Premier Craig Cannonier on ref
Gambling referendum scrapped
Government has scrapped a promised referendum on gaming and will instead move ahead with gaming legislation.
Premier Craig Cannonier said: “Gaming will be brought to the House of Assembly in the form of legislation where it will be either passed or rejected by vote. We will allow our politicians to speak to the topic of gaming and let the decision there be made.
“Parliamentarians must represent their constituents and so we stand behind this decision.
“In the weeks to come we will announce a schedule of events for this to happen, including a public information and consultation campaign on the plan for gaming, making sure all aspects of this issue are addressed.”
Flanked by OBA MPs and Senators, Mr Cannonier said the decision came as a result of statements from the PLP and suggestions that the Opposition would attempt to derail the referendum process.
“This week, after conversations with members of the Opposition, it was made clear, very clear to us, that the referendum process will be undermined if we don’t meet (the Opposition’s) demands to change the wording of the question.
“Earlier this year the Opposition Leader said he and his colleagues would support gaming if the Government brought the matter to the House without referendum. His party’s support of gaming at the time, and other statements, simply doesn’t square with the threat this week to undermine the exercise.
“It is clear to us that the Opposition’s political ambitions have moved ahead of the people’s business, and that the threat to disrupt the referendum or have a boycott is real. As the Government of Bermuda we will not stand for it. We will not play politics with people’s jobs, we will not play politics with the opportunity to help people pay their bills and put food on the table.”
Mr Cannonier said while the move was contrary to pledges by the OBA, it falls in line with the more significant pledge to create jobs.
“We were elected to fix the economy, to grow jobs and end the misery thousands are feeling every day because the economy is no longer big enough to support them,” he said.
“Our job is to do what we believe is right for the country, and that means not allowing politics to damage people’s chances for jobs and a better life.”
Acting Opposition Leader Derrick Burgess responded to the statement this afternoon, saying the Premier was misleading the public about the Opposition’s position, claiming the party never threatened a boycott.
“The PLP is clear that this should go to the people and we are perplexed of the OBA’s complete disregard for the democratic process on this important issue and attempting to shift the blame for a decision they made onto the PLP,” Mr Burgess said.
“What does this say about the Premier’s character and integrity that he would wilfully and knowingly deceive the people with such a boldfaced lie? The OBA history of lies, reversals, mixed messages, contradictions, and flip flops are undermining confidence in the OBA at a time when Bermudians need to know that they can trust their government.”
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