I’ve been reflecting on the debacle of the gaming issue. As a supporter of gaming I wanted the end result to enable casino gaming. More importantly,  I wanted Bermudians to be able to seek self-empowerment as opposed to merely being the big spenders.

What concerns me and most Bermudians is the manner in which the government did a 180-degree turn with regard to holding a referendum. 

I could respect the Premier if, in his wisdom, he came out and merely said “listen Bermuda, my colleagues and I feel we can’t afford to risk losing a referendum.”

Rather, they acted like a five-year-old, when faced with being in trouble, trying to bring down someone else to escape or diminish their responsibility. Granted, I have read a few OBA supporters cheer the move as bold and necessary for our collective success, but the deeper issue is a matter of trust.

As locals, we should feel confident that the government is taking strides that are designed for the benefit of the majority, knowing that very few decisions will attract 100 per cent support. 

International investors must also have confidence in Bermuda as a jurisdiction to do business, trusting that the Government will not make spur of the moment decisions that will affect their investments in the future.

Many of the moves of the OBA seriously raise question marks over their own integrity. Unlike the broken promise of suspending term limits or the promises yet to be delivered on, the referendum issue is one in which we are making a cultural and historic shift in our tourism and cultural product.

There are many moral, social and economic consequences to this decision. Which is why the PLP saw it necessary  to obtain the majority approval in a democratic fashion.

What is most challenging for me to accept, is the dubious tactics employed specifically by MPs Cannonier, Pettingill and Crockwell. My view is based on what my party leader said to me at length about the OBA’s various attempts to get him on board and his subsequent advice to them.

Yes, the Premier had reached out to MP Bean repeatedly earlier this year on the gaming issue. Yes, he had asked for MP Bean to support him and hold a press conference to move away from a referendum. But each time MP Bean refused. Why? Because the PLP caucus felt it was best to leave the decision to the people. 

Internally, we have those in favour and those against gaming. So we decided to let you, the people of Bermuda, to decide this important matter.

The OBA had all year to write that one line question. The Referendum Act was already in place prior to the election so there was no urgency in this U-turn of events last Friday. Did some investor offer some type of reward for the immediate turnaround? That is a legitimate question. I will leave you, the people of Bermuda, to ponder this question. Next week I will share part two of my thoughts on this saga. Until then stay blessed.

mdaniels@charterchambers.bm