Categorized | National News

Wilchcombe Blasts FNM Over Gaming Bill

Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe, who is responsible for gaming, yesterday called Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis a “flip-flopper” on the issue of regularising web shops in the country.

Minister Wilchcombe who led off debate on the Gaming Bill in the House of Assembly Wednesday, said he did not understand Dr. Minnis’ current position on the issue when the former administration, of which he was a part, had considered regularising web shops on several occasions.

“I am so confused by this leader,” he said.

“I don’t know when he became a member of the FNM. I don’t know when he was elected to the House of Assembly because the former prime minister considered it. [A local daily reported] on Friday February 15 2008 former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham told the commissioner of police that he is considering legalising gaming for citizens and residents.”

Minister Wilchcombe also referenced another article published in April 2010 which was headlined “FNM Favours Web Shop Gaming.”

On Sunday, FNM Leader, Dr. Hubert Minnis said his party will not support the regularisation of web shops nor will the party offer its support to an ‘unfair and non- transparent’ revised Gaming Bill.

Dr. Minnis maintained that his party will continue to stand with Bahamians who voted No in last year’s gaming referendum.

“The FNM has supported and will continue to stand with the people, the Bahamian people voted in the referendum and the Bahamian people said No, the prime minister said he will honor the outcome of the referendum, I think that Bahamians will generally respect the words of any prime minister but the has shown that his words cannot be trusted,” he said during a press conference at the party’s Mackey Street headquarters Sunday.

Minister Wilchcombe said Dr. Minnis’ approach on the issue is “very disappointing.”

“We can’t take this country forward until the opposition begins to appreciate that something’s aren’t political,” he said.

“Every time, every minute the leader of the opposition jumps around. He’s everywhere. He’s a Houdini. He can disappear all over the place. I have never seen anything like it. Leaders don’t do that, you stand up for what you believe in and die for what you believe in. You go where you must go for what you believe in. You don’t change just because and then intend to make it seem like this is all on us.”

Dr. Minnis however took exception to the tourism minister’s statements noting that the FNM is in agreement with the Bahamian people.

“He is totally missing the point,” the opposition leader said.

“This has gone to a referendum and the people stated their position. The government said they would agree with the people’s position so this has nothing to do with what he is talking about. We said that we are on the side of the people and we will defend the people so they are the flip-floppers, not us.”

Minister of State for Legal Affairs Damian Gomez seconded the bill describing it as “the most transparent gaming bill in the world.”

The government has repeatedly explained that the referendum was simply an opinion poll, therefore not allowing the outcome to be binding by law.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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