Categorized | National News

McCartney Blasts Gov’t For Gambling “Cop Out”

Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Leader Branville McCartney has blasted the Christie administration for refusing to state its position on next month’s gambling referendum, saying it is duty bound to let the Bahamian people know whether it is in favour of or against it.

Mr. McCartney said it is “amazing” to see the prime minister’s “lack of direction” on the issue of gaming after convincing Bahamians that he and his party had the answers to the country’s problems.

“I find it disingenuous on the part of the governing party to say that they would not posture a position on this opinion poll regarding gambling. This is nothing more than a cop out by the government. I am of the view that the government is duty bound to inform the Bahamian people of their position. They were elected for this purpose,” Mr. McCartney said.

Last week, Prime Minister Perry Christie admitted that the referendum is unconstitutional and recently he informed reporters that a national lottery would not be included in the referendum, even though it was one of his party’s campaign promises.

Mr. McCartney said the prime minister seems to be “very unsure” as to what is going on just weeks before Bahamians are scheduled to head to the polls.

“What is the prime minister doing? The Bahamian people were never promised an opinion poll on the legalisation of web shops during the campaign. If this opinion poll takes place on December 3 and the Bahamian people are of the opinion that the web shops should be legal, what happens next? If, on the other hand the Bahamian people are of the opinion that the web shops should not be legalised, what happens after that? The reality is, whatever the Bahamian people vote on the 3rd of December, we would be in the same position as we are today,” the DNA leader said.

“Six months ago Mr. Christie promised the Bahamian people that there would be a referendum on whether the country ought to have a national lottery. After the election the prime minister said that there would be a referendum on gambling but we, as a nation, were not told what questions would have been posed in the referendum. We then heard that the prime minister had engaged a British firm to advise him on whether a national lottery would work in The Bahamas.”

He continued, “Quite frankly, I find this most amazing simply because the PLP campaigned on the fact that they would have a referendum on the national lottery. Was this then just a campaign ploy? Did the PLP make certain promises to the Bahamian people without garnering the necessary information before making such a pronouncement? The obvious answer to this is yes. One would have thought that the PLP would have obtained certain information prior to making promises to the Bahamian people on a national lottery.”
This week, Prime Minister Christie, before heading into a Cabinet meeting, told reporters that he did not receive a report from London-based consultants, but rather got advice on how to proceed with the gambling referendum.

“Forgive me, but I am a bit confused because the prime minister said initially that he had a report and now recently he said that it was not a report, but he obtained advice. What exactly is the prime minister doing? Is it a report or was it advice? In any event, we, the Bahamian people, would like for the report to be made public, if it were a report, or for the advice to be specifically known, if it were just advice. We deserve to know. As a matter of fact, we insist,” Mr. McCartney said.

“We also insist on the cost incurred for this report or advice. I still find it amazing that an organisation like the PLP did not obtain this advice or a report prior to promising, during their campaign, that they will have a referendum on a national lottery. Did they just say it because it sounded good or it was what they thought the Bahamian people wanted to hear?”

Mr. McCartney said he now wants to know whether the PLP got advice on the national lottery prior to the election and if so, if that advice was submitted in writing and how much was paid.

“I have said in many forums that Prime Minister Christie has a grand opportunity to leave a very good legacy in this Commonwealth of the Bahamas and throughout this region. However, what he is doing or not doing regarding gaming in The Bahamas will not take him along that road,” he said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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