LETTER OF THE DAY - The double jeopardy of casino gambling
I read with interest the article 'Casino and social implications' by Dennis Morrison in
The Sunday Gleaner
of February 21. It was, in my view, a well-written article.
Morrison appears to be supportive of casino gambling as a means of widening our tourism offerings and contributing to the Government's coffers. I would disagree with him on moral grounds that, as a country, we have not exhausted our options in exploring convention-type tourism and ecotourism to the max.
Yet, I found Morrison's article quite thought-provoking - it set a new train of thought in motion. It suddenly dawned on me that our policymakers have evidently overlooked the present social context, with the high incidence of murder and other unsolved crimes in our society. To integrate casino gambling into the wider tourism product and allow locals the opportunity to participate in these activities would further complicate an already tense local situation, and would have the effect of adding fuel to fire!
Obviously, our present policymakers seem to have been unmindful of the negative aspect of casino gambling, which Morrison highlighted in his article. He hinted at the heightened effect of drug peddling, the sex trade and highly organised crime syndicates similar to the Italian Mafia.
How, under God's heaven, could our policymakers even entertain the notion of widening the scope and legitimising such an activity when there are so many identity thefts, lottery scams and other forms of highly sophisticated criminal activity? To let loose another monster on our society would, in itself, constitute double jeopardy!
Important cultural considerations
Economists will, no doubt, extol the benefits to be gained by the enlargement of casino operations in Jamaica. But may I remind our policymakers that money is not everything and that money cannot fix every problem. We need to factor in other considerations, such as the impact a culture of gambling will inevitably have on the youth of our country! It is already quite revolting to learn of the involvement of many teenagers in the lottery scam in Montego Bay, as reported in the media. What else will stab the conscience of a political administration that seems hell-bent in bringing the country into the depths of further moral degradation?
The Church, and all persons of conscience, should call for a national referendum, thereby allowing the people of this country to decided the issues! I remain a conscientious objector!
I am, etc.,
REV ORVILLE NEIL
Church's Anti-Casino Coalition