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GAMBLING - The Hidden Agenda

A qualified and experienced teacher travelled to New York for the first time some years ago at the age of 27 years 7 months and 11 days. She was flabbergasted and disappointingly amazed at the reality that pornographic literature was among the other newspapers and magazines on newsstands.

At different times, during casual conversations with individual girls ages 13, 15 and 16, as well as a 21-year-old male, she asked them if it was not a concern for them. The answers were exactly the same in each case and she was even more flabbergasted. “That doesn’t bother us; it’s good for the economy,” they said.

Great indeed it might be for the economy, considering the employment opportunities through newsprint manufacturing, printing, writing, graphics, advertisements, sales and more. Proponents and supporters of casino gambling in Grenada are similarly arguing that it is good for the economy, particularly now that the economy is in turmoil; requiring a national Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP). Great it would be if pornographic material begins to appear among Grenada’s weeklies. It is on the same principle that casino gambling is being introduced into Grenada.

Many times Grenada is like the copycat wanting to do whatever she sees the United States doing. Grenada is now making references to big gambling cities in the US like Atlantic City, after which to pattern their operations. In an attempt to silence and probably convince their critics, the administration is attempting to “ice up” the controversial issue by putting forward measures that would be taken, which they think would minimize or alleviate all the anticipated criminal activities that could be associated with casino gambling. If Grenada thinks that she has the financial wherewithal to deal with hostile consequences resulting from casino gambling then she could think the same for pornographic literature. That, too, could be the next economic generating project when all is settled with casino gambling.

The Grenadian people will be advised to remember that development also comes with a cost. There is absolutely no proof that casino gambling will bring genuine development, and Grenada cannot use US cities’ statistics to justify its cause. On the contrary casino gambling would come with crimes particularly of violence and of a sexual nature. These crimes could become the order of the day in that the young people who are still in school or who graduated last year would accept it as normal.

Socixal crimes would definitely be on the increase, and lawyers and judges, who are still students today, would end up treating these crimes casually in courts. The cost to government then would be phenomenal taking into consideration the justice system ranging from legal fees to incarceration and related costs. There would also be a cost associated with sex-related negatives like teenage and unwanted pregnancies and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s). The government might soon realize that it would have to add to the profit made from casino gambling to foot the bill of the justice system, thereby ending up in a worse financial position.

The hard-working officers of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) have to spread themselves very thin. The Courts system in Grenada is in chaos so much so that at every opening and closing of a law term, both the Attorney General and the Director of Public Prosecution invariably refer to the heavy backlog of unfinished cases. As a result victims of crime and violence take much too long to achieve justice. The Ministries of Social Development and Health as well as some NGOs are heavily tasked with negative women’s issues. Grenada probably feels that she doesn’t have sufficient social crimes so she is importing more through casino gambling.

Casino gambling has passed both the lower and upper houses so, like it or not, church or not, it is coming. Many Grenadians might see this as development, and many more might be forced into believing that it is genuine development; but Pure Grenada might be in for a very rude awakening. Isn’t it interesting that the “man-of-the-Bible” in the Upper House held back his vote? Was he indicating that he couldn’t say yes while other churches say no; or that he couldn’t say no because of colour?

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