Was it a done deal? ‘Gaming Gate’ updated

This is the title of the advisory on gambling, recently leaked to the press: “Advice on the pursuit of legalized gambling in Bermuda.”

This is the first paragraph: “This opinion provides Advice to Hon. Shawn Crockwell, Minister for Tourism and Transport on the Government’s intention to introduce legalized gambling as an activity in Bermuda at an accelerated pace and forgoing a Platform-pledged Referendum on the issue.”

This is the full report: April 2013 – Gambling Brief Consultant Strategy

For me, the key word is ‘intention’, definition:

* the thing that you plan to do or achieve : an aim or purpose

* a determination to act in a certain way

* what one intends to do or bring about

Minister Crockwell insisted Government had “no intention” of dropping the referendum at the time the advisory piece was written – April 2013.

But reading through the piece, it does seem as if Government has followed some of the advice given. It suggests:

* Thoroughly educates the Populace about Gaming, addressing legacy issues such as: location, quantity, admission policies, social support (read the series of town hall meetings?)

*  Provides a meaningful and fulsome rationale for the Policy change (Wanting to create jobs. Wasn’t the figure of 1,000 mentioned?)

* Gives opponents a voice; a chance to express their opposition (again, read the series of town hall meetings.)

* Neutralises (as much as possible) the Opposition’s ability to use the change as a cause celebre with which to rally support (remember the press conference where the Premier said he believed the PLP was going to deliberately undermine the referendum process?)

The last paragraph of the document, which is essentially a PR strategy, does give the Minister some wriggle room.

It says: “It is finally advised that the foregoing of a referendum on Gaming could have seismic ramifications and as such, the Advisor is unable to state whether it is possible to be both ‘accelerated’ on introducing Gaming while also removing a Platform pledge.

“The Government may wish to consider which is more important: introducing Gaming, or doing so without a referendum. Both efforts will require the smart usage of time; with the latter also requiring the Government to give a voice to those whom oppose, in order to thwart the Opposition.”

Whether or not it was a done deal, and that no decision had really been taken last April, the very fact that it was discussed as an alternative and that a clear PR and communications strategy had been drafted shows ‘intent-ion’.

What do you think? Take the poll.

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