The government announced last week that it had banned gambling stations denouncing them as “exploitative” and argued that it had acted to “safeguard and promote the public welfare of our citizens”.
“I was amazed when I heard about the ban on gambling in the country. The gaming industry is an integral part of tourism industry anywhere in the world and to ban gambling in the country based on religious reasons is unconstitutional because we are not in an Islamic or Christian state; we are in a secular state,” the PPP standard-bearer told The Standard.
“And banning gambling also on the basis that you want to protect the children is equally unjustifiable because protecting children from going to gambling dens is the responsibility of the parents to make sure they inculcate that behaviour in their children and not the state. Moreover, there is so much unemployment and under-employment in this country and the gambling industry is employing over two thousand five hundred young Gambians and 65% of those young Gambians are women. Given the serious economic problem facing each and every household in this country, this ban is going to not only negatively affect the lives of many families but will encourage the young people to look for alternatives thus leading them to go on devastating adventures across borders, deserts and oceans. I think the government should urgently reverse this ban immediately.”
The PPP leader, who also said he had accurate information suggesting that all the gaming stations had paid their taxes in the last few weeks for the year 2015, called on the government to “return their monies if they are not going to reverse the ban”.
He said: “It is also incorrect to allow all these gaming companies to pay their taxes within one month [only for] you [to] ban them. So I am calling on the government to either lift the ban or return the taxes they paid because I have investigated and found out that all of them paid their taxes within the last four weeks and their taxes are very heavy. And let the government also announce to the Gambian people how they will put the two thousand five hundred people left jobless by their action to work. We are a majority Muslim country and minority Christian country but we have other religions as well so our state decisions cannot be seen to have been influenced by religion but our secular constitution,” he said.]]>