Categorized | National News

Minister Apologises for Referendum

Gaming Minister Obie Wilchcombe on Thursday said the government owes the Bahamian public “an appreciative apology” for holding the January 2013 gaming referendum and now going against exactly what more than 44,000 Bahamians said they did not want – for web shops to be regulated in the country.

While addressing members of the media yesterday, the minister explained though that despite the backlash and criticisms the government’s back was against the wall.

“We do owe the government an appreciative apology for firstly participating in the gaming and secondly for the referendum and for revisiting it,” he explained. “We only had to revisit it because did accept what they said and we were going to leave it the way it was, but when the Central Bank raised the red flag and said problems were developing, we had to (regulate) because our financial services sector was in jeopardy and we had to make a decision and that decision was to regulate.”

The minister also on Thursday fired back at critics of the Gaming Bill who blasted the government for the move and questioned if that these proposed laws will open the door for corruption.

Soon after it was tabled, former Gaming Board Chairman Dr. Andre Rollins made the accusation and Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman Darron Cash agreed, adding that Dr. Rollins’s comments are another indictment of the prime minister and how he conducts his government.

“That’s a very narrow perspective,” he said. “How will that create corruption? The truth is that the Gaming Bill like all other bills are created to advance. We want to regulate control the environment not to cause for a proliferation of the environment that exists today.

“When the Free National Movement (FNM) allowed for the licensing, it opened the doors and we interpreted that as being a first step toward being a first step toward where we want to be today and we are starting at a high level, not a low level. Why does it have to be that the black man is always corrupt?”

The gaming minister said governments must govern and that is exactly what his is doing.

“We’re not concerned about criticism,” he said. “We took a giant step, a step that should have been taken years ago but could not be taken years ago the Bahamian people had to be ready for it.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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