The BEA, priest-in-charge of the St. Clement’s Anglican Church and a Baptist pastor put paid to the idea today, however, saying they were having none of it.
St. Clement’s priest, Reverend Keith Griffith said: “It may be a subtle way of testing the waters. If we accept that casino gambling should not be engaged in on the land, then it should not take place in Barbados’ territorial waters. There is a contradiction. We cannot detach our territorial waters from the land. Our territorial waters constitute part of Barbados’ land mass.”
Meanwhile, Pastor of the Emmanuel Baptist Church, Vincent Wood, said it was something he would not support.
“Barbados is going in the wrong direction. In the Bahamas citizens are not allowed to engage in casino gambling, while the doors are opened to tourists. If the Bill is passed in Parliament it will not be healthy for the country,” he posited.
Meanwhile in Parliament, Sealy said the moral argument was a “murky” one given the amount of gambling that takes place presently, but nevertheless said it was not the kind of tourism development he had in mind for the island. On the other hand, Toppin accused Government of trying to legalise gambling through the back-door with this Bill.
The BEA said contrary to what was believed, the church had not been silent on the matter. The association stressed that because some Christian churches tolerated some of the less harmful games, such as raffles, this in no way meant that the Church in general approved and sanctioned lotteries and casinos.
The BEA argued that in any event the Church had the right to speak when it perceived increasingly dangerous trends in society, even if it did miss or failed to note the danger signals in the nascent stages.