Gambling referendum pushed back to 2011

| 31/10/2010

(CNS): Despite his commitment to hold a referendum in November on the contentious subject of legalised gambling in the Cayman Islands the premier has said that the people’s vote will now not take place until next year. In June, the premier said that he wanted to settle the matter once and for all and was planning to have an official public ballot in November. The introduction of legalized gambling had been one of a number of potential new revenue sources put forward to government by the national investment council. Talk-show host and former politician, Gilbert McLean had also submitted a petition to government with some five hundred signatures.

Although this was not enough to trigger a people initiated referendum, the premier had said in order to get the opinion of the voting public and final settle what has been a long and contentious debate the premier said he would hold the ballot. However, he told Cayman 27 on Friday that the necessary legislation for a referendum had not yet been passed and therefore he thought thevote would probably take place some time early next year.

There are two methods by which a referendum can be instigated according to the Cayman Islands constitution the first is when members of the legislative assembly vote for a ballot and pass the necessary legislation for that vote the second is for a referendum initiated by the people. Anyone who gains the signatures of 25% of the electorate can force the legislature to hold a public vote.

However, as yet the government has not enacted the necessary legislation as required in the constitution to provide this democratic right to the people not just for on the subject of gambling to provide a way for any voter to press an issue they believe has the people’s support.

In this instance McLean did not gain the necessary signatures required to trigger the people initiated referendum but the premier had offered his support for the idea of a public vote given the possibility that either a national lottery or the introduction of casinos for tourist could bring in much needed revenue for government coffers.

However, although there was considerable support from the private sector for the idea the Cayman Ministers Association was still firmly against it. In the wake of the premier’s announcement that there would be a referendum the church representatives submitted a petition to government with over 1200 signatures against gambling.

The PPM has said publicly that it has always opposed and continues to oppose any form of legalised gambling. The only current serving member that has offered his public support for a national lottery is the independent member for North Side, Ezzard Miller.


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  1. Anonymous says:

    The date of June is not a Coincidence. The budget is due around then and he knows that we are going to badly miss our previous goals.  The money we borrowed will be spent and we’ll have too face the music.

    This person got it dead right:

    "we need casinos, longer opening hours, a dock for cruise ships to stay over night, a proper yacht club, more hotels, less church involvement in government, less government involvement in private business, less civil service emloyees, more accountability from government in business ventures like the turtle farm, cayman airways etc….but nobody has the ball’s to get any of it done……so sad!!!!"

  2. Say it Aint So! says:

    Yes to a Lottery – Free College Education to anyone who gets a B+ or greater.

    Yes to a Casino – fund road programs and social services programs


  3. Anonymous says:

    A simple yes/no question on the census form would have done the trick.

    Don’t call it a referendum, but more like a informative poll.

    The decision has already been made about who and when the first casino will open.

  4. Anonymous says:

    cayman is taking too long for a lottery jamaica cash pot starts tomorrow 1st novrmber at 10.30am with another draw added on to the already 3 draws per day 6 days a week.4 times a day now,more money going out to jamaica.

    • Anonymous says:

       Yes, let us be just like Jamaica.  Now that is something we can all support.  Cash pot, gun shot, social rot- BLOOD CLOT….wait, we are already just like Jamaica…JLP (UDP) PNP (PPM).

  5. Anonymous says:

    Gambling will only add to the further breakdown of the society. What I find disturbing is that those who favor gambling somehow believe that losing money will be limited to tourists or foreigners only.

    Gambling is for suckers who want to lose.

    • Dred says:

      Mental Midgets…

      – People gamble here everyday from:

                  – Numbers – Jamaincan, Honduras, etc

                  – Dominoes – Games are all over the Island

                  – Raffles – Even churches do this not to mention non profits

                  – Card games such as Texas Holdem – Private homes and back rooms

                  – Pool – How many games of pool go down now without some incentive been put on the line?

                 – Darts – I have seen a few darts games been played for prizes at the end. Do you know that is gambling also?

      The only proposed change would be Casinos and this would probably be drafted that locals can not participate.

      I would not term myself a gambler as I have never bought numbers but I have bought a raffle here or there and I do play card games for fake money on my phone. I probably would not play it locally either but I do not see anything wrong with it because we live in that situation already.

      If you are so daft to think we are not a gambling society then that is on you. Millions upon millios of dollars leave this country month and it’s time that our government got a piece of it.

      I really have grown tired of you fear mongers trying to spread your special brand of poison. Fact is you simply should get out more and stop watching TV programs. Hell according to them we hold all the dirty money in the world here.

      You simply need a life!!

    • Safety First says:

      To be certain the casino must be off-limits to locals, with only tourists and expats allowed in.