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.
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