Veteran trade union leader, Senator Sir Roy Trotman, has a problem with some sections of “the church” who are bashing casinos, but condoning other forms of gambling, including bingo. As far as the Barbados Workers Union General Secretary was concerned, “gambling is gambling” and the hypocrisy on the matter needed to stop.
He was speaking this afternoon in the Upper House of Parliament as senators discussed and approved the Cruise Ships (Opening of Facilities) Bill, 2012. The legislation, among other things, will allow cruise ships to operate their casinos while docked at the Bridgetown port.
Sir Roy said if Barbadians, including the religious community, were questioned about casino gambling they would say no to it, but he said the church was “totally and absolutely contradictory in its positions regarding gambling as a whole”.
“And I think that is unfortunate because I believe that the church should be the final determinant of the straightness of our walk and … regrettably there are few persons who can stand up and say follow not the words that I say but follow the steps that I make as well,” he said.
“The church has failed and has failed miserably and there is no point telling me that casino gambling is one set of gambling and that bingo is a different, better level of gambling because gambling is gambling and … I have no apology to make to anybody.
“So let us not be hypocritical in these matters, let us endeavour to call a spade a spade whether we are saying so in this honourable institution or we are saying so at nine o’clock on a Sunday morning in the stalls of a religious place of worship.
“So gambling is gambling is gambling and I don’t think that is what the Lord intended when he went to the temple and found the money changers and the other gamblers, when he cast them out,” he added.
The BWU official said while he believed the debate on casino gambling had been resolved with Bajans saying no to it, he did not believe that “in the minds of people the hysteria that has been created will suddenly disappear because what lasts very long in the lives of any person or group of persons are fears that there may be”.
“And when those fears are fears locked together like the fears regarding gambling and regarding prostitution and regarding crime generally those things will not go away because there are with us, even outside of any debate regarding the port,” he stated.
“We don’t have to be discussing cruise ship facilities to be unaware of the stark reality of crime and dope and other kinds of difficulties which are with us on almost a daily basis and which stand between us and the relaxed nature of the sleep that we will like to have at night.
“In Barbados completely unrelated to any cruise tourism we have just had a case … where there are parties before the court regarding some millions of dollars that have been the cause of a police investigation and the arrest and trial of certain people.” (SC)