It was never going to go away quietly and now, it seems, it is going to be on the public agenda for some considerable time.
A pressure group is launching a petition to try and persuade Government to reverse its position on its reversal of its position to hold a referendum on gaming in Bermuda. (Something like that anyway…. but you get the drift… it was some merry-go-round…)
The group is said to be a non-partisan group that has not taken a stance on gambling, just on whether a referendum should be held.
If you remember there was a lot of criticism over the referendum question initially and then Government decided to reverse its election pledge over holding a referendum at all. It claimed there was a PLP plot to undermine the process.
And, of course, it was not the Government’s first reversal. Remember how a petition of around 5,000 names helped to persuade it not to the shut the Lamb Foggo Centre, in St David’s?
Can another petition force a repeat? Frankly, I don’t think so – to have a U-turn on a U-turn should be unthinkable politically. It would mean all credibility would be dead and buried, Government would be a laughing stock, and rightly so.
But it does present Government with a conundrum because this petition could easily be viewed as an alternative referendum. So what if it gains traction and a very significant number of people sign up?
What if it gets 10,000 names supporting it? What if it starts to make even more local headlines? What if the group behind it make a bit of a nuisance of themselves and take to the talk shows, utilizes social media to spread their message and leverage the people they know in order to support the petition? What if the PLP motivates its voting base to sign it?
Of course, there is the reverse. What if the petition only gets a few hundred signatures?
Somehow, I doubt it will. I feel there was a lot of dissatisfaction at the way Government handled the decision not to go ahead with the referendum and the PLP came out of it looking like they were the good guys.
I think, unintentionally or not, this petition has a chance of putting the Government in a corner, of causing it a lot of embarrassment and a lot of bad headlines.
There are going to be many more spins of the wheel – gaming gate, as I like to call, it is going to be around for a while still.