I was featured in two Bermuda Sun articles for their Wednesday edition – and I’m very thankful for them for doing so!
For anyone interested in reading my full comments, their full context, here they are:
I find it odd that, while the letter says the Government has done ‘extensive research’ that they are only now in consultation with hoteliers.
Furthermore, it seems decidedly strange that the Government is consulting with hoteliers on the one hand, while breaking their election promise of consulting with the electorate through a referendum on the issue of casino gambling.
I also have some concerns about the way the letter is written – it’s biased in a similar way to the OBA’s previous proposal for the now cancelled referendum question. It appears designed to allow the Government to go to their proposed town-hall meetings and say ‘see, we have these letters of interest from the hoteliers’, as if it’s some desperate attempt to further justify their undemocratic decision to abandon the referendum.
While the petition for a referendum on casino gambling remains neither for or against casino gambling itself, the entire process by which the Government has first proposed a biased question, then abandoned the referendum, and now appears to have failed to really conduct extensive research until the last minute, well, it just doesn’t seem well thought out or properly conducted.
I welcome the support of the Opposition Leader for a referendum on casino gambling.
While the petition for a referendum on casino gambling is non-partisan, and neither for or against casino gambling itself, I agree with the Opposition Leader that a referendum on casino gambling is the right way to go about it, especially after it was promised by both parties during the 2012 election.
Ultimately, this issue is about democracy and the precedents that are being set by the OBA abandoning their commitment to holding a referendum on this issue.
A referendum, using an unbiased question, provides a clear answer on the issue of casino gambling – and the money has already been set aside for it and cannot be used for anything other than a referendum.
As Minister Crockwell stated earlier this month ‘democracy is never a waste of time’, so I am personally pleased that the Opposition Leader has recognised this also and added his voice to the need for the Government to return to its commitment to democracy – of deciding the issue of casino gambling by the promised referendum.
I’ld like to remind everyone that they too can add their voices to this call by signing the petition – there are hard-copies available at Rock Island Cafe, Kirk’s Jewellers, the BIU Gas Station and the BIU Headquarters; sheets are also making the rounds throughout the community, and there is also the online petition available.
Petition sheets have also been provided to every OBA and PLP MP, as well as the Independent MP, Terry Lister, so that constituents can contact them too.
At the moment I am confident we are over the 2,500 mark, and look forward to collecting many more signatures going forward.