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Minister Minors clarifies she has not changed stance on gambling

Tourism Minister Patrice Minors wants people to know that she hasn’t given a public endorsement of gambling.

Ms Minors said she wanted to “add some clarity” to recent stories about her stance on gambling in

The Royal Gazette.

The Ministry yesterday sent out a press release, the day after a front-page story on Ms Minors and gambling was printed, saying the story “subjectively and incorrectly infers” that she had changed her stance to legalising gambling.

This newspaper reported that Ms Minors would put gambling back on the table if there was a public desire to do so, despite her well-publicised anti-gambling views.

Ms Minors added that it was “a wide-ranging interview with

The Royal Gazette reporter, on a variety of tourism related subject matters and gaming was just one of the topics of discussion”.

Ms Minors said she “takes particular issue” with the first five paragraphs of Tuesday’s story.

The story read: “Tourism Minister Patrice Minors is ready to put aside her personal anti-gambling views for the good of the Country” then “The politician has said she will start pushing for casinos in Bermuda if most residents agree it is the best way forward for tourism”.

Acting Permanent Secretary Michelle Khaldun and Director of Tourism William Griffith, who sat in on the interview, offered a joint response saying: “It should be noted that Minister Minors has not changed her stance regarding being opposed to gaming and that her personal opinion remains the same as that which was communicated on the floor of the House of Assembly when the matter was last debated.

“The interview touched on a number of tourism related subjects and it is regrettable and unfortunate that gaming seems to have emerged as the focus of the interview. It is the intention, as the Minister has clearly stated on several occasions, that as part of the formulation of the National Tourism Plan, there will be a series of consultative events in order to gauge the public pulse and views as it relates to revitalising Bermuda’s tourism product.

“The Minister stressed during the interview that she was pleased that the Board had decided to move ahead with the development and recommendation of some Strategic Imperatives which will be finalised after the public consultation planned for September. She also stressed that these Strategic Imperatives points the way forward with strategies and actions that provide a basis for the National Plan.

“Gaming has emerged as one of the topical items for discussion as well as a number of other areas. That said, we will continue to press forward with hearing the views of the public. And we will continue to have a measured and comprehensive approach to the formulation of the National Tourism Plan as this is intended to be a plan which will benefit Bermuda for years to come.”

Royal Gazette Editor Bill Zuill said he was surprised the Minister had complained about the story.

“I thought the story made it perfectly clear that Ms Minors had not changed her personal position, but was prepared to discuss the question if the public wanted it debated again,” he said. “However, it is true that Ms Minors’ position is fairly nuanced and it is important for journalists and the public not to condense it down to the suggestion that ‘Ms Minors wants to put gambling on the table’.”

He added: “The fact is that three stories were written from the interview, including one specifically on the national plan. However, all are aware that gambling is a live topic for discussion, especially since two leading hoteliers backed the idea just weeks ago. It is a newspaper’s job to take large amounts of information and present the most important facets of that information to the public. That is what happened here.”

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Published August 25, 2011 at 10:01 am (Updated August 25, 2011 at 10:01 am)

Minister Minors clarifies she has not changed stance on gambling

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