FNM deputy wants details on referendum costs
Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: Oct 05, 2013
Free National Movement (FNM) Deputy Leader Loretta Butler-Turner said yesterday she was shocked to learn that the January 28 gambling referendum may have cost around $5 million and demanded a full accounting of what the money was spent on.
“I mean you are talking five times the amount that we were told it cost initially,” she said. “I think that heads need to roll for this. It is ridiculous.”
Butler-Turner said she was flabbergasted when she learned of the cost.
In January, before the vote, Prime Minister Perry Christie said the referendum would cost more than $1 million, though at the time he said he was unsure of what the exact cost would be.
On Thursday, Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage said be believed that the referendum cost around $5 million.
“I know that the referendum that was held in January cost us around $5 million, I think is the figure,” Nottage said.
Butler-Turner said she plans to ask for a breakdown on what the $5 million was spent on.
“We demand an accounting of what the $5 million was wasted on,” she said.
“Now they are talking about having another referendum that could probably cost even more money?
“They’ve been given the mandate to govern and they need to do what they have been duly elected to do. You cannot govern by having a series of referenda.
“That first non-referendum was totally unnecessary, an absolute waste of public funds and it should have been thought out right from the start to deal with the issues that were more pressing such as the ones they are now proposing for next year.”
Nottage could not say how much the constitutional referendum planned for next year will cost, or how much any future referenda will cost.
Christie announced on Wednesday that a constitutional referendum will take place before the end of June 2014 after a public education campaign.
In addition to constitutional referenda, the current government has also promised a referendum on oil drilling.