|FNM deputy: Lottery consultants a waste of money|
Guardian Senior Reporter
Published: Sep 21, 2012
Deputy Leader of the Free National Movement (FNM) Loretta Butler-Turner yesterday criticized the government for “wasting” money on consultants hired to advise on a national lottery before Bahamians vote in a referendum.
Butler-Turner said the fact that the consultants were contracted to advise the Christie administration made it seem as if the government has made up its mind about legalizing gambling.
“Why are we spending this money on consultancy for a national lottery when in fact Bahamians have not even made this determination?” the Long Island MP asked yesterday. “You know, this whole issue of spending our money on something that we’re not sure we’re going to even be having, questions where the government’s head is at.
“They certainly have made a presumption that this is something that’s going to happen. I mean after saying that there is going to be a referendum, if they made a decision that they are going to have a national lottery then why are we going to waste our money even on a referendum?”
Her comments came a day after Prime Minister Perry Christie said the U.K.-based consultants are expected to present the government a report within two weeks on how to set up a national lottery.
The advisors are also expected to recommend how to update the country’s gaming laws.
Christie has also said he wants to give the public as much information as possible before a public vote on legalizing gambling.
The referendum is expected to ask Bahamians whether they support the creation of a national lottery and/or legalizing gambling in web shops.
The prime minister said the consultants have met with him and plan to meet with representatives from local casinos.
Butler-Turner also hit out at the government for not being more specific about the referendum details.
“We’re all operating out of a mode of speculation because Christie has not yet articulated to the Bahamian people what the parameters on the questions of the referendum would be,” she said.
“We are being misled by this administration. We do not know exactly what is going to be asked of us and they have now gone and preempted everything by bringing in [consultants].
“I think it’s an absolute waste of money. I think it’s absolutely ludicrous that the government is not having this discourse with the public and on top of that, I think that the government in bringing the consultants in here and spending this money having pretty much made their determination.
“So they are wasting our time and they are wasting our money with regards to a referendum. They should just do their job.”