Mixed reaction to police web shop probe
Guardian Senior Reporter
Published: May 11, 2013
Bahamas Christian Council President Rev. Dr. Ranford Patterson said yesterday he is “frustrated” that officials are not enforcing the law as it relates to Bahamians gambling.
Patterson was asked to respond to an article in The Nassau Guardian which revealed that police were investigating a hack of several online accounts held by web shop Island Luck.
“I don’t know what’s going on in our country anymore,” said Patterson when asked what he thought of the police investigation.
“I have no idea. Everybody seems to be doing their own thing. Nobody seems to be doing their job.
“I am frustrated because nobody seems to care. If laws are being broken, I expect people to enforce the laws. I’m tired.”
Police said that hackers reportedly withdrew an undetermined amount of cash from several online accounts attached to the web shop operation. Police said they received a complaint from an Island Luck official on Wednesday.
According to the information received, the computer system that controls Island Luck’s online accounts was manipulated.
“We did arrest and question some employees of the web shops and some other people, but charges have not been filed,” a senior officer told The Nassau Guardian.
Chartered accountant Philip Galanis, who served as a coordinator on a pro-gambling campaign earlier this year, said police had to investigate the complaint as web shops are “legitimate businesses”.
“I don’t see any contradiction at all in them responding to a complaint in as much as they are legally established, duly licensed agencies and have the right of the full protection of the law at all times,” Galanis said.
“Until this matter is resolved in the court, I think the police are acting within their mandate to protect and serve the public and that applies to all legitimate business.”
The police investigation comes amid ongoing discussion over the fate of web shops in the country.
Island Luck is among a group of web shop operators awaiting a matter in the Court of Appeal relating to whether they could continue their operations.
A recent warning from Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade that raids could happen any day has reportedly resulted in web shops seeing a significant falloff in business.
The substantive case before the Court of Appeal is expected to begin on May 24.
Galanis said he thinks web shop bosses are being discriminated against because they are black Bahamians.
“The web operators are being castigated and denigrated because they are young, black professional men who are seeking to enter into the mainstream economic activities of this country,” he said.