Mitchell says Island Luck CEO, others stifled economically
Guardian Senior Reporter
Published: May 02, 2013
Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell yesterday lamented the plight of people like web shop boss Sebas Bastian, CEO of Island Luck, whom he suggested is being stifled economically in his own country.
“You have a young entrepreneur like Sebas Bastian and they have huge amounts of capital in their own country, and their own country will not allow them a legitimate opportunity to invest their monies to grow their wealth,” he said.
“And this [is] a new generation of Bahamians. We have to fix that, Mr. Speaker.”
He also questioned why successful Bahamians like Robert Sands of Baha Mar and another veteran hotelier, Russell Miller, were not in charge at hotels in The Bahamas.
Mitchell also lashed out at critics of the government’s draft Gaming Bill.
He questioned why detractors were so upset over the proposed legislation that has not yet been considered by the government.
The bill in its current form would allow work permit holders and permanent residents to gamble in casinos in The Bahamas.
Bahamians would be the only group of people prohibited from gambling.
This element has caused an outcry in some quarters.
The bill would also allow people outside The Bahamas to gamble on a website established, maintained and operated by the holder of a local gaming license.
But they must be in a country or jurisdiction that permits online gaming.
It would also allow mobile and online gaming at the properties of license holders.
Work permit policy
Mitchell also dismissed concerns from the business community that the government’s work permit policy will deter foreign investment.
Mitchell made the statement while contributing to debate on a bill that will make January 10 a public holiday to commemorate majority rule.
He said local businessmen were “rowing in the press, saying investors are going to be scared coming to The Bahamas”.
Mitchell said this is not true.
“First of all, how is that going to help your business to spread the kind of false message that The Bahamas is not a place to do business?” he asked.
However, on Tuesday Minister of State for Investments Khaalis Rolle conceded that the policy will “certainly” scare away foreign investors.
But he said he believed that Bahamians should get first pick of available jobs, considering high unemployment.
Rolle said foreign workers are needed in areas where Bahamians cannot meet the labor demand.