By KYLE WALKINE
Tribune Staff Reporter
FML Group of Companies CEO Craig Flowers said he is unsure whether his company would have to shut down for a short period after the webshop industry is regulated because he has not yet seen legislation that will govern the sector.
Despite praising the government for getting closer to bringing legislation that regulates the webshop industry to Parliament, Mr Flowers said he is unsure whether or not his company will have to restructure to meet the demands of the legislation.
“We’re not going to do anything until we know what’s required of us,” he said yesterday. “We are waiting for the government to direct us. We don’t know anything. We have no information. It’s not fair for me to pre-empt the government as to what the bill will contain.”
A draft of the Gaming Bill says that once the industry is regulated all operators must comply with a closure period and make a full disclosure of all their business turnovers and gross profits.
Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe, who has responsibility for gaming, has recently said the government is trying to determine that period of closure for those web shops.
However, Mr Flowers said he doesn’t really pay those reports much mind as they are all just “speculation”.
“Everything is only speculative until the government puts something before the House (of Assembly.) It’s going to be difficult for anybody to speak to the bill as it relates to governing and legislating the webshop industry. I wish I could be able to speak more to it. But once I’m informed and I have the opportunity to study the bill I will certainly be available and will make myself available to any of the media houses to give my opinion and views and the entire process from the days of Percy Munnings right through to today.”
When asked by The Tribune if he wishes he were better informed by the government about the bill, Mr Flowers said, “Not really you know. I think the government is doing all that’s in their power to make this happen as quick as possible.”
Mr Wilchcombe has previously said the government hoped to have the industry regulated by July 1. However the government has yet to bring or pass legislation through Parliament for the regulation.
However, the government has said that whenever the sector is regulated, webshop taxes will be retroactive to July 1.
The tabling of the bill has been delayed as the government sought to ensure it met international standards.
Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson recently returned from a meeting with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), where she was expected to discuss the web shop legislation with international experts.
Mrs Maynard-Gibson yesterday declined to comment on the meeting abroad saying that she had not yet briefed the prime minister.
Mr Wilchcombe has said the legislation should be tabled in parliament before the end of July.