Categorized | National News

Postpone Referendum – Former PM Calls It A “Waste Of Time”

Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham yesterday said while the highly anticipated gambling referendum is a “waste of time” he’d like to see it postponed so that the Bahamian people can be fully educated on it.

“You can’t put it forth and then say that your hands are clean. You can’t make a deal with the numbers people before election, get their money and then call upon me to support you or to vote for it. So you asked me the question if I’m going to vote or not, I wouldn’t waste my time on such a referendum,” Mr. Ingraham said during a news conference yesterday.

The government has promised to hold a referendum before the end of the year and Prime Minister Perry Christie is expected to announce the details soon.

But, Mr. Ingraham said he does not see the need to rush, arguing that one of the criticisms he received during the last referendum, was that the public was not educated.

While the referendum will allow Bahamians to decide whether they want gambling legalised, Mr. Ingraham said he just can’t wrap his head around the Christie administration’s decision to not allow Bahamians to determine whether or not they should be allowed to gamble in casinos.

“If you are going to put the question of gambling to the public of The Bahamas, then the whole question must be put. You must bear in mind that we are singular in our decision in The Bahamas, to exclude its citizens from being able to gamble in the casino. Nobody else in the world does that,” he said.

Mr. Ingraham believes the public ought to have a right to decide whether it wants to gamble in the casino or not.

There has been much public debate surrounding the contentious issue, which has resurfaced over the past few weeks.

The Bahamas Christian Council (BCC) says it is “diametrically opposed” to gambling. However, the Council appears to be split on the issue.

Mount Calvary Baptist Cathedral pastor Dr. Philip McPhee recently landed himself in hot water after he, and several other pastors, met with the proprietors of numbers houses to hear about the financial benefits that can be derived from gambling.

While the pending gambling referendum has created a firestorm of controversy, the former prime minister insists there are greater problems that need to be dealt with.
“I don’t know why it should be assumed that we should spend all this money on a referendum to deal with the question of gambling, when there are some issues, like for instance, I want you as a female in the country to have the same rights I have under the constitution. They are many other important issues in The Bahamas,” he said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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