Categorized | National News

Munroe: FNM Playing Petty Politics On Web Shop Issue

Consultations between the government and web shop owners toward regularising the industry have been ongoing, the attorney representing the owners confirmed yesterday while acknowledging that there have been no such talks between bosses and the current Opposition.

Wayne Munroe accused the Free National Movement (FNM) of continuously playing “petty politics with the issue.

The FNM has maintained its opposition to regularising the industry accusing the government of demonstrating a blatant disregard for the voice of the Bahamian people who won a majority of ‘No’ votes against regularising the industry at last year’s gaming referendum.

Despite that vote, the government has recently announced its intentions to move ahead with its plans to regularise the industry.

But while the government has been holding talks with web shop stakeholders and other groups in society, Mr. Munroe claims the FNM has adopted a position without any discussion or consultation with industry insiders.

“The singular failure in this whole effort is I would have thought, the government is consulting the industry, the Opposition party in view of formulating its overall view of it, should also be consulting the industry but it has not,” he said. “They have taken a positive position that they don’t care to know how the industry operates and then they are going to wax lyrical about the industry which is just plain ignorant.”
Tourism Minister Obie Wilchombe said in the House of Assembly last month that this will be done by July 1.

Since then, Mr. Munroe said his clients have been engaged in consultations with the government.

There has been some concern that the web shop owners are dictating to the government, but Mr. Munroe insisted that this consultative phase is nothing new and called it as essential to the process.

In fact, the attorney said there were consultations between web shop owners and government while the previous FNM Administration was in office.

“The minister of tourism himself has indicated to the Bahamian public that he would be consulting with everyone…it wouldn’t be the first time that my clients and I have met with the minister or government officials,” Mr. Munroe said.
“The first meetings between the government and the web shop owners took place back in the FNM government where they [web shop owners] met with the Ministry of Finance. They gave the Ministry of Finance information. The Ministry of Finance came into their offices and the FNM government said that they would regulate but then they did not keep their word on that.”
He said the FNM’s position on the issue has been informed more by politics than reason noting that previously it criticised the government for holding a referendum at the time suggesting that the government just go to parliament and present its legislation.
Now, he added they are calling on the government to uphold the ‘No’ vote.
The Ingraham administration had also promised during the 2012 election cycle to bring the issue of web shop gaming to a referendum if it were re-elected the government.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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