Ingraham flip -flops and sets the game of DEFEAT FOR THE “NO” Campaign – “YES” Campaign ahead in the polls
Hubert A. Ingraham
On Gaming Referendum
24 January 2013
Events surrounding the conduct and campaigning related to the gaming referendum scheduled for next Monday, 28 January, 2013 have evolved in such a manner as to have persuaded me that my position of non-participation has become untenable.
Hence I advise that I now propose to vote in the referendum: I will vote No.
I have no personal objection to individuals engaging in legal games of chance. I have previously said that I would not participate in a referendum meant to legalize web-shop gambling or “numbers” while leaving in place a prohibition preventing Bahamian citizens, residents and work permit holders from access to legalized gaming in casinos licensed and regulated by the Bahamas Gaming Board.
Having dedicated my professional life to the legal profession, and having been honoured to have served as a representative in the House of Assembly for 35 years and as Prime Minister for 15 years, the blatant disrespect and disregard of the laws of our land is intolerable to me.
I will not comment on the mockery of the supposed neutrality which the present administration has sought to cloak rather naked support for, and promotion of a Yes vote.
I do say however: It is impossible for me to see at least three self-declared violators of gaming laws parade through the main street of our city, demonstrate in front of Parliament demanding that the people endorse their illegal behaviour and make them legal, and fear no consequence for their actions from the law- enforcement sector of our country.
These operators of illegal enterprises have admitted their complicity in multiple media interviews in which they advise that they will continue their gaming enterprises regardless of the outcome of the referendum, and presumably regardless to any new legislation put in place by the Government of The Bahamas to implement the results of the vote. This is an affront to all law-abiding citizens.
Many have lamented that the lax attitude of the then government and various law enforcement officials of the 1980s toward the illicit drug trade, which gave way to a drug culture, shredding some of our social fabric, and giving rise to a spiral of criminality, has only grown during the following decades.
I suffered the consequences for my principled stand against official corruption at that time. I cannot now remain a silent observer as once again, perpetrators of illegal enterprises seek to further erode our democracy, disrespect our laws, and denigrate those who promote decency.
To excuse illegal behaviour because it is supposedly too expensive to counter is unconscionable. To excuse illegal behaviour because it creates employment is inexcusable, and to excuse illegal behaviour because some believe that it will bring additional revenue to the Public Treasury is similarly inexcusable.
Such a series of lame excuses demonstrates that those responsible for governing our country are bankrupt of ideas to foster growth and development.
I urge all law-abiding citizens of our land to vote on Monday and to Vote No. Non-participation and hence a low voter turnout will work to the benefit of those opposed to law and good order in our country.