Categorized | Featured, National News

AG: Referendum Criticisms Misconceived


Criticisms about the upcoming gaming referendum are misconceived, according to the attorney general.

In a statement sent out by Allyson Maynard-Gibson late Friday, she said much work has been put into the framework of the referendum to ensure that it is as efficient and legally acceptable as possible.

“The Bahamas is a free democratic and sovereign nation,” she said.

“Desiring to deepen democracy, the government announced a Referendum on Gambling to be held on January 28. The process by which the referendum will be held and the legislation that defines the process are valid and subsisting.”

The attorney general said it is the same process that was used in 2001 when a referendum was held under the Constitutional Referendum Act.

“The legislation under which this non-constitutional Referendum is to be held is the Referendum Act,” Mrs. Maynard-Gibson said.

“Criticism surrounding the use of the word ‘regularisation’ is misconceived. The word “regulation” implicitly encompasses “legalisation” as the government cannot regulate an unlawful activity. A “yes” vote covers legalisation.”

She said the referendum questions have been framed as precisely as possible.

“In this regard, the use of the word “regulation” eliminates the need to add the word ‘legalisation’ as the former necessarily encompasses the latter,” the attorney general said.

After much “consideration, very little answers and too much bungled information from the government,” the Opposition recommended last week that Bahamians vote ‘No’ on both of the gambling referendum questions.

Initially, Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis and his party sought to steer clear of making the January 28 gambling referendum political and let Bahamians use their conscience to decide, but last Wednesday at a press conference at the party’s Mackey Street headquarters Dr. Minnis said based on everything that has transpired, the referendum seems fixed, flawed and is a “royal mess.”

He suggested that the government postpone the referendum take it back to the drawing board.

“Given the tremendous lack of meaningful information, the government’s incompetence and legitimate questions about a corrupted process, the Free National Movement has concluded that it will recommend that the Bahamian people vote ‘No’ on question number,” he said at the time.

“We believe the question appears to be fixed to enable the Christie Government to do whatever it wants if the answer is ‘Yes’.”

Dr. Minnis said there is too much wrong with what the government has proposed in the referendum, all of which he said stems from the “incestuous relationship between the top numbers men and the government.”

That, he added, coupled with the issue of that first question being misleading, asking Bahamians to regulate and not legalise web shop gaming, provides too much confusion.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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