It’s been christened ‘Gaming Gate’?
Late last week a document was leaked to the media called ‘Gambling Brief No.1’.
I was also provided with a copy of the document, primarily so I could offer a response to the media on the issue, of which you can read one of my responses in the RG from the other day.
The document has since been posted online by Bermuda Blue, who also gives his thoughts on it – namely that the document seems to make it quite clear that it was the Government’s intentions (as early as April 2013) to ditch the election pledge of holding a referendum on casino gambling, and that the Government has misled and sought to manipulate the electorate since, in an attempt to justify that intention.
Beachlime has also written a post about it, and seems to concur that the document indicates the Government decided to ditch the referendum on casino gambling long before their ‘excuse’ for doing so in December 2013 and that this ‘blows out of the water’ the OBA’s pre-election claims to be ‘A Better Way’ based on transparency and honesty.
Beachlime also raises some good questions about on-ship casinos for cruise ships and what’s changed between 2009/2010 for those (now OBA, then UBP) MPs who voted against casino gambling then, and spoke passionately for the need to decide this by a referendum – and continued to echo those sentiments right through to December 2013.
Time to get (righteously) angry?
I think every Bermudian should be outraged about this document and the cynical manipulation of the electorate, as laid out in this document.
Additionally, this document is clearly a political brief – it outlines a political strategy for the Governing party to ‘thwart’ the Opposition PLP and manipulate both it’s own MPs (and members) and the electorate.
While this might be acceptable for a document paid for and written for a political party, this document was instead paid for by the taxpayer. That is, public funds have been used to write an overtly political brief, and one that outlines how to outwit the public.
I don’t know about you, but I think we should all be concerned about that – it should be seen as nothing more than the flagrant misuse of public monies.
Add to that that the Minister in question (and the OBA Government as a whole) has actively lied to the people and misled parliament.
And the Minister’s comments, in reaction to the leaking of this document (but prior to it being publicly available on Bermuda Blue), compounded this situation by seeking to actively mislead as to the nature of this document.
For the misuse of public funds to create this document alone I believe that in greater democracies than ours we would have seen the Minister resign.
Of course, I encourage everyone to read the document for themselves and to make up their own minds on it. Having said that, I think only the more zealous OBAers will be able to manage the mental gymnastics necessary to rationalise this document and to not find it outrageous, but, well, perhaps that’s just me.
Time for OBAers to take back their Party?
Now, I’m not saying the entire OBA is at fault here – the document indicates that the OBA’s own MPs and members were to be manipulated on this. However, I think a lot of individuals, either in the OBA itself or who voted for them, or increasingly feeling disappointed about the OBA in power.
I remain hopeful that there are enough honest and genuine individuals within the OBA who are willing to call a spade a spade and, rather than engage in apologetics for their party, instead work to correct the errors that the OBA (or at least, say, three or so MPs) are doing that are undermining all the hope that people had in the OBA.
To a degree it was the failure of PLPers to hold the PLP to account until far too late that contributed to the PLP losing its way and, ultimately, deserving to lose power.
Whether the OBA deserved to win power when it did is an open question, but the fact is they did, and I believe it behooves us all to encourage those honest and genuine members of the OBA to reclaim their party and get it back to where at least they thought it would be – or was supposed to be – until it is too late to save them.