By KHRISNA VIRGIL
Tribune Staff Reporter
FNM Leader Dr Hubert Minnis believes the recently leaked draft of the gaming legislation was the work of the Progressive Liberal Party government.
With deep seated reservations about how the draft bill landed in the public domain, Dr Minnis said he strongly doubted that the Christie administration did not have some “ulterior motives” in dealing with gaming and the rights of Bahamians to play in casinos.
The Opposition Leader was speaking amidst his party’s preparations to host a series of town hall meetings in Andros over the next few days. He said the FNM is expected to campaign until the next general elections are called in 2017.
“The PLP is not a straight party,” Dr Minnis said, “there is always something underlying, always something sinister. The leak of that document could have very well been them. And as soon as it came out, one of Christie’s very own Cabinet Ministers says it was just a draft.
“For that reason, we never commented. We cannot make comments on something that is not the actual bill. I am sure though, there is some other ulterior motive and the FNM is not going to fall prey to what they are trying to do.”
However, PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts called Dr Minnis’ comments foolish because he has continued to flip-flop on his opinions of whether Bahamians should be allowed to gamble.
Mr Roberts said: “Bahamians cannot trust Dr Minnis to lead them on nothing because he cannot lead himself by standing on his convictions and principles.
“The record showed that on August 20, 2012 Dr. Minnis was quoted as saying ‘I have nothing against individuals gambling in terms of lottery, buying numbers etc.’ He also indicated that he would vote in favour of legalisation of the numbers industry.
“And lo and behold by the 16th January 2013 Dr Minnis had made a 180 degree turn on the issue and said that ‘... the Free National Movement has concluded that it will recommend that the Bahamian People Vote no on question number one.’”
Mr Roberts said the actions of the FNM are in great contrast to the PLP under the leadership of Prime Minister Perry Christie. He said the PLP has at all times been open, honest and consistent in dealing with national issues.
The government will remain committed to putting Bahamians first in implementing policies that are in the best interest of its citizens, Mr Roberts said.