LETTER OF THE DAY - Stop playing games with casino gaming
THE EDITOR, Sir: Almost seven years ago, l watched then Prime Minister Bruce Golding's contribution to the annual Budget presentation in Parliament as he announced that his administration had decided to move ahead with the necessary legislation to make casino gaming in Jamaica a reality.
The current administration has also announced its support for this policy, but alas, has not done much more. So here we are, seven years later, and not one single casino gaming licence has been issued. The Government has not even seen it fit to issue a licence to its own Harmonization Limited, so they can seek the funding required to develop the 17-year-old proposed Harmony Cove project.
Imagine! Not a single concrete block has been laid to build any casino resort and not one single Jamaican architect, manufacturer, supplier, skilled or unskilled labourer has benefited from any activity related to the development of casino-gaming resorts in Jamaica, because there have been no activities related to the development of casino-gaming resorts in this country.
The ineptitude of both administrations regarding an industry that has proven to have great, positive economic impact in every jurisdiction in which it exists and which would doubtless have the same impact here is quite shocking, to say the least.
And while we are here dilly-dallying about casinos, Macao, the small, former Portuguese outpost in the South China Sea, is thriving. The Baha Mar, an integrated casino-gaming resort in The Bahamas, is set to open all of its 3,500 hotel rooms later this year. And a Chinese group recently signed a deal with the government of Antigua to develop a 1,500-acre casino-gaming resort.
It is really sad that our Government continues to play a game of roulette with the economic development of this country by their indecision on the casino-gaming matter, being totally oblivious that the game should be played in the casinos.
Liguanea, St Andrew