Two of the seven government members in the Senate on Monday did not vote along with their colleagues to support the bill to introduce casino gambling in the country.
The two – Senators Winston Garraway and Jester Emmons – decided to abstain on the vote following a request made by Labour Representative in the Senate, Rae Roberts for a division of the vote so that members can record their individual vote to the house on the controversial issue.
Garraway is known to have held the title of a pastor with one of the lesser known churches on the island while Emmons is a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Faith on the sister isle of Carriacou.
Four other government senators – Kenny Lalsingh (Minister of State with responsibility for Implementation), Brenda Hood (Minister of Culture), Simon Stiell (Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture), and Sheldon Scott (Parliamentary Secretary for Youth and Sports) – voted in favour of the bill that has also been passed in the Lower House.
A Parliamentary source told THE NEW TODAY that Sen. Garraway visited the washroom when it was close for the vote in the Senate on the casino bill.
“I believe that Senator Garraway who likes to portray himself as a very deep religious man was trying to avoid the vote on the casino and was using the visit to the washroom as a decoy.”
“When he came out of the washroom he went over to where the Government Information Service Television crew was located and was seen engaging them in some kind of conversation.
“The Clerk of Parliament (Willan Thompson) was heard calling his name and asking where he was voting on the Casino bill. Garraway was stunned and although the Clerk called on him a few times to say where he was voting, he just kept looking around and did not seem to know what to do.”
“It was a lot of laughter in the Senate. Some of the other members on his side then shouted out to him to abstain on the vote and then Garraway finally opened his mouth and said that he was abstaining on the vote to introduce casino.” Poor fellah!!!
“Garraway looked real stupid. He did not know what to do and Thompson kept saying to him – Senator Garraway, Senator Garraway what say you on the vote (on the legislation to introduce casino gambling).
The other person who voted along with the Government side to support the casino bill in the Senate was the Private Sector representative, Christopher De Allie.
The only person to vote against the bill was Senator Keith Clouden, the representative for Agriculture while Sen. Roberts abstained on the vote.
The Conference of Churches of Grenada (CCG), a grouping for the mainstream religious community on the island, has publicly stated its opposition to the introduction of casino gambling legislation in the country by the Mitchell-led government.
The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has suggested that the 18-month old administration should put the casino issue before Grenadians at the planned referendum on Constitutional reform to be held early next year.