By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE gambling referendum that Bahamians are about to entertain could be the election of an alternative government, Dr Miles Munroe said last night to members at Bahamas Faith Ministries International on Carmichael Road.
In the lead-up to the gambling referendum scheduled for January 28, Dr Munroe made a statement to his audience, which was aired live on ZNS TV-13, expressing concern that a group of lobbyists were using their monetary influence to pressure the democratically elected government to legitimise their personal interests at the expense of the people.
“This referendum that we’re about to entertain could be the election of an alternative government.
“You went to the polls some months ago and you elected a government to govern our country. At least that is what it seemed like,” the minister said.
“But I want you to think about this carefully. There should only be one government at a time in our country. There shouldn’t be a secret government, a shadow government, a government pulling strings behind the scenes, a government controlling decisions by lobbying, a government manipulating policy and legislation by monetary influence.”
“We are supposed to have a government that makes decisions without influence from any specific group of people and every decision they make should be made in the best interest of the population of our country,” he said.
Dr Munroe noted that the motivations seemed to be the country’s surrender to the powers with money, which in his words, would make the establishment of a national lottery and state sponsored gambling seem logical.
“National lottery and state sponsored gambling is an alternative government taxing the citizens without benefit to the citizen. In other words, it’s a second government collecting taxes. The only problem is, it is not benefitting the citizens, only a few people,” the minister explained.
Dr Munroe made recommendations for the government that included them admitting that they are not ready for the referendum, accepting responsibility for the populace not being ready, and ultimately postponing the referendum to allow the College of the Bahamas to be engaged in “completing research on the present and future impact of national gaming on our local population”.
“The purpose for a higher learning institution,” he said, “is to assist governments in research efforts in order to make sound decisions that are in the best interest of the people.”
Dr Munroe told his congregation and visual audience that a country could never have a clean government again if it’s government allowed itself to be pressured by the influence of gaming bosses.
“If a small group of lobbyers pressure the government legitimately voted into power to legitimise their personal interest, then we will never have a pure government again,” he said.