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Flowers Gives Webshop Advice

Craig Flowers

Craig Flowers

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Staff Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

FML Group of Companies CEO Craig Flowers, with other “casino operators”, are in consultation with the government to craft regulations to govern the webshop industry, lawyer Alfred Sears said yesterday.

Mr Sears also confirmed that Mr Flowers has filed an appeal to overturn his 2011 conviction for breaches to the Lotteries and Gaming Act.

A date had not yet been set for a hearing, according to Mr Sears, who told the Bermuda Sun that he expected the matter to be heard within the next two to three months.

In an interview with The Tribune yesterday, Mr Sears said he could not confirm when the application had been filed. 

In 2011, Magistrate Derence Rolle-Davis convicted Mr Flowers of permitting his premises to be used for a lottery; and promoting, organising and conducting a lottery.

Mr Flowers was given the option of paying a total of $10,000 in fines or spending two years in prison.

Magistrate Rolle-Davis also ordered the confiscation of $834,629.32 that police seized during a 2009 raid of an FML web shop, as the proceeds of illegal gambling.

Kingsley Munroe, the web shop’s general manager, was convicted of being found on the premises of a lottery,

permitting a premises to be used for a lottery and promoting a lottery.

Mr Munroe was fined $5,000 on each count, and faced two years in prison if the fines were not paid.

Mr Smith made the disclosure that Mr Flowers was in consultation with the government over regulating web shops during an interview with the Bermuda Sun yesterday.

According to the Bermuda Sun, Mr Flowers established a joint-venture company with Bermuda Opposition Leader Mark Bean last year.

The Bermuda Registrar of Companies confirmed that the application was filed to incorporate local company Wellington (Bermuda) Ltd with limited liability. 

The company is listed to have 5,000 shares, with Mr Bean holding 3,000 shares, and Mr Flowers 2,000.

Cabinet ministers discussed Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe’s proposal to legalise web shop gaming earlier this week.

Prime Minister Perry Christie told The Tribune at that time that Mr Wilchcombe’s proposal did not include any consideration to remove discrimination from the Gaming Bill to allow Bahamians to gamble in casinos. However, he hinted, “everything is up for consideration”.

After more than a year of speculation following the “No Vote” in the 2013 Gaming Referendum, the government turnaround on the issue has been heavily criticized by the religious community and the Opposition.

In wrapping up his mid-year budget contribution, Mr Wilchcombe said while he respects the church’s position and the results of the referendum, there comes a time when the government must make “the tough decisions and govern”.

Mr Christie has since stated his support for the regularisation of webshops, saying he had to go against his word in view of the fiscal situation, and risks associated with the current underground economy.

According to the Bermuda Sun, the Bermuda Government has also come under heavy criticism for its decision not to proceed with its Gaming Referendum Act, and instead bring gaming to parliament in the form of legislation.

In December, Bermuda Premier Craig Cannonier acknowledged that the move broke his party’s campaign pledge. However, he underscored the critical need to stimulate job growth.

Presently, casino gaming is illegal in Bermuda, but allowed on cruise ships in port.

Last night, Mr Bean’s wife, attorney Simone Smith-Bean told the Bermuda Sun that “the company was incorporated for Mr. Flowers to expand his international ventures to Bermuda if he chose to”.

Mrs Smith-Bean said the venture was not a move to bring Mr Flowers’ web shops to Bermuda, adding that Mr. Flowers had no role in the management or financing of Mr. Bean’s betting shop, Paradise Games.

Comments

nationbuilder 5 years, 11 months ago

Is anyone surprised that the government is working with a convicted criminal to draft a Bill that will legitimize racketeering? What a shock! sarcasm off

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JohnDoes 5 years, 11 months ago

This was happening for years, even from Pindling's time. Its just a new day and age for these criminals. This is a country for sale. Im surprised America hasnt sanctioned us yet.

