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Churches Warn ‘No Lottery’

Bishop Delton Fernander, President of the Christian Council. Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff

Bishop Delton Fernander, President of the Christian Council. Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

 krussell@tribunemedia.net

BAHAMAS Christian Council  President Bishop Delton Fernander said he was “shocked” that a second government minister has come out in support of the creation of a Bahamian national lottery, adding the council expected the Minnis administration to either tighten the existing legislation or repeal the law.

The council’s expectation of the government is based on the Free National Movement’s position back in 2013 while in opposition, against legal gaming in the country.

Bishop Fernander said the BCC is concerned the Minnis administration now wants to introduce another kind of gambling to the industry.

On Monday, Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar told Tribune Business a national lottery is “front and centre”. The comments followed Deputy Prime Minister K Peter Turnquest’s comments in July that he believed the introduction of a national lottery in the Bahamas was worth a second look.

“We take great note that these were the people who stood with the church against gambling and as soon as they get in power no less than the deputy prime minister and the tourism minister have put forth that they have to go to gambling as if there is no other solution to the problems we are facing,” Bishop Fernander said in an interview with The Tribune yesterday.

He also said: “I am very shocked. Very, very shocked. It would appear that we were one way before election and another way after election, it does give me great concern.

“Because we would hope that we can take people at their word and if they stand with us that they are against gambling we expect that when they march in the halls of Parliament that we would hear these same voices echoing in Parliament.

“But what we really expected was for changes to be made. These were the people saying the former government should adhere to the voices of the people. We expected that they would get in there and tighten up the legislation or even repeal the legislation.”

Outside of these actions by the government, Bishop Fernander maintained the BCC would not support a national lottery.

Earlier in his interview with The Tribune he said: “We take note as a council that two prominent members of Parliament, the deputy prime minister and now the minister that’s over gaming would take overtones that they are inclined or testing the waters for national lottery or to increase the market.

“Out of his own remarks minister D’Aguilar would have said that there are those, as the Christian council said, who should have been mandated to be protected in the original legislation but were not and the funds have not been set aside to deal with those who have become addicted and some of the challenges we have.

“Out of his own remarks he would have stated a preponderance of money comes from the inner city and from those who are struggling to pay their bills and that money is being placed in these web shops and they are used as a virtual bank.

“It is strange this government early in their tenure would not adhere to the wishes of the people. The Christian council’s position remains the same. We are opposed to a national lottery or gambling period.

“If it is that this government too is taking a position and we’ve had a referendum where the people said no and seemingly they want to go ahead with it anyway, it is concerning.”

The tourism minister declined to divulge details to Tribune Business Monday, but he said he had “a few ideas” as to how a national lottery could be structured and developed in this nation.

“Bahamians are crying for that. That’s very much front and centre in my mind,” the Minister of Tourism responded, when asked whether a national lottery remained a possibility.

Last week in the House of Assembly Mr D’Aguilar said while gaming houses were being used as a means to move money, there is worry this unregulated activity may put the country on an international “black list,” affecting the stability of the country’s banking sector.

He added that as the limited number of gaming houses enjoy the “benefits of being a cartel,” the “cash strapped” government should increase tax revenue from this sector, suggesting the Minnis administration could be considering increased taxes for operators.

Bahamians overwhelmingly voted against legalising web shops in a referendum on January 28, 2013.

In 2014, 25 government MPs in the former Christie administration voted to pass amendments to the Gaming Act in the House of Assembly, making the sector legal.

Comments

BahamasForBahamians 2 months ago

The chickens have come home to roost.

All that politicking on the campaign trail is now hurting this administration more than ever.

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athlete12 2 months ago

Who gambles more than Christians in the Bahamas?

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sheeprunner12 2 months ago

Wishful thinking ........... Government will have to choose worst of two options (webshops vs lottery) because of the need for government revenue....... Lottery is best option, sir.

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HarryWyckoff 2 months ago

If the Christian Council wants a say in how the Government conducts it's affairs, it should start it's own political party and run for election.

Until then, they should be largely ignored.

On the actual issue - a National Lottery would bring in millions to the Treasury (the PEOPLE's money) and economy, instead of the current situation where the money goes into the pockets of two individuals.

