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$250K spent on gaming consultants

Cost breakdown coming next week
Guardian Staff Reporter

Published: Oct 24, 2013

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The gaming consultants engaged by the government ahead of the gambling referendum cost taxpayers just over a quarter of a million dollars, Prime Minister Perry Christie revealed last night.

In the House of Assembly, Christie said the government engaged U.K. consultants Dixon, Wilson and Co. at a cost of £52,073 ($84,207.25).

He said the government engaged consultants from South African firm A and G Consulting, at a cost of $267,681.

However, according to Christie, local casino operators contributed $100,000 towards the South African consultant’s bill.

That means the government paid $251,888.25 to the foreign gaming consultants, when using yesterday’s exchange rate. The exchange rate on the English pound has not shifted significantly in the past year.

The announcement comes after months of repeated requests by the official opposition and the press corps for the exact cost of those gaming consultants.

“Maybe they thought it was millions being spent,” said Christie, as he wrapped up debate on a bill to amend the Airport Authority Act.

“Maybe they thought it was some extraordinary amount of money, but there isn’t.”

Ahead of Christie’s contribution, Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis called on the government to table a breakdown of costs for the gaming consultants.

Christie said Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe, who has responsibility for gaming, will provide the exact break down of the costs when debate on the Gaming Bill begins next month.

“With all of these matters it is a question of public accounting and being able to account to the public for it,” Christie said.

“And this is what we are here doing today. No matter what level of hyperbole, what level of grand statements we make on other side, the facts are the facts.”

The gambling referendum held on January cost taxpayers just over $1,238,092.

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