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‘Proposed amendments are of grave concern’

The following is the slightly edited version of Alan Dunch resignation letter that was sent to Jamahl Simmons, the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism.

The tabling of the Casino Gaming Amendment Act 2017 last Friday came as an unexpected surprise to me and I consider the proposed amendments to be of grave concern.

The substance of what you propose to enact completely undermines the fundamental premise upon which I agreed to serve as chairman of the Casino Gaming Commission, namely that the commission would be a wholly autonomous, independent regulatory body which would operate free from political interference and government dictate.

The notion that the commission will become obligated to follow general directions from you, as minister, is a potentially sad and seriously backward misstep in the ongoing efforts of Bermuda to introduce a gaming regime that will be recognised and perceived both locally and in the international gaming community as one that has integrity, independence and an unfettered ability to minimise, if not eliminate entirely, in fact and in appearance the possibility of corruption. The result may well be to impede Bermuda's ability to attract first-class people of the utmost integrity to both operate and regulate the gaming industry here.

The proposed amendments have given me considerable pause for thought and reflection on my personal position moving forward.

I am genuinely of the view that, in terms of the best interests of Bermuda, it would be ill-advised and most unfortunate if the proposed amendments were to be passed by Parliament, approved by the Senate and assented to by the Governor.

However, while regrettable, I think it likely that the amendments will, in due course, come into force unless they are withdrawn.

In those circumstances, in the unlikely event that you did not revoke my appointment, I would nevertheless find it untenable to continue to serve as the chairman, or indeed sit as a member, of the commission moving forward.

As a result, please accept this letter as formal notice of my current intention to resign as a member of the commission, such resignation to take effect immediately upon the conclusion of the next scheduled monthly meeting of the commission on December 6, 2017.

It is my sincere hope that in making this decision to resign, you and the Government might now consider it unnecessary to move forward with the proposed amendments and, in the best interests of Bermuda, choose instead to withdraw the Amendment Act which, as stated above, is ill-advised and could do irreversible harm to the reputation of our country.

I wish you all the best in your continuing endeavours and would only add that I will, of course, be available to assist the new chair of the commission in any way if such assistance is sought.

Kind regards,

Alan W. Dunch, Chairman

Outgoing gaming commission chairman (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published November 16, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated November 16, 2017 at 6:45 am)

‘Proposed amendments are of grave concern’

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