Web Shops: Vote No to Greedy Criminals and Crooked Politcians
“He who loves money never has money enough.”
The love and lust for money is at the root of the games seen and unseen by various criminal enterprises and certain politicians aggressively pushing Bahamians to vote against their self-interest and to instead feed the greed of those already gorging off the numbers business.
In the game-playing on gambling, the question presented by the government in the person of Dr. B. J. Nottage, speaks to the regulation and taxing of web shops, curiously avoiding the word “legalize”.
Though the minister of national security did not mention legalize in the first referendum question, the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade, helpfully noted in a news journal story entitled, “Greenslade: I Have Been Too Tolerant of Numbers Houses”:
“We have our work cut out for us. If it remains illegal, then I have to go after it and there is (sic) a lot of things to go after. If it is legal, it has to be regulated, and again we have to ensure the regulations are followed … ”
Further: “Today it is illegal on the books and we have an obligation to enforce the law. I have been very, very patient for a long time and I believe that by the end of January I will be a bit more impatient, but I have been far too tolerant.”
In the film “Jerry Maguire” Cuba Gooding Jr. and Tom Cruise famously engage in a raucous exchange by telephone, Gooding Jr. dancing in his kitchen, and Cruise in his office with both shouting the infamous line, “Show me the money.”
To understand the wheel-of-fortune that is the game concocted by certain politicians and numbers houses to legalize web shops, follow the money trail of greed and intrigue.
Forget the side arguments in favor of legalization. It’s all about making a few rich people richer. The poor be dammed. To hell with everybody else, as long as we can stuff our vaults with even more, and more, and more, and then some more.
The new PBS series “The Abolitionists” highlights the intrinsic role greed played in the institution of slavery, as described in an article by John Blake at CNN.com: “Want to know why slavery lasted so long? The simplistic answer: racism. Another huge factor: greed.”
“Many abolitionists didn’t realize this when they launched the anti-slavery movement, the documentary shows. They were motivated by Christian idealism, but it was no match for the power of money.
“Christianity and slavery were two of the big growth industries in early America. The country underwent two ‘Great Awakenings’ in the early 19th century – while slavery continued to spread.
“But the spread of Christianity did little to stop the spread of slavery because too many Americans made money off slavery, the documentary shows.” Blake summarizes: “The lesson: Don’t reduce the issue of slavery to racism. Follow the money.”
Likewise, follow the money of who will benefit most and who will benefit the least from legalizing web shops. In terms of the latter, it is the mass of Bahamians who will benefit least. The big beneficiaries will be a select handful of numbers houses who will be granted licenses, and certain political associates.
And, which politicians will likewise benefit? Follow the scent of the greed and the smell of the money. Typically, historically, when various parties seek to muddy the waters on an issue or keep things unclear, the two-step cum Three-card Monte involved is one of public confusion and private collusion. Be not distracted: Follow the money!
As an imaginative aside, suppose the yes vote passes and the government is then set to grant licenses. Is it possible for certain interests to go to various numbers bosses and suggest that because the latter may have a public reputation for criminal enterprise, that they should allow others to front for a license, with the parties splitting the profits?
If the game-playing before the referendum is one of intrigue, watch for even more intrigue if there is a yes vote on web shops, as the greedy and the grabalicious race to divide the spoils. Follow the money.
Here’s another item for the imagination. Suppose both referendum questions pass? Pray tell us, listening prime minister, what’s the plan in the event of this scenario? And since we’re imagining: suppose only a national lottery passes? Will the Christie administration license current web shop owners to run the national lottery?
The government has alternatively played the fool and attempted to play the Bahamian people for fools on the gambling issue, initially abandoning an election promise for a vote that would include a national lottery. The same PLP which was allegedly furious over the process of the last referendum has outdone itself on hypocrisy and incompetence on this referendum.
Dr. Nottage, with apparent sights still on becoming prime minister, took semi-charge in a dysfunctional and leaderless government, giving a national address on the referendum questions, a scant three week before the vote, an address of which the prime minister seemed blithely unaware.
The government’s credibility on the referendum sunk every time Christie spoke on the matter. With every utterance he fumbled and flip-flopped himself into a pretzel of contradictions. Not to be outdone, Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis is now known as Dr. Zigzag for his incoherence on the issue.
The irony is that on the referendum, the chronically late-again prime minister desperately wanted to give the appearance of being decisive, even bragging that the opposition would have to get used to his decisiveness.
Christie forgot that decisiveness is not simply making quick decisions. It involves also good judgement, being well-informed and competence, tests also failed by Minnis. Instead, the country watched in amazement as Christie displayed poor judgement, appeared poorly-informed and showcased his signature incompetence.
Christie’s disastrous performance in the lead-up to the referendum vote is one of the greatest reasons for the stumbles of the yes campaign, and why the initial vote was likely cancelled. The coalition of the greedy has had to move past him in order to secure their avarice.
To know who are the beneficiaries and agents of such greed, follow the money, the love of which is the root of all manner of unseemly and detestable behavior by those who claim to love the very people they are fleecing and flamming. Follow the money.
Author of the ‘Front Porch’ column in the Nassau Guardian
and contributor to www.bahamapundit.com