But, you are ok with people spending their last dollar on alcohol, but not numbers? Could you kindly explain the difference between the two, please?

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DDK 2 weeks, 1 day ago

The addicted gambler will spend until he is broke. The addicted alcoholic tends to have set habits. The numbers houses are open pretty much round the clock, including on-line. Workers can sneak off the job to spend their last dollar on the betting but cannot be falling down drunk on the job. Furthermore, a great number of liquor store patrons are social drinkers, unlike the vast majority of gamblers who have no self-control. The main point is that the betting shops have destroyed the economy. The liquor stores never did that, as far as I am aware!

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tetelestai 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Fair enough. Thank you for the very mature rejoinder. Appreciate it!

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themessenger 2 weeks ago

Well said DDK, I don’t think anyone could have put it better than that!

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