Categorized | National News

Regulation Could End Web Shop Court Battle

Attorney for five of the biggest web shop owners, Wayne Munroe said if the government moves ahead with regulating web shops by July 1, then their drawn out court battle to keep the businesses open will be over.

Speaking with the Bahama Journal yesterday, Mr. Munroe said pursuing their case would only be a waste of the court’s time to continue if in fact web shops were to be regulated.

Web shop owners are seeking a declaration from the Supreme Court that their operations are not regulated by the Lotteries and Gaming Act.

“Once they regulate interactive gaming, our claim that it is no longer regulated would have no legs,” Mr. Munroe said.
“There would be no point fighting it because government would have already regulated it. If they regulate it in a manner that is consistent with the expectation created by the previous government, headed by the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham, then my clients will likely have very little to complain about because that is the other complaint in the litigation. So for right now, we will wait and see if the government follows through.”

Immediately after Bahamians overwhelmingly voted “No” in the January 28 Gaming Referendum, Prime Minister Perry Christie ordered that all web shops be closed.

However, shortly after that announcement, a court order allowed for them to be reopened.

Mr. Munroe said, putting political differences aside, he must give credit to the government for making a decision that others would not have.

“It’s a victory of common sense, practicality and pragmatism over political correctness and a search for popularity,” he said.

“If you are leading, you’re going to have to go some places that other people dare not to go. As big and as bad as people think Hubert Ingraham is, he did not have the [guts] to do this.

One thing Mr. Munroe said was a waste of time was the gaming referendum.

He said the fact that less than 50 per cent of the voting populous turned out to vote should be a sign to religious leaders who fought hard against the regulation of the web shops.

“If 50 per cent of the people don’t care enough to come out and vote about something that saves the country then the religious leaders should go back, pray and ask God why they can’t cause more than 50 per cent of the people to come out and save their land,” he said.

“We need to get past that nonsense. You cannot be a Christian nation if as the Christian Council and Christian community, you call Christians to come out and vote no, and less than 50 per cent turn out to vote. That means that you must be accepting that 50 per cent of your people aren’t Christians and you need to get back on working and evangelising to the rest of the people so that next time you call upon them to save the country, it can be 50 plus.”

The attorney then minced no words in commenting on Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis’ stance on the issue.
He said Dr. Minnis is only condemning it because it is not his party putting the legislation in place.

“Dr. Minnis should show some leadership quality and congratulate the government for arriving at the decision,” he said.

“If he wants to be in opposition and criticise, criticise them for taking so long to arrive at the decision. Don’t talk foolishness just because you can. We have it in writing where a government that he [Dr. Minnis] was a member of determined that this should happen. So either you think we’re fools, or you are a fool.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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