Gangster Craig Flowers, numbers kingpin and head of FML Group of Companies, in a radio interview last week, was asked for his opinion about the government’s decision to go ignore the wishes of the people and licence the webshops.
“Let me assume,” Mr Flowers replied, “that you would have voted ‘no’ to the questions asked, that we should not regulate webshops. We should let them run rampant. We should leave backdoors open. We should let whatever, drugs, money laundering run in and out.
“I am speaking about the question,” he clarified, “and the question was whether or not you, who voted no, you are saying leave webshops alone.”
Mr Flowers has a warped interpretation of how the public voted. Nobody believes that that was how the public expected their “no” vote to be interpreted. In fact, virtually everybody who voted expected their resounding “no” vote to be interpreted as a demand to have all webshops closed immediately.
Indeed, it was Mr Flowers himself who, a few days before the vote, said that if Bahamians vote “no” he would be the first to close down his webshops “without remorse”. Prime Minister Christie had also promised the webshops would close if the referendum failed — in other words if the vote was “no” — webshops would cease operation.
The “no” vote was considered a huge loss to the government. All along, Mr Christie assured that the government had no horse in the race. But, it turns out, not only did the PLP have a horse in the race, but, as a Tribune editorial states, “that handsome brute was saddled and champing at the bit.”
After a resounding defeat at the polls, Prime Minister Christie declared that, “all offending webshop owners and operators are placed on notice that all their gaming operations, including all online gaming and the numbers games must cease with immediate effect. Failure to do so will .leave web shop owners, operators and web shop gaming patrons exposed to arrest and criminal prosecution without further notice or warning.”