Urgency For Common Sense

Monday 15th, October 2012 / 08:53 Published by

The government did not need to pay a foreign consultant to understand that there is some urgency in regulating web shops. Web shops are illegal, so of course there is urgency for regulation.

Successive governments that have allowed the continued operation of illegal entities such as web shops only reinforce the acceptance of criminal activity in The Bahamas. It is more than likely that such blatant disregard for the enforcement of existing legislation has only perpetuated crime.

Therefore, the prime minister’s remarks on the urgency of regulation are quite shallow. The government is kidding no one by feigning surprise at the urgency needed to regulate these operations.

Perry Christie said: “… In looking at the web shop operations they have given us some reasons to consider why there is some urgency in being able to regulate them. That really for the good order in the country for consistency in terms of how you regulate people who have access to large sums of money that there is an urgency behind this whole thing that we weren’t quite aware of but now we’re bringing focus to it.”

Numbers houses continue to proliferate across New Providence because 1) they are profitable; 2) Bahamians do gamble; and 3) there are no perceived legal ramifications. Just as the government cannot deny its acceptance of web shops, the Christian Council cannot deny that many of its parishioners gamble.

Given the influence of web shop owners, one has to wonder whether the Christie administration was ever seriously considering a national lottery as opposed to the regulation of web shops. Luckily, for web shop owners, the foreign consultant questions the feasibility of a national lottery.

Christie said: “The consultants have a number of concerns about the feasibility of a lottery in the sense of whether or not there is a sufficient market here to sustain a lottery as opposed to web shop operations.”

He went on further to say again that, “One of the considerations obviously is that we give very careful consideration to whether or not we want to proceed with the lottery as opposed to the web shops.”

Such reiteration of the same statement hints at movement away from a national lottery to the regulation of web shops. Whether or not the national lottery makes the referendum, a date which is still unknown, we hope that it is now as clear to the government as it has been to the people that web shops must be either be regulated or shut down.

But the government in its determination to bring some form of regulation to the Bahamian gambling industry, as opposed to the casinos that cater to tourists, remains mum on ramifications for current web shop owners. And if the people vote down such operations, what then will the government do? In all likelihood, nothing; web shops will survive legal or not.

Since the question of a lottery or more likely the regulation of web shops will be presented to the people, it would behoove the government to release the consultant’s detailed report to the public. The Bahamian people should be able to determine the facts unencumbered by political ad-lib.

We are curious to read the report produced by a foreign consulting firm at our expense on the obvious illegal nature and necessary urgent action to regulate web shops. Moreover, the urgency to regulate numbers houses cannot possibly match the urgency for which women should be granted equal constitutional rights as men.

Editorial from The Nassau Guardian

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