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ThisIsOurs 5 years, 11 months ago

I'm surprised..I suppose I shouldn't be. This is disheartening....how can you ask the criminal how they should be policed?

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JohnDoes 5 years, 11 months ago

Exactly, how can they do this, this is a complete embarrassment of the 'Queens' Parliamentary and Judicial System. It seems like the only person that handled this problem accordingly was Magistrate Rolle-Davis who had no remorse for this crime syndicate, and he used his powers to crack down on them. That Magistrate I feel, was the closest, Flowers (the biggest operator at the time) has come to jail. PGC has a hidden agenda for this syndicate, and Hubert had his. I also feel that if the new government implements Transparency & FOI, manyyy Bahamians would be embarrassed to have supported these peoples in government that for years they did not want to let go of.

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Reality_Check 5 years, 11 months ago

I'm not surprised Christie is in bed with this bold brazen criminal.....especially after what our lamed brain PM had to say about Ishmael Lightbourne. As for Sears, well I guess most don't know about his checkered past at a young age, but he certainly is flying his true colours now in his zealous representation of this criminal Numbers racketeer.

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JohnDoes 5 years, 11 months ago

PGC proves his incompetency as leader every single time with every major issue in this country. Sadly, the people are now starting to notice that the 'PLP' itself had majority of its supporters because of the 'Pindling legacy' and the majority of their support was 'traditional' and PGC was NOT the reason for their support. PGC is in no way close or similar to Pindling in the form of a leader in regard to the skills neccessary for the position. Pindling had some dirty dealings as well, but his stature in our independence will never degrade. The PLP 'tradition' is now on its last leg. They will be lucky to see government again after this term.

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TalRussell 5 years, 11 months ago

Could this be the horse PM Christie had so assured the Comrades peoples of this most beloved Bahamaland that he was not go'in to be rid'in during the "fake" numbers referendum? Why isn't he investing all he money the Bahamaland, the country where he got's so royally enriched?

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hurricane 5 years, 11 months ago

Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade

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hj 5 years, 11 months ago

No surprises there. Most likely the web shop operators would simply put the regulations and tax rates that suit them,and PC will simply sign them. A perfect example of government and private sector really "working together".

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JohnDoes 5 years, 11 months ago

and there also will be NO repercussions for disobeying the law for sooo many years. They basically want to just wipe their slate and dirty money clean.

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bismark 5 years, 11 months ago

majority of webshop owners,check their records,common criminals,the facts are there.

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TalRussell 5 years, 11 months ago

Comrade red Chairman says he's ready numbers, while Minnis and Loretta ain't sure themselves. Bran is all gun-hoe numbers, so where does that leave all who turned out to Vote "NO?"

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birdiestrachan 5 years, 11 months ago

Perhaps the people of Bermuda do not call him all of the mean names that some Bahamians including members of the FNM..call him Criminals etc And then many of them just buy their numbers. I call them Business people.

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TalRussell 5 years, 11 months ago

Let him move to Bermudian but last time I checked ain't as easy to become a Bermudian citizen, as we make it in Bahamaland. I'll have check with the "unofficial" Consulate-General Comrade Darold Miller, for The Turks & Caicos Islands, to see what's required for acquiring their "Colonial" citizenship?

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sheeprunner12 5 years, 11 months ago

Wall Street "criminals" do this everyday in the USA ................. craft government policy. This is nothing new............... Who controls our economy??????? Bay Street Boys and GB Port Authority................. "criminals"????????????????

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Honestman 5 years, 11 months ago

Mr Sears also confirmed that Mr Flowers has filed an appeal to overturn his 2011 conviction for breaches to the Lotteries and Gaming Act.

Excuse me but on what grounds would Mr. Flowers wish to appeal his conviction? Did he break the law or did he not? The fact that the law is about to change can have no bearing on his prior conviction which was as a result of him breaking the law as it stood at that time. But this is The Bahamas and anything is possible.

