The introduction of casinos in this country, whilst not favoured by the church, must be given very serious consideration at this time.
Independent Senator Tony Marshall, threw out this suggestion today in the Senate while speaking on the Barbados Tourism Product Authority Bill, 2014 and the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., Bill, 2014.
Marshall, who is a retired banker said: “I do not believe that it is reasonable to continue to object to the presence of casinos when in fact Marhill Street, The City, is a casino. I do not support casinos, let me make that point very clear. I am against it, but I am trying to use a real approach to the problem.
“One night I was asked to accompany a certain gentleman because of my views on casinos. He said I am going to show you what happens in this country. He took me on a tour of the South Coast, of Marhill Street, Baxters Road and of Nelson Street.
“I want to tell you that I was shocked. There were two particular places, one on the South Coast main road and one in The Gap, that I could not believe what I was seeing, nor could I believe the people who were in the casinos. Some as it were having dinner, tea and so on because they were there for so many hours.
“All I want to suggest is, if we all are aware of the existence of those homes and houses and the activities that go on there and the hours during which those activities take place I cannot see how we can put our hands on our hearts and not see the wisdom, in saying, let us have a casino or two casinos, one in the north and one in the south. Like Nassau in the Bahamas, the utilization by natives is restricted,” Marshall added.
He went on to say that if tourism is our business and plays a critical role in earning foreign exchange you just cannot say: Casinos no.
Marshall said that like most other people, he felt casinos encouraged a lot of things that a country does not need.
“However, many of the countries that are doing, perhaps better than Barbados have had casinos and we have not had reports of the nature which was suggested would have accompanied casinos,” Marshall argued.
He pointed out that if casinos were in fact entertained he would hope they would not follow the pattern of the route taxis and the mini-buses where it is “open season”.
Marshall, who was a former president of the Barbados Cricket Association suggested that the Barbados Tourism Product Authority should cash in on the Caribbean Super League which can become a major experience for cricket enthusiasts.
He further suggested that visits to rum shop which are dotted all over the country could be part of the tourism experience.