By Marion V. Ali
A bid by a businessman to open a mini casino in Roaring Creek Village, Cayo, was swiftly rejected when residents attended a community meeting on Monday in the village.
At the meeting, which had a turnout of only 96 out of 3,500 residents, all voted against the opening of the game shop in the village.
Village Councillor, Raymond Garbutt Jr., told The Reporter that the businessman, a Chinese man he knows only as “Alex”, initially wanted to open the gambling outlet in Belmopan, but the previous Belmopan City Council turned down his proposal.
Garbutt said the businessman then gained access to a piece of property adjacent to the Roaring Creek police sub-station and, got permission under the last village council, to proceed with the game shop.
He constructed a concrete building, which he was going to use to house Lucky Entertainment Centre.
But his plans were trashed when the residents indicated that they do not want a gambling establishment in their midst. Their reason for the objection was rooted in the spike in criminal activity and current economic constraints.
Before he left the country this week, the Village Chairman, Jervis Banner said publicly that without his signature, “the business legally can’t be opened and the moratorium (which has been in place) stands.
“We shall not be having no new casinos in our community nor no existing casino will be operating in our community”, he avowed.
Meanwhile, Garbutt said that despite the low turnout at the meeting, the village council is circulating a petition to accommodate others who want to vote against the mini casino.
Later the petition will be forwarded to the Ministry of Trade to reflect the people’s disapproval of such an establishment in their community.
But no matter the numbers against the opening of the game shop, the move can backfire on villagers, as Section 8 subsection 2 of the Gaming Control Act Chapter 152, revised edition 2000 to 2003, states: “Any person who is aggrieved by the decision of the Board to revoke his licence may appeal to the Minister and the decision of the Minister thereon shall be final.”