By DANA SMITH
Tribune Staff Reporter
ONE Save Our Bahamas Vote “No” representative called PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts’ call for Bahamians to vote “yes” on the gambling referendum, “shocking.”
Media and public relations coordinator, Kevin Harris recalled the prime minister’s position that he does not want the referendum to become political and added that he does not believe Mr Roberts will sway voters.
Mr Roberts said, Sunday: “The PLP urges all Bahamians to see the broader national picture and vote ‘yes’ on referendum day.
“Contrary to the public relations of the ‘no’ vote campaign, in my humble opinion the majority of Bahamians will cast their votes in favour of the ‘yes’ vote as those who participate in web cafés and lotteries strongly desire to have the long dark clouds removed from their heads.”
In another statement release later that day, the party chairman affirmed his personal belief but said he wanted to make it “abundantly clear” the official position of the PLP is that Bahamians “should vote their conscience” on the matter.
“I think that it was quite shocking to hear the chairman of the PLP completely go against the best wishes of the prime minister who has clearly indicated that he wanted to keep this matter simply a national matter and not a political matter,” Mr Harris said.
“I believe it is why we saw a quick retraction by Mr Roberts and that statement was replaced by a statement of neutrality. So definitely, we believe firmly that a large number of Bahamians will actually vote ‘no’. They will not be influenced by his position.”
There is a “tremendous amount of confusion” and many are unaware what a ‘yes’ will accomplish, Mr Harris explained, asserting the first question is not structured in a way to achieve legalisation.
“They (voters) don’t believe in that the current ways that the question is being presented to the Bahamian people, particularly without Parliament having gone ahead of this and putting the required legislation to tell people what you can expect if a ‘yes’ vote is achieved,” he said.
“That hasn’t been done and so a large number of Bahamians see this surely as an opportunity to vote ‘no’ and send the government back to the table.”
Bahamians would also “love to see” the country’s law enforcement “act as the laws give them the power to,” Mr Harris continued.
“That is to bring all persons committing crimes in this country towards a fair, due process,” he said.
“You cannot have justice fair for one and unfair for the other. You cannot have web-shop owners openly breaking the law and challenging the authorities of our country and saying by their very actions that I’m going to continue taking advantage of this loophole in the business license act by claiming I’m an internet café but clearly bringing Bahamians into this scenario by engaging them in employment in illegal activities.
“So I don’t think Bahamians will be swayed by that opinion. I think Bahamians, including a large number in Mr Roberts’ party, realised that we as a country – we’re bigger and better than this – and we simply cannot be seen by the world as going into business with criminal enterprises and legalising illegal activity.”