Categorized | National News

Web Shop Bank Idea Rejected

Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe said yesterday he doesn’t believe web shops should operate as banks because it would be a direct conflict of interest.

The minister’s comments came after FML Group of Companies CEO Craig Flowers recently said that the Gaming Operators Association plans to apply for a banking license once the government awards gaming licenses.

Mr. Flowers, who is also the president of the Gaming Operators Association, said the banking license would have the sole purpose to better assist Bahamians who are in dire need of financial assistance but are not in the predicament where they can go to banks.

Minister Wilchcombe, who has responsibility for gaming, has a different view.

“I think what should happen is more Bahamians should own banks rather than web shop operators,” he said.

“We have to take control of our economy. The truth is that can work against us instead of working for us. I know that the web shop owners are now saying that they plan to apply for licenses to own banks but that wouldn’t make too much sense would it?”

The minister stressed the importance of the future being Bahamians.

“We have two local banks now, Commonwealth Bank and the Bank of The Bahamas that Bahamians own,” he said.

“We can see Bahamians owning more banks but definitely not web shop owners. That would be a direct conflict of interest. What the people are seeing is recommendations because they’re bringing ideas to the table, raising points and their entire discussion appears to be ownership of the economy and controlling the economy. How do we ensure our stability? I would like to ensure Bahamians are the future and not just web shop owners.”

Currently, web shops are in the predicament where they cannot place their proceeds in local banks like CIBC FirstCaribbean, RBC Bahamas and Commonwealth Bank.

The web shop owners have also been delayed in getting their licenses.

However, Minister Wilchcombe said he and his ministry are working diligently for the speedy distribution of web shop licenses.

He explained that the licensing process has been delayed due to an excessive number of files the Gaming Board has had to evaluate due to applicants who have held up the licensing process.

Minister Wilchcombe has confirmed that web shops have paid up to $22 million in fees to the government.

He did not give a date for when exactly the licenses would be distributed, but assured that he’s doing everything he can to complete the process.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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