Butler-Turner Lashes Out Against PM
Deputy Leader of the Free National Movement (FNM) Loretta Butler-Turner caused quite a commotion in the House of Assembly yesterday after she continuously interrupted the prime minister during his communication on the gambling referendum.
Butler-Turner later said she was frustrated, insulted and angered by the prime minister’s flip-flopping on the issue.
“I found it highly insulting that the prime minister of The Bahamas who has been a parliamentarian for over 35 years would have come to this House of Assembly two weeks ago and force fed us the information on a non-constitutional referendum, which, if he had taken the time then to check, he would’ve known he had no legal basis to [do it],” she told The Nassau Guardian.
“Then he comes back here this morning backtracking, flip-flopping as our leader has said, and basically trying to amend the mistakes they made, but still being proactive in terms of promoting, even though he said he has no horse in this race, advocating for the web shops.
“I found that highly insulting to the Bahamian people.”
Butler-Turner said the prime minister was under pressure. She said what he had done in his prior communication to the House was shameless.
After making the initial announcement on Tuesday night, Christie said in the House of Assembly yesterday that the controversial gambling referendum will take place on January 28 and will now include the question of a national lottery.
The date he had previously announced two weeks ago was December 3.
At a press conference Tuesday night, with one of the consultants from Dixon, Wilson and Co. present, Christie admitted that the government had not yet received a bill for the firm’s services and that the consultants had not visited any web shops, despite the fact that they advised the government on web shops and a national lottery.
Butler-Turner said she could not believe it.
“There’s no way that the government of The Bahamas could engage their services without knowing what the cost would be,” she said.
“It speaks right to the fact that they’re not gaming consultants. Clearly, this has been a debacle of the highest order and if anything the government of today has made an incredible mistake.”
Butler-Turner also said the opposition should have had the opportunity to address the issue in the House yesterday.
“I think that in the interest of this highly publicized and highly confusing issue that the opposition should have had the opportunity to address this matter as the leader did just now in the Minority Room,” she said, referring to Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis.
“We should have had that opportunity to do that on the floor of Parliament today, so that when the Bahamian people move forward they can see what is going on, on both sides.
“This is not really about what the prime minister wants; this is about what the Bahamian people would like to decipher in their own minds.”
Despite bending on the issue of a national lottery, the prime minister also said Tuesday that the question of casino gambling would not be on the referendum.
Butler-Turner said he should put all of the cards on the table.
“I understand, even though I have never stepped foot in one of these web shops, I understand that these are all casinos in and of themselves,” she said.
“And so obviously this is a question that needs to be put there.”
By Travis Cartwright-Carroll
Guardian Staff Reporter