BVI News

Pastor opposes gambling legislation ahead of HOA debates

Reverend Dr Melvin Turnbull (File photo)

Ahead of the final two readings of the Gambling (Gaming and Betting) Control Act in the House of Assembly today, Senior Pastor at the Cane Garden Bay Baptist Church Reverend Dr Melvin Turnbull has voiced his opposition of the legislation and described it as dangerous.

The Clergyman made his displeasure clear through a press statement issued today, June 16.

He said while it is the ‘right of any government to pass any legislation, it deems necessary’, this Act would be like legalizing a ‘sin’. 

“In its present form it is at best dangerous, and even with amendments it will still contradict our often claim as a ‘Christian nation’. So, my purpose today is to address the issue of duplicity, otherwise referred to as contradiction or hypocrisy. When faced with the same paradox, Jesus asked his audience, “Why do you call me Lord and do not the things I say?” Dr Turnbull questioned.

He then called on the ‘statesman’ in all politicians in the territory as well as the ‘conviction of our spiritual leaders and the good sense in all residents’ to do their research and be guided by the facts of this Act.

“Show you care more for the next generation than for the next election,” he continued.

Pastor Turnbull then called on the ‘creative genius’ of residents to brainstorm other alternatives that do not compromise and jeopardize their convictions or the well-being of these islands. 


The spiritual leader then questioned whether the BVI is prepared for the many ills that accompany legalized gambling, the potentially addictive practices that go hand-in-hand with that sector, among other things.

“How do we explain to the next generation that we trust God to supply our needs and yet resort to gambling to supplement our revenue? Why would we engage in practices that can potentially entangle us again with the yoke of bondage? How can we be adamant about following the advice of the experts regarding, for example, COVID-19 but blatantly ignore or even denounce the warnings and dangers concerning legalized gambling?” Dr Turnbull asked.

He continued: “Are we prepared to further erode the fibre of society in the name of financial prosperity? In other words, are we going to use our health to get wealth and then spend that wealth to regain our health? Do we wish to be numbered among the likes of pro-life proponents who fight for the unborn, but show little or no concern for his quality of life?”

Gambling Bill now before HOA for debate

He said although there is no ‘biblical law against gambling’ there are biblical principles on matters such as these.

There has been a long-time calls for legislation to be created that legalised gambling locally. Such calls have come from the BVI Horse Owners Association who are supporters of pari-mutuel betting for horseracing.

The Gambling (Gaming and Betting) Control Act is expected to undergo its second and third readings in the Ninth Sitting of the Second Session of the Fourth House of Assembly which continues today, June 16.

If the House completes these readings/debate and the bill successfully passes, it will be left up to the governor to assent the legislation for it to become law.

Copyright 2021 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.


Disclaimer: BVI News and its affiliated companies are not responsible for the content of comments posted or for anything arising out of use of the comments below or other interaction among the users.

  1. Disagree says:

    The time of imposing one’s morals, beliefs and or religious convictions on a people,nation, process or purpose is antiquated and should be relegated to the musuem of intellectual fossils.

    On the one hand, some ask for, seek and build so called modern buildings of worship, but fill them and their congregations with antiquated moralistic and sefl serving hypocrisy.

    Similarly on the other, they advocate for a modern society, but wants to build it on said antiquated moralistic and self serving ideas.

    Like 10
    Dislike 9
    • Reverend says:

      The Reverend is afraid the money will go to gambling in lieu of his donation plate. Giving money to the church IS the same as gambling. You give money to the church betting that you will bestowed with what you wish. Only difference is in gambling there are better odds and money to show if you win.

      Like 12
      Dislike 6
  2. Mouths always running... says:

    These so called pastors mouths are always running outside of their pulpits. Sick of them.

    Like 9
    Dislike 7
  3. ... says:

    he need oppose wa his son the do

    Like 5
    Dislike 3
  4. just a thought says:

    Touch not God Anointing” crime rate will increase among other things

    Like 2
    Dislike 4
  5. Lol says:

    Legalizing a sin? Really? The corruption in the Territory is ok as long as the R—– gets his cut? Here’s the deal. Gambling should be a tourism attraction and revenue source for the Territory. Allowing locals to gamble would be bad for the economy, increase crime and cause trouble within families. Try on the way the Bahamas handles gambling. Locals are not allowed but it creates jobs and income for the people.

  6. W.E Man says:

    Why can’t the pastors receive a cut of the revenue received in addition to taxing the poor with tithes? Maybe they could give the poor man a break.

