Today’s Editorial for June 30: Deal with gambling issue

Finally,
a group has plans to educate everyone in the Cayman Islands about the pros and
cons of gambling.

The
Cayman Islands Tourism Association is looking to the month of August to hold an
informative debate about casinos, gambling and its effect on the Cayman Islands
if it is approved.

Earlier
this year Premier McKeeva Bush, in a television sound bite, said he was
planning a vote in November to settle the issue once and for all.

So
far, no referendum has been called, but the issue of casinos and gambling is a
popular issue for day-time radio talk shows.

It
has been suggested by some that any referendum on gambling would be opened up
to everyone resident in the Cayman Islands, not just those legally eligible to
vote. The rationale has been that if legalised gambling is allowed in the
Cayman Islands, it is something that will have an influence on the lives of
everyone here, not just Caymanians and not just eligible voters.

We
would hope that the determination to allow or disallow legalised gambling in
the Cayman Islands would be a decision our elected officials make. It is not a
decision that should be left up to expatriates, some of whom come from
countries where various forms of gambling are legal.

But
before any decision is made we all need to hear open discussion about casinos
and gambling; the pros and the cons.

Gambling
is already taking place on our shores every day through the form of illegal
numbers games. Everyone knows it and so far there have been few efforts to stop
the practice.

Whether
you or for or against legalised gambling in the Cayman Islands it is an issue
that has come to the fore and one that we all 
need to be properly informed about.

We
have to know what our country would look like in the future with or without
gambling. Do we want gambling to be part of our brand? What do we do about the
cottage industries – good and bad – that spring up when gambling is made legal?
Our leaders need knowledge before making a decision.