No Gambling Report: Was Christie Lying or Confused?
Prime Minister Perry Christie previously told local media that he received a “report” from London-based gambling consultants, who advised against a National Lottery. The mysterious consultants, who were paid an unknown fee, allegedly said that a National Lottery was unfeasible due to the small size of the population in The Bahamas.
Now, Mr Christie is saying there is no formal report and that he only received a few pages of recommendations from the consultants, who have been advising the government for some time.
When asked if he would release the written correspondence from the consultants, Mr Christie said, “No, why would I want to do that?”
He also said the matter involves a “difficult decision” because he promised the Bahamian public, on several occassions, that the referendum would be about a Natonal Lottery, not just the legalisation of web shops.
Less than one month ago, Mr Christie, speaking on a radio talk show told Bahamians that the consultants were expected to hand over a report for the government’s consideration.
“Overall,” he said, “what I anticipate is to receive a report in the immediate future, sometime within two weeks, that I will give consideration to and then take to the government for its consideration.”
Later, Mr Christie told the Nassau Guardian that he had actually received a report from the UK consultants but he had to review it before he could reveal their advice.
Christie also said that, “The consultancy has demonstrated to us that we have to very particular in ensuring that the people of The Bahamas, who are going to vote, will understand clearly what they are voting for or they’re not voting for.”
To date, the government has made no attempt to educate Bahamians on the pros and cons of legalized gambling.
Critics of Mr Christie’s gambling scheme have called for more information on how web shops would be run if Bahamians vote “yes” on the upcoming referendum.
Mr Christie’s response is that people who are concerned about how web shops would be regulated should trust that the government would impose “stringent and effective” laws.
In related news, a top Trinidadian regulator said the Bahamas must go ahead with a National Lottery, rather than legalising web shops and leaving the industry in the hands of a select few private citizens.
Louis Lee Sing, mayor of the Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago’s capital city and a former chairman of the country’s national Lottery Control Board, told a local newspaper that gaming must be operated or at least managed by the state. He advised against legalising web shops which he described as “personal rackets”.corruption, crime, gambling, government, PLP