The Wrong Week To Go Offline…!
I’m still officially ‘on vacation’ and haven’t had much time to check the news or pretty much anything online – more as a personal choice than anything else.
However, I did take some time out today, as my vacation draws to a close, to skim through what I missed this week.
Seems I chose the wrong week to go offline, with a Cabinet shuffle and then the complete about face by the OBA concerning the gambling referendum.
I’m going to keep this brief, as I still need to pack.
I am personally opposed to gambling.
I think it brings more social and economic negatives than it does positives.
I am not opposed out of any religious beliefs, although I recognise my opposition to gambling makes me strange bedfellows with the Churches, especially due to my strong belief in a secular state.
I have said before that I could support gambling under certain conditions, namely following the Bahamian model of restricting gambling solely to tourists, but also ensuring that the profit generated from gambling is completely (beyond maintaining and improving the casinos) directed towards social needs (primarily health and education).
I planned to campaign for a no vote (to gambling) in the then proposed gambling referendum.
I was opposed to the wording of the gambling referendum question and called for a neutral question.
I am taken aback by the OBA’s stubbornness to rephrase the gambling referendum question to a neutral one – and aghast at their decision to abandon the referendum completely rather than adopt a neutral question.
I am almost convinced now that the OBA never intended to hold a gambling referendum and deliberately produced a loaded gambling referendum question in order to manufacture controversy in order to justify their abandoning of the gambling referendum and effectively forcing it through parliament (where they hold the majority, essentially securing the vote).
I believed that any gambling referendum would have resulted in a victory for the pro-gambling factions, especially in the current social and economic conditions of desperation and short-term thinking.
Nonetheless, I felt that the OBA was elected with the promise of holding a referendum, the Premier himself effectively gave his word that a gambling referendum would be held, and that, having done so, a referendum would, well, be held.
After a year in power the OBA have essentially lost all credibility in my eyes.
I believe they were elected essentially by fraud and an effective election PR campaign – they were, quite frankly, elected through false advertising.
Campaign Finance & PATI
More importantly, I believe that this underlines the importance of campaign finance reform and PATI.
I am increasingly of the belief that pro-gambling monies have strongly financed the OBA and as the recently reshuffled Minister Patricia Pamplin-Gordon once said, when in Opposition, ‘he who pays the piper calls the tune’.
We need campaign finance reform to ensure that elections are won on the basis of promises, of policies – not on the basis of who can afford the most ads, or the most effective PR.
We need campaign finance reform to ensure that governments are not beholden to their political financiers but instead are beholden to the electorate on the basis of their promises and policies.
And we need PATI to make clear that the people are informed and aware of any backroom dealings the Government may have engaged in.
OBA = No Credibility
So, a year on and I’ve lost all respect for the OBA.
I was always ideologically opposed to them, although I supported aspects of their policies (both pre and post election) – but I at least believed them to have some degree of integrity.
And their election platforms amount to rubbish as far as I’m concerned now.