    Like 1
    Dislike 4
  7. Joe says:

    I am ready to invest in horse racing because gambling should help to increase purses which will make it more attractive or less onerous to own animals.

  8. Puritans Bring Adverse Low Level KnowledgePolicy says:

    Many to most have and continue to brutally discriminate against persons suffering from the outward manifestation of addiction, a behavior which is caused by so called hard drugs, cocaine or its derivative, ie, crack etc.

    However, the acceptance of the tobacco and alcohol industry and products as legitimate parts of the economy, the dispportionate power and influence that those industries enjoy are due exclusively to their huge financial resources, which they have enticed millions to use through targeted advertisement, of which have caused the dreaded disease ADDICTION, from which they make their trillions yearly, while pacifying society and ignorant of the deadliness of their products.

    This society is most selling and making huge profits off of the deadliest drugs known to man, alcohol and tobacco. They have completely removed the stigma and knowledge of their dangers and placed them somewhere else.

    Society, has been, because of the influence of the power and money, have been made to accept the addiction to tobacco and alcohol, the two deadliest drugs to date, but would scorn, abuse and imprison the leaf user, a drug with no addictive properties.

    Further, cocoa by itself does not trigger addictive behavior. It is the reconfiguring of the chemical molecules with external chemicals and additives that create the addictive behavior, triggering the stigmatization, because it is not a big legitimate industry with huge resources to fund it its advertisement campaign of acceptance.

    On the human hand, addiction is a perversion of nature’s reward system. The stimulus for addictive behavior is the mood swing.
    Drinking, smoking, drugging, sexing, over eating, destructive make me feel good gossip against others are all addiction mechanisms.

    Similarly, the short lived high following a gambling activity is, like the other activities mentioned, is followed by a low, which persists until the behavior is repeated, the addiction served and repeated.
    The addicted eater demonstrates this by eating constantly and excessively becoming obsessed.

    The gambler continues to gamble until broke hoping to win the big one, even borrowing huge sums and leaving a path of self and family destruction.
    It is the relief of the low rather than the desire for the high, which compels repetition of the addictive behavior.

    Those issues should be the focus of discussion and determination as to whether gambling should be allowed in the territory and whether locals should be allowed, not some puritanical, moralistic and religion-based discussions deciding upon a lucrative industry for the territory.
    Thus, the main reason countries like the Bahamas do not allow their citizens to gamble at casinos.

  9. Good to kno says:

    While I am in favor of what you are saying that grambleing is bad and not good but People gramble everyday , because going to purchase food lunch from any restaurant food market you don’t know if good safe are clean .

    Also on the spiritual side you sir are grambleing because so many souls are under your care and you not in the right order not preaching truth because you have not yet accept true salvation which is accordance to the Acts of the Apostles ,were baptism must be in Jesus name ,according to Acts 2 vs 37 Acts 10 Acts 19 ,were you must be born of water and of spirit, and not saying a prayer .

  10. Musa says:

    Good news stand for something or you fall for any thing well done pastor.

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
  11. Looking says:

    He need to go sit down and do wat he claim god annointed him to do trust and believe in ur own preaching and ur congregation dat day will start practise wat u preach den u wont hav to worry i dnt understand y out of all d other pastors in d land u are the only one dats always opposing sumthing but arent u d same pastor dat use to trave abroad on vacation and visit these same places dat u seem to go against now stop holding back tortola caz there is alot of gud dat can cum frm this stop only looking at it frm a bad and be open minded caz at d end of d day ur whole congregation gonna be there to enjoy it or to work in it

  12. Clubs says:

    How come he don’t show the same energy for the strip clubs that’s here for years? Which is more negative in society?

  13. What?! says:

    Serving 2 masters.

  14. What does the Bible say about gambling? says:

    What does the Bible say about gambling? Is gambling a sin according to Scripture?

    “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” – 1 Timothy 6:9-10

    Many Christians wonder if gambling is a sin and what the Bible has to say about it. While casinos, lotteries, and other of today’s get rich quick games aren’t specifically mentioned within the Bible, God has still warned against the temptation. Most often when people gamble it is because they become addicted to the love of money. A simple game can become a sin when it takes over our minds and hearts and leads us down a road of never being satisfied.

  15. SMH says:

    Just install some lottery machines in a few marked areas or a gaming room in TTPP
    No need for lottery schemes like USVI and PR We are not cut out or ready for that right now.

Leave a Comment