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Pm: Gambling Vote Will Not Be Postponed Again

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Perry Christie

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Staff Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

PRIME Minister Perry Christie said the government will not postpone the referendum on a national lottery and web shop gaming for a second time.

Speaking to The Tribune, the PM dismissed concerns that time was running out for an effective public education campaign.

He said he plans to publicise further details on the vote after discussions with representatives from the ‘Vote Yes’ campaign today. 

However, he would not confirm whether the government plans to release the official questions and embark on its promised public education campaign this week.

“The question will be ‘do you think, do you support, do you agree’ but the questions specifically will be with regard to web shop gaming and with respect to the establishment of a national lottery,” he said.

“The people will go into the polls, they will know that there are two questions, it will be publicised, regulations will be discussed.”

He added: “You know what you’re voting for, every single one who is voting knows that they’re either voting to make it happen, or to stop it from happening. So it’s only a question of whether they could read.”

Initially slated for December 3, the government postponed the referendum with less than a month to go after it was decided that the electorate lacked a good knowledge of what a majority “no” or “yes” vote could mean for the country. At the time, Mr Christie said further consultations needed to be completed and important amendments to the Gaming Act passed in the House of Assembly.

With the January 28 referendum now looming, Mr Christie expressed confidence that preparations to draft regulations that will govern the process were progressing well.

Mr Christie said: “I met with the Christian Council [on Friday] to discuss not only the questions but the regulations that will govern the referendum and who in fact will be eligible to sit in the polls and observe. We had a very informed, meaningful discussion with respect to the entire process.”

He said: “[The Christian Council] gave me suggestions and advice as to how they would want me to make balanced presentations with respect to pros and cons of regulating and not regulating.”

Bahamians will be allowed to register for the referendum until January 10, according to Mr Christie, who said the cut-off date came under the jurisdiction of the Parliamentary Commissioner and Minister of National Security.

“Everything is in progress and there is a timeline in the regulations as to what should happen - the Governor General gives an order and that will set everything in order,” he said.

Mr Christie said: “We are confident that we will have a fair and transparent process, we discussed the extent to which the government can make this an orderly vote to really put in as many controls as possible.”

Among concerns levelled by the religious leaders were the possibility of bribery and controls to discourage incidences in which people may be induced to vote.

Mr Christie said: “We have been talking about money influencing elections for years and years and years, lots of money put out. I told [the Christian Council] that the elections are going to be on a Monday and they have the last word. Sunday will be Referendum Sunday, so people have argued that this is an unfair advantage to the church.”

He added: “We have to rely on the intelligence and good sense of the Bahamian voting public, and then to rest assured that the results will be clear as to what people will want and agree too. At least that is our hope.”

Comments

TalRussell 1 year, 11 months ago

I forget now did PM Christie have his numbers rackets "thing" passed by both the House and Senate?

Not one single Bahamian has been informed by PM Christie exactly what is to be considered a majority vote on the referendum? Does this mean that by a simple majority of 51/49 the numbers "Bosses" will get their "thing?"

PM, surely the "Yes" vote will have to get a 'double majority" of votes "before" you would dare to legalize the criminal numbers rackets?

Still my Comrades I for one think the PM will once again become "vexed" before January 28, 2013 and be forced to cancel he "Yes" vote "thing?"

I am the only living Bahamian who sees this a constitutional challenge awaiting the PLP government, even if the "Yes" side carries the vote, considering the PM is yet to level with Bahamians as to how much money his PLP party did in fact benefit from, to win the previous 2002 and recent 2012 General Elections and By-elections?

Comrades even a trained lawyer like the PM and members of his cabinet must know that if it walks like influence peddling and it quacks like handing over "secret' cash, then it is an influence peddling duck?

No damn wonder the National Insurance Board thought it was OK to payout "secret' bonuses?

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B_I_D___ 1 year, 11 months ago

Forget paying out secret bonuses...how about blatantly buying defunct buildings at overly inflated prices to line the pockets of a well placed party supporters who just left a bunch of Bahamians unemployed and unpaid...but I digress....

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realfreethinker 1 year, 11 months ago

TalRussell you just hit the nail on the head I have been trying to find out what the vote split must be to pass Is it a simple majority or like a real referendum a 2/3 can anyone answer that question

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USAhelp 1 year, 11 months ago

What ever the vote PLP will make th rule to fit them. Shame shame.

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concernedcitizen 1 year, 11 months ago

this is done bought and paid for ,whatever the numerical vote ,, it will pass ,who is going police it ,,the PLP ,,lmao

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Mayaguana34 1 year, 11 months ago

I look forward the day when we legitimize all the criminals among us and those that blatantly disregard the law - Its a step in the right direction and I am eager to see the result of legitimizing these new bosses by allowing their millions into our banking system - It will be interesting to see what the world says and even more interesting when they decide to use their influence for a cause not inline with the politicians - Perhaps they will hand pick our next Government or become a law unto themselves -

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VDSheep 1 year, 11 months ago

This clearly shows Bahamians they cannot be trusted to gamble. Bahamians cannot gamble in the casinos. They can be trusted to gamble on a church lottery for a car, or gamble on a bingo game somewhere. They must have closed the Hobby Horse Hall racetrack; because they did not want Bahamians gambling. When people vote to legalize web house gambling and a national lottery - the people can no longer gamble on a basketball, football game or anything else other than what is legal. It should be called a restricted gaming vote…, because the people cannot legally "game" on anything else - no casino gambling, no church lottery or bingo and you certainly cannot have a dice game under the street lights. After the referendum the people will defiantly want more; but we know you cannot trust Bahamians to gamble.

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