Categorized | National News

DNA Leader Wants Referendum Postponement

Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Leader Branville McCartney has joined the chorus of many Bahamians who believe the upcoming referendum should be postponed.

In a press statement sent out yesterday, Mr. McCartney said the government “has put forward to the Bahamian people a process that is legally flawed and has no binding effect.”

“It is a fact that web-shop gaming is presently illegal in The Bahamas,” he said. “The prime minister and the commissioner of police have acknowledged this illegal activity. A national lottery does not exist. There is no law under the Lotteries and Gaming Act or otherwise that speaks to web shop gaming and a national lottery and there is no proposed law for web-shop gaming and a national lottery,” he said.

“In order to have a legal referendum, there must be a subsisting law for the Bahamian people to consider or there must be a proposed law for consideration. Therefore, this process that the Bahamian people have been asked to participate in is not a referendum and will not have a binding effect. Why did the government not put in place the proposed legislation in relation to the questions being asked?”

Come January 28, the Bahamian electorate will be asked two questions – “do you support the regulation and taxation of web shop gaming?” and two, “do you support the establishment of a national lottery?”

But Mr. McCartney said there is no reason to have the vote since it is not binding.

“No matter what the vote is on January 28, 2013, the government will do whatever it wants. One can consider this voting process a colossal waste of time and money. It can also be considered undemocratic and deceptive. I challenge the government to tell me otherwise,” the DNA leader said.

“The government has pronounced that this process will be a referendum. The result of a legal referendum is binding. The prime minister has said that this process will not be binding. What then is a right thinking Bahamian to do?”
Mr. McCartney said that the government has missed a grand opportunity to enhance democracy in the country.

“I would humbly suggest to the government to do the right thing and postpone the proposed non-binding referendum scheduled for the Janaury 28, 2013. Mr. Prime Minister, it is requested that you revisit the legalities surrounding a referendum, put it in place the proposed law, have public discourse on the proposed legislation and the pros and cons of gambling, educate the Bahamian people on the proper procedure liaise with the official Opposition and leave the politics at home,” he said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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