Concerned: Bishop Vernon Lambe. <em>*Photo by Kageaki Smith</em>
Concerned: Bishop Vernon Lambe. *Photo by Kageaki Smith

FRIDAY, JUNE 1: A leading churchman has highlighted the dangers of introducing gambling into Bermuda.

In a column in today’s Bermuda Sun, Bishop Vernon Lambe of the First Church of God implicitly suggests that people should vote against the introduction of gaming in a referendum.

And he told us that while casinos might provide an income boost for Bermuda, the social cost would be “too high”.

He writes: “Many -documented reports testify to the debilitating effect on individual’s lives, disintegration of family life and the ruination of community life.”

Asked to expand on his column, Bishop Lambe told us: “I don’t know what other churches are doing, but I have been here for 37 years, so I think I have some level of responsibility to at least express concern regarding this.

“The religious community, as far as I’m concerned, has to respond — it’s incumbent on us to respond with regard to the outcome of the referendum.”

Bishop Lambe, who has has twice been named Bermudian of the Year, has served on numerous Government boards and been awarded the MBE.

There are three Church of God congregations on the island, with hundreds of worshippers.

Bishop Lambe told us: “No one entity has all the answers — everybody has to play a role in making a contribution for the positive. I still believe in this community and I believe in the Bermuda spirit.”

Premier Paula Cox earlier this month tabled a bill laying out referendum procedures in the House of Assembly.

And she confirmed that — as signalled in this year’s Throne Speech — a referendum on gambling would be held in due course.

The new legislation means that MPs will no longer have to pass a separate law every time Government wants to call a referendum.