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Is the government conceding victory to the numbers men?

Published: Oct 28, 2013

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Dear Editor,

State Minister for National Security Senator Keith Bell sounded like a pessimist when he told a radio talk show host that the web shop industry is here to stay, despite the best efforts of the Royal Bahamas Police Force to shut it down.

The excuse seems to be that because so many Bahamians are gambling the government is impotent in the face of the numbers men and their illicit racket.  I believe Bell was toying with his audience.  The Progressive Liberal Party administration of Prime Minister Perry Christie can shut down the numbers industry if it wants to because it has at its disposal a well-oiled law-enforcement machine staffed by thousands of capable men and women who have a sworn duty to ensure that Bahamian citizens, including the gambling moguls, uphold the laws of this country.

To argue otherwise would be tantamount to conceding victory to a small group of wealthy men who control the web shop industry.  Such a notion is utterly reprehensible.  I cannot understand why a small group of men has so much clout in this country.  If the government lacks the courage to honor the results of the January 28 opinion poll, then its honorable members of the House of Assembly should all stand down and allow others to do what they were mandated by the Bahamian people to do.  But I honestly believe that the status quo with the numbers industry has been allowed to persist because the prime minister never really intended to shut it down in the first place.  This is probably why he appeared to be peeved at the results of the referendum.  This matter, much to the relief of Christie, is now before a constipated judicial system and will probably drag on for years; maybe even until 2017.  This might be what the government is counting on.

Bell indicated to the aforementioned radio talk show host that his government is following through on the decision of the Bahamian people.  I don't think the government has any other choice.  If Christie fails to follow through on his promise to abide by the results of the January 28 opinion poll, his administration will not like the results of a far more important opinion poll in 2017.  And I can guarantee you that the results of that poll will not get clogged up in our judicial system.

— Kevin Evans

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