Okay. Something is off about this Gaming Bill to be tabled by the government and it is giving rise to the key questions – who is orchestrating what is now taking place and why. The proposed Bill goes well beyond online casino gambling for hotels – it will lift the restriction on gambling in The Bahamas for permanent residents and work permit holders – that is a brand new and historic change to gaming laws in The Bahamas.
Online gaming for hotels is not the major statute change because casinos already are in the business of gaming. To give them another avenue of gaming is not a major shift legislatively. The online gaming allowance for hotels does not change WHO IS ALLOWED TO GAMBLE IN THE BAHAMAS. The permanent resident and work permit holders change is the major shift that changes WHO IS ALLOWED TO GAMBLE IN THE BAHAMAS.
The hotel casino section just happens to be the aspect that would grab one’s attention first because that is the aspect that was highlighted to the public first.
The change to who can gamble in The Bahamas represents the Cabinet making a very deliberate move to spite Bahamians and spark their anger, because there was no need and there would be no rational justification for them to touch the aspect of the law that prohibits permanent residents and work permit holders from gambling in The Bahamas. I’m not a fool. I sense a set up by the PLP government itself.
It appears that this is a plan by either the Prime Minister, members of his Cabinet or both, to create two things: #1 – a massive smokescreen to distract from their deepening unpopularity with the electorate, and #2 – to get Bahamians to protest against their own vote in the January gaming poll and insist that the numbers houses be licenced since “the foreigner” will be allowed to gamble. They gambled with the Bahamian people with that illegal opinion poll and lost. Now they need to kill the albatross they wrapped around their own neck through that poll.
Think about it. No PLP politician around that Cabinet table would agree to such an historic change in the law (regarding permanent residents and work permit holders) knowing what the outcome and outrage would be unless they have an ulterior motive.
The government reportedly paid a South African consultant in excess of a half-million dollars to produce this copy-and-paste Bill that Minister Obie Wilchcombe claims has not yet been signed off on by the Cabinet. That’s how you know a game is being played here – because a Cabinet Minister never discusses the details of a matter before the Cabinet that has not yet been decided upon one way or the other by the Cabinet. But Wilchcombe discussed this Bill in detail with the press over the weekend for Monday’s paper. That was a dead giveaway that a game is being played here, and the game is whether the Bill they leaked to the press will actually be tabled at all in its current form.
Recognise that this Bill was leaked to the press by the PLP, to create controversy ahead of its tabling – that is very obvious and was obvious the moment the press reported on the existence of the bill. Recognise that the prime minister is silent on this bill. Recognise that the government is under pressure from numbers houses to make good on what every sensible person knows were the promises it made to numbers bosses prior to and after the general election.
Recognise that while tax payers have paid in excess of a half million for this document to be drawn up, we do not know what Bill will eventually be tabled in parliament – because if this entire charade is what it looks and smells like, the controversy over this Bill can be spun as a reason to produce “a new Bill”, one that appears to obey the current demands of the Bahamian people for equal rights. In other words – it is a game.
Nothing the government of the day is doing thus far is for The Bahamian people and we all need to wake up and recognise that. Had they legalised the numbers houses, they already had their set people who they promised behind closed doors to give the licenses to, with the plan to shut out others to increase the power of those they licenced. They were playing a game then. They are playing it now.
RECOGNISE THE GAME. This is not about Atlantis or Baha Mar – Atlantis is already beginning online gaming this week and the law has not yet been tabled – which means they didn’t need this Gaming Bill to do what they are doing. Reports surrounding this Bill are a sham to create a different kind of controversy – one to lead to sorting out the numbers houses as promised.
Let’s see how this new game plays out, because a game is clear. Unfortunately for the PLP government though, they do not recognise the season the nation is in, and how the hand of fate is against them in every scheme they shall set out to carry out.