May 7, 2014
Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe
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TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe announced in a statement yesterday that the government has decided to limit the number of gaming house operator licenses granted in The Bahamas to eight, a number that will be reviewed after a ten-year period.
TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe said yesterday it is time for the government to stop “investing money” into Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival and “hand over” the yearly celebration to a “private entity”.
TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe confirmed yesterday that the government spent “much less” on this year’s Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival but declined to reveal whether the second instalment of the annual festival managed to ‘break even’.
TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe said he believes the government has taken the right approach in negotiating the new deal to complete Baha Mar, pointing to the need to get the resort’s rooms filled with a view to attaining sustainable overnight visitor growth.
THE Gaming Board has commenced a 90-day observation period to assess Island Luck’s new televised three-ball game - Quick Draw - amid concerns that it is in violation of the Bahamas’ gaming laws.
TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe said it could take months before the final licences for web shop operators are issued.
WEB shop operator Bet Vegas remained open this week despite failing to meet benchmarks set by the government to obtain a conditional gaming house license.
TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe said yesterday that the “time has passed” for the government to consider the gaming recommendations made by Craig Flowers, CEO of the FML Group of Companies, but officials “can go back to Parliament and amend the law if need be”.
TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe yesterday called for the government to suspend its winding up petition and focus on its role as a mediator in the stalled Baha Mar negotiations.
TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe described the decision by a major hotel brand to pull out of the stalled Baha Mar project a "big loss" as he called for all parties to stop their "legal wrangling" and work together to open the $3.5bn mega resort.
TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe yesterday called for greater transparency and accountability as China Construction America gears up to begin its $250m Bay Street luxury development – The Pointe.
THE release of the economic impact report into May’s Junkanoo Carnival events has been delayed again – this time to an unspecified date next week.
WITH the employment of thousands of Baha Mar workers hanging in the balance, negotiators ended a protracted second day of talks in China without a deal to push the project forward, Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe said.
THE deal brokered by Prime Minister Perry Christie to secure the additional funding necessary to complete the Baha Mar project would have required an equal capital injection from both resort CEO Sarkis Izmirlian and general contractor China Construction America, according to Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe.
A day after saying he would not contest the leadership post of the PLP if Prime Minister Perry Christie sought a re-election bid, Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe suggested that if he were to become the nation’s leader he would work to restore the “gross national happiness” of Bahamians.
TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe said he would not compete with Prime Minister Perry Christie if the 71-year-old offers to lead the PLP at the party’s October convention.
THE government has extended the web shop industry’s transition period until an unspecified date, Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe confirmed yesterday.
TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe could not confirm yesterday whether the Gaming Board has made a decision on which companies were successful in their bids to obtain a gaming house operator’s license to operate legally in the country.
LONG Island MP Loretta Butler Turner said she is surprised by the government’s apparent struggle to secure a headliner for the inaugural carnival, adding that this reinforces her belief that efforts should have focused on capitalising on Junkanoo, the country’s greatest cultural expression.
EVEN if a minister has received a pass grade during these three weeks of the Cabinet Report, note that I will be watching closely and therefore they could either improve or be on a downgrade watch.
TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe hopes the government will confirm an international artist to headline the Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival this week.
TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe yesterday denied reports that international gospel artists have been added to the Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival line up.
TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe yesterday called for FNM Leader Dr Hubert Minnis to “know what his role is” and said the Killarney MP should “find ways to unite” and not “divide” Bahamians over Junkanoo Carnival.
TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchombe declared that the number one aim of the inaugural Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival is to promote the “true identity of Bahamian culture”. He said he is “not at all concerned” with any negative issues surrounding the festival.
TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe said yesterday the Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival Commission will take the Christian Council’s recent concerns regarding the upcoming festival “into consideration” but stressed that celebration will encourage “Bahamianism” and not “sins of the flesh.”
THE government has collected more than $20m from web shops in tax arrears and related fees as it works to regularise the industry, according to Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe.
TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe said yesterday the restoration of full diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States provides an “excellent” opportunity for the Bahamas to “focus on improving the quality of our tourism product”.
TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe said he will speak with officials at Resorts World Bimini after casino staff at the resort recently complained they were in “constant fear” of losing their jobs.
TEN web shops have paid their tax arrears in time to remain open during the industry’s transitional period and are eligible for operation licenses, Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe said yesterday.
WEBSHOPS that are not granted licences to operate will have seven days to shut down once notices of closure are released, Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe announced yesterday.
TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe is “very concerned” about recent reports by some tourists and the US Embassy in Nassau regarding alleged cases of sexual assault on Americans by members of the water sports industry, mainly jet ski operators.
TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe said the government is considering pedestrianising Bay Street as it strategises about revitalising the tourist hotspot and looks to increase visitor arrivals.
TWO international gaming consultants could settle in for a year-long training initiative to transition webshops into a regulated market as early as next week.
OBIE Wilchcombe, West Grand Bahama and Bimini MP, has branded outspoken Fort Charlotte representative Dr Andre Rollins’ ongoing controversial comments in the House of Assembly as “political immaturity” in need of “reconciliation” from not only constituents but from the Progressive Liberal Party’s council.
TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe dismissed Dr Andre Rollins’ criticism of the recently tabled Gaming Bill as “narrow” yesterday while insisting that the Bill will advance the gaming industry and not facilitate corruption.
TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe has hailed the new Gaming Bill tabled in Parliament yesterday as “new and cutting edge” legislation set to revolutionise the gambling industry and improve the Bahamas’ economy.
TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe yesterday hinted that the new Gaming Bill will demonstrate the first of “gradual steps” towards tackling discriminatory clauses that prevent Bahamians from gaming in casinos.
CONTRARY to what was mandated in a previous draft of the Gaming Bill, webshop businesses that qualify for government licences will no longer be required to shut down while the gaming industry is regularised, Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe confirmed yesterday.
TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe is “concerned” about the latest streak of murders in Nassau and the negative impact the reports could have on the Bahamas’ tourism industry.
TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe yesterday said local banks are responding well to efforts to implement the new gaming regime following a “positive” outcome to interactions between the government and Financial Action Task Force representatives.
THE government has not yet determined whether persons with a criminal record will be eligible to obtain webshop licences, Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe confirmed yesterday.
TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe said yesterday he expects to update the Christie administration on the Financial Action Task Force’s recommendations for the highly anticipated Gaming Bill when Cabinet meets this week.
VENDORS at Festival Place yesterday expressed fears of job security and suggested victimisation ahead of lengthy renovations to the roof and floor of the tourist attraction.
BEFORE the long-awaited Gaming Bill is brought to Parliament, the government will implement several recommendations relayed last week by representatives of the Financial Action Task Force, Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe said yesterday.
TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe yesterday confirmed that the much anticipated legislation to regulate the webshop industry will not be tabled this week in Parliament as expected.
TWO more government ministers declined to comment on whether they are up to date with their annual public disclosures.
THE systems in operation at local webshops have surprised international lawyers and analysts who have said they have never seen such complex gaming systems, according to Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchombe.
THE government will likely award a maximum of eight web shop licences as it moves to regulate the sector, Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe told The Tribune yesterday.
TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe, Bimini MP, said he is not aware of any environmental degradation that will result from the dredging of the seabed around North Bimini.
FOR the first time in 25 years, the economy of Grand Bahama has improved, Tourism Minister and West Grand Bahama MP Obie Wilchcombe claimed yesterday.
TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe yesterday reiterated that web shop gaming will be regulated on July 1 despite the government’s legal affairs minister suggesting a later start.