It's a no-brainer for The Bahamas, as people are going to gamble no matter what. Anyone who thinks otherwise is, well, below of the 'no brain' bracket!

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TheMadHatter 2 months ago

BCC is saying here that they would not support a national lottery. Why then are they not opposed to the number houses? Why have they been so silent? Why no marches on Bay Street?

Also why have they not been at least curious to know the religion of the vast multitude of people who play numbers on a daily basis - seeing that they could not possibly be Christians...LOL.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 months ago

Forget the Bahamas Christian Council. The majority of its sitting members are being 'well taken care of' by the corrupt racketeering numbers bosses like Sebas Bastian and Craig Flowers. This is why the churches were not totally enraged when the corrupt Christie-led PLP government first proposed 'legalizing' the criminal web shop enterprises and why the church leaders did not even bother to get out the church-going Christian "No" vote in the national referendum. Hard to believe, but this is the sad reality.

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OldFort2012 2 months ago

Of course, this is all empty talk and absolutely nothing will happen in reality, whatever the Government decides to do.The idea that Bahamians would accept a National Lottery after they experienced the product of the number houses is like thinking that you can feed a wolf on vegetables after he has gorged himself on meat for years. And be happy. Isn't going to happen. The "product" pushed by the numbers houses is so superior to the National Lottery product that people will simply not want it. If they make the numbers houses illegal, they will simply stop paying taxes and still supply the product from the shadows, like they did for years. There is nothing that can be done, we are where we are, so let us admit it and stop talking bollocks. The status quo is the best we can hope for.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 months ago

As my wise old grandmother used to say, only a loser in life sees gloom and doom everywhere he (or she) looks!

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banker 2 months ago

Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. The churches should buzz off and stick to what they know best -- fleecing the flock with their BS.

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proudloudandfnm 2 months ago

Fuck the pseudo christian council....

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DDK 2 months ago

How DARE these Bible toting hypocrites?

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DDK 2 months ago

We need a little more separation of church and state! If the Bishop does not wish his parishioners to gamble he should remind them of this fact from his pulpit and stay the HELL out of politics! The numbers houses are open almost 24/7 (including Sundays).

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TalRussell 2 months ago

Whatcha talkin bout Comrade DDK. Doesn't you knows that 41.78% of the Preacherman's, and Preacherwoman's Churches - does runs 'Numbers Boot Camps?
Another survey points to Sunday afternoon 'Numbers Boot Camps, actually outnumbering Sunday afternoon 'Baptisms On Beaches By Being Ducked Under Da Water Services.

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Sickened 2 months ago

Churches need to be f'n banned! They are taking whatever is left in their poor/ignorant parishioners' pockets after the criminal numbers goons have gotten their share.

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sheeprunner12 2 months ago

Don't go that far .......... be careful when talking about the Lord's anointed

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banker 2 months ago

Lord's anointed -- with what? Pig crap? Religion is a bigger criminal racket than the PLP. Imagine the premise -- God raped Mary to be his own father to kill himself by getting Roman Capital Punishment, but it is all a charade because he gets undead and punishes you if you pleasure yourself? Makes sense to me, if I were popping LSD. The sooner that we stop believing in fairy tales, the sooner we will advance as a country -- like Sweden where 85% of the population is atheist and they have one of the best standards of living in the world.

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SP 2 months ago

BCC is the same group of goons that opposed Sunday shopping, prophesying their message was direct from GOD of curses, doom and destruction, while they were silently pulling all manner of sweet deals for themselves with Pillage Loot Plunder and Foreign National Movement for 4 decades!

Where were their voices and marches when the peoples Treasury was being robbed left right and center and political corruption, malfeasance, and foul play was the order of the day?

BCC group of jokers have no problem fleecing the flock daily, living high on the hog in huge houses and driving high-end luxury vehicles off the backs of poor, ignorant sheeple.

This clergy class of smoke and mirror artist has NO MORAL CURRENCY to oppose anything and as always are only concerned about the collection plaits!

Gambling has been here for decades and will remain here with or without a national lottery. It is absolutely asinine for government NOT to tap into this resource for the benefit of the entire country instead of allowing a few unregulated slicksters to continue the merciless rape and plunder of the populace at will.

Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar needs to ignore these clergies and carry on with what is in the best interest of the country at large.

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bogart 2 months ago

While the Church and the State are separate entities, the Bahamas has the unique and the only one of a kind preamble in a world largely dominated by Christian belief ...that we (Bahamians) to be guided by Christian principles.

Regretably the Church has diaappointed many in that many seem to be be guided in the belief of the almighty dollar instead of Christ and the teaching of the ten commandments.

We need a Martin Luther to challenge the church and bring it back on the right path where it serves its rightful role in nation building.

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B_I_D___ 2 months ago

Churches are some of the biggest monetary leeches out there. Pastor sitting pretty while the flock starves and can hardly pay their light bills...

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Emac 2 months ago

Delton Fernander, take your big stupid a$$ and go deal with your flocks. The BCC is has been irrelevant for a very long time. You and your yes men CANNOT dictate or make decisions on behalf of the entire Bahamian population. These fake a$$ preachers seem to forget that this country is a democracy and not a theocracy. Bunch of thieves robbing y'all blind followers every Sunday. But whatever. I would agree with this jackass if he agrees for the government to tax the churches! Where is the mad emoji when you need one?

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banker 2 months ago

Preachers are too dishonest and lazy to get real jobs, so they get their money by dressing up in robes and conning stupid people. If they were really Christ-followers they would feed the poor, heal the sick, drive out the the collection-takers in church, and do magic tricks and tings like walking on water. We need an exorcism of the devils called preachers and priests in the Bahamas.

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baldbeardedbahamian 1 month, 4 weeks ago

A National lottery is the winning idea, but only if the government can find a Bahamian civil servant who is both smart enough and honest enough. The web houses thrive on the gambling addiction which is fed by the shot of endorphin released with the placing of the bet and the revelation of the winning number. If the lottery is pulled once a week it may produce enough of a maintenance dose of endorphin to allow the gambling addict to have a productive life. An endorphin hit every 30 minutes like the 3-ball provides is probably more addictive than smoking cigarettes.

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bogart 1 month, 4 weeks ago

The lady who won the 250,000 i am almost certain said on national tv that she went often before she decided to crack the code.

While the BCC is against gambling I would have expected the first line of protest would have been against the web shops since the new govt started rather than a knee jerk reaction against the national lottery not yet started.

Agree baldbearded on the addiction especially when 10 cents can be gambled then 25 cents......

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month, 4 weeks ago

The few recent 'crack-the-code' $250,000 payouts are nothing but a promotional gimmick to get more people to put their scarce hard earned money in the pockets of the numbers bosses by spinning numbers. $250,000 is small change compared to the million dollar payouts that would take place on a regular basis to winners under a National Lottery system. The odds or probability of you being a winner under a National Lottery system would also be much much greater than the lousy odds one gets spinning numbers in a corrupt web shop. With a National Lottery the winning pot would be many times bigger and the chance of winning would by many times greater.

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B_I_D___ 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Ban the numbers houses, shut them down, do a national lottery which like most places all proceeds go towards an education fund for schools. "Everyone Wins!'

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ashley14 1 month, 4 weeks ago

baldbeardedbahamian Honest government official. lol Missing Hurricane Fund/really how do you misplace how many millions.

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Jonahbay 1 month, 4 weeks ago

These are desperate times for the Bahamas... We need revenue, more than anything. This BCC guy needs to relax and check his hypocrisy medication. The former government went against the people's no vote and what happened? Stunned silence from the BCC. Why weren't they chaining themselves to the doors of the number houses which multiplied like a virus in every corner of our archipelago? Where were the protests and press releases against the government then? Now the legislation has already been passed to legalise gaming and a National Lottery might be able to pay for Education (ideally) or at least help the govt to pay civil servants without borrowing money every month and this man has the gall to speak now? A day late and millions of dollars short!

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Sickened 1 month, 4 weeks ago

The software these numbers guys use lets them decide exactly how much they take in before they make a payout AND they get to decide how much they will pay out. Around christmas they pay out a little more and to more people so that everyone gets the buzz.

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banker 1 month, 4 weeks ago

And guess who's company wrote the software? The sweetheart son of FNM ex-Attorney General Claire Hepburn and Craig Flowers.

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