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Referendum Doa?

EDITOR, The Tribune.

As the news suffice about the upcoming gambling referendum and the possible questions on its ballot, one thing is certain, and that is: The confusion mounts.

Are we going to vote half of the way or the full nine yards on Bahamians gambling in The Bahamas? Is the referendum going to be about a national lottery, legalising web shops, casino gambling for Bahamians, or what? The success of the vote will depend on the ballot menu.

Some Bahamian voters want the whole hog, which is the legalisation of all forms of gambling for the native gamblers period. Others simply want to do their thing in the web shops without having to look over their shoulders for a possible law enforcement raid. Then, there are those among us who want to play numbers exclusively; whether it’s lotto, lottery, Island Luck, Flowers, A-sue Draw and so on and so forth. Does the government of The Bahamas intend to please all the Bahamian gamblers with the referendum questions or only some? Is it really fair to still have tourists gambling in certain places and Bahamians in others – when the smoke of the vote is cleared? Do we actually know what we are doing in relations to the proposed referendum?

I agree that the Christie administration has enough votes in the Bahamian parliament to do whatever they want in regards to the gambling question for Bahamians in The Bahamas. It looks like the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) is playing with fire in relations to legalised gambling for Bahamians in their country, as there is no guarantee that the “yes” vote will prevail in the referendum. If it doesn’t, do Perry Christie and the PLP have the guts to close down every illegal gambling establishment in the country? I doubt it. So, it is my view that the PLP government could be setting itself up for a major defeat with their proposed impending referendum on gambling for the Bahamian gamblers in The Bahamas. It is a grossly false assumption for one to postulate that every Bahamian who gambles in some form or another in these islands – will tow a line on referendum day, and vote yes or no to whatever the questions are– in my humble opinion. Many Pastors will ensure that their flock is motivated on voting day to defeat the gambling for Bahamians question. So again I say, that the powers that be – are playing a serious game of political Russian roulette with this gambling matter for Bahamians; which could result in the political demise of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP).

Be progressive, Mr Christie, and move in the Bahamian Parliament to settle the gambling for Bahamian concerns once and for all. If tourists could gamble legally in our beloved country, then we Bahamians must be able to do so too. There is nothing complicated about this; except to say that the proposed gambling referendum could be dead on arrival (DOA).

DENNIS DAMES

Nassau,

September 23, 2012.

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