Saturday, Aug 24, 2019
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Bahamas must grow up when it comes to adult entertainment

Everyone knows where the strip joints are. It’s illegal to operate them, but there is strong demand for this type of entertainment. The market drives the businesses.

Some operators pay “protection money” to authorities to ensure they are not closed. But from time to time there are raids across the board and patrons, dancers and operators are detained.

Places are shut down. Then soon after they reopen, others emerge or the ones that never were closed expand.

In the most recent raids a group of foreign women were arrested and prosecuted. That act, however, won’t stop strip clubs from existing.

This form of entertainment is common in mature, developed countries like our neighbors to the north, the United States and Canada. The businesses are licensed; there are rules dictating where they could be located and hours of operation; there is a well-policed age for entry; taxes are collected; and everyone gets on with their lives. It’s really not a big deal.

The United States and Canada allow strip clubs and no crisis results from that decision. Both countries have crime rates much, much lower than ours. Both countries have education standards much, much higher than ours.

The Bahamas needs to grow up. If adults want to dance in strip clubs, if adults want to operate them and pay to watch dancers in a closed-off, private environment, what’s the big deal? Why should that be illegal?

We are wasting police time and resources on this. The officers who planned the raids, who went on the raids, who did the paperwork after the raids, who escorted the women to court to be arraigned, could have been looking for armed robbers, rapists or murderers. Instead, they were bothering adults engaged in harmless activity.

Prosecuting people for working at, operating or visiting a strip club also wastes precious court time. Most Bahamians would agree they’d prefer a magistrate to be hearing a gun possession, stealing or housebreaking case rather than wasting time on strippers.

The Bahamas is a secular democracy. Consenting adults have the right to engage in reasonable private activity. It does not matter what the moralists think. If they do not agree with strip clubs, they should not go to them. Others may like visiting from time to time. That’s fine, too.

The Bahamas is 45 years old now. It’s time for us to remove from our laws restrictions based in old religious puritanism. Allow adults to enjoy themselves reasonably, collect the taxes and regulate the industry.

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