Saturday, January 19, 2013

Prime Minister Perry Christie's Statements on Web-shops... and the Approaching Gambling Referendum are Very Concerning...

Prime Minister’s Statement….Very Concerning!

For Immediate Release
January 17, 2013

In a recent interview, Prime Minister Perry Christie espoused that the country would have a dilemma if the electorate vote against regularizing the web-shops. He said that if they do not regularize web-shops, people will have to go deeper underground illegally or we will have to find a way to find alternative employment for them.

In addition the Prime Minister stated that his administration will not move on closing the web-shops before the referendum and he continued by saying that it will take a lot of effort and costs a lot of money so to do. The Prime Minister’s words were, “I would not dare open my mouth and tell them they cannot be employed with the yes vote people who they are working for. I would not dare do that because no one else is helping them – social services in some instances will help with rent payments but they need jobs”. The Prime Minister went on to say that, “the government has to be prepared to find jobs and that everyone knows what the economy of the Bahamas is facing”. In this regard, may I remind the Prime Minister of his election campaign promise when the PLP convinced the Bahamian people that they had the answer to job creation.

In the Bahamas it is generally accepted that the web-shop gaming is illegal. There is no legislation on this activity and there is no proposed legislation for the Bahamian people to consider. Surprisingly, the Commissioner of Police a few days ago said that he was too tolerant with this illegal activity. No doubt, if web-shop gaming was legal, we would not be having this discussion.

I am of the view that something is terribly wrong when the Prime Minister of the Bahamas uttered those words…trying to justify an illegal act! Moreover the Prime Minister was very much out of order and I dare say had no authority to make such a pronouncement. If an act is illegal, The Prime Minister does not determine if the illegal act ought to continue. It is the Commissioner of Police to act on the illegality! Now I know that the Prime Minister is in a very difficult position. The fact of the matter is that illegal gaming in the Bahamas has continued to prosper because successive governments have become “silent partners” in these entities by allowing them to operate and refusing to uphold the law of the land. But Mr. Prime Minister…right is right and wrong is wrong!

The Prime Minister of this beloved Bahamas should never be seen to condone wrongdoing. That is what our Prime Minister did. Leaders must lead by example and this is a very poor example to set. No wonder there are some persons in this country that have a blatant disregard for the laws of the land.

No doubt the international community is also watching this process and I am most concern of their perception of our Prime Minister and consequently the Bahamas as a result of the Prime Minister’s comments.

Following up on these comments by the Prime Minister, Mr. Christie is still adamant that he does not have “a horse in the race”. In my view, the Prime Minister made his position quite clear as to what he would like to see transpire on the 28th January 2013, but in any event, we as a people should know what our Prime Minister’s position is on this issue. At the very least, the Prime Minister’s constituents ought to know his position. As a matter of fact…they should insist.

Branville McCartney
DNA Leader