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TalRussell 5 years, 11 months ago

Comrade Craig best have Sears talk to Brian "QC" Moree, to check if you he is still eligible for filing an appeal against a conviction (with a condition attached that could have seen him spend 2 years as a guest of Her Majesty) go'in from way back in 2011? Does the government still have his near $1 million dollars he was fined. If Even if he were successful with his appeal, good luck him getting a refund check from this government.

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hurricane 5 years, 11 months ago

Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrade Comrad

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asiseeit 5 years, 11 months ago

Mr. Flowers most certainly is involved in the business, he knows allot about numbers. Now, will he do what is right for The Bahamas or himself ? I wonder?

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JohnDoes 5 years, 11 months ago

Knowing the nature of the Gambling Industry, No boss does whats right for the country before he does whats right for his pocket. Pocket/Profit first, The Bahamas later. Our bad habits in this organized crime syndicate is the reason Flowers etc are using the Bahamas as a trampoline to fund their rich lifestyles and broaden their personal interests around the world. ex. Sebas & Foxy etc. just opened a casino in Africa! Organized crime money I tell you.

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bismark 5 years, 11 months ago

This individual,broke the law a many number of years with his numbers racket,now HE is giving advice?you might as well go and call out the major known drug and human traffickers as well and ask their advice on their nefarious activities.only in the Bahamas,make millions breaking the law,then you are giving advice?The country is presently in the middle of a vexing crime problem,we speak out against our young men killing one another,rapes,armed robbery,drugs,the social ills are many,but yet some still find time to glorify this clown and the rest of his lawbreaking colleagues,no crime is worse than the other.

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JohnDoes 5 years, 11 months ago

Its for sale, once you've got the money, you can do anything. Im surprised companies like BISX etc are not raising hell about this brazen crime syndicate.

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TalRussell 5 years, 11 months ago

I have always liked Comrade Flowers and that goes way back before he got into the numbers business. Didn't I hear him say during the numbers referendum, that if it was voted down and the government decided to close them down, that he would just get out numbers business in Bahamaland? I guess you can't lay too much of the blame on Flowers for not voluntarily shutting down when the PLP never tried running the numbers Comrades out business. My argument is with PM Christie, not Comrade Flowers.

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SP 5 years, 11 months ago

You people are conveniently blind to the fact Bermudas' Government is doing exactly what Christie should have done in the first place.

"According to the Bermuda Sun, the Bermuda Government has also come under heavy criticism for its decision not to proceed with its Gaming Referendum Act, and instead bring gaming to parliament in the form of legislation."

"In December, Bermuda Premier Craig Cannonier acknowledged that the move broke his party’s campaign pledge. However, he underscored the critical need to stimulate job growth."

Gambling has always been here/there, cannot be be stopped, and will always be here/there.............Just legalize it and tax it already.....Do the same with marijuana!

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John 5 years, 11 months ago

Speaking of marijuana, the US is in the process of legalizing weed across it's states. So what will happen to those who have been convicted of possession, trafficking and supplying marijuana over the past 4 decades? What about slave masters who owned slaves before slavery became illegal and those business people who bootlegged booze before rum was legalized?

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sheeprunner12 5 years, 11 months ago

John

The slave masters were paid by the Bbitish Government at Emancipation for their slaves...............follow the logic

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BahamasGamingAssociation 5 years, 7 months ago

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bahama...">https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bahama...

WHICH ON OF THE BELOW REIGNS SUPREME IN THE BAHAMAS?

The Bahamas Lottery and Gaming Act Chapter 387 Section 50 Persons prohibited from Gaming

Or

The Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas Chapter III – Protection of Fundamental Rights and Freedom of the Individual. Section 26 Protection from Discrimination on grounds of Race, Place of Origin etc.

The Bahamas Gaming Association stands by the Ideology that all human beings who are 18 years or older should be treated equally in all sectors of the Bahamian Economy which is enshrined in the Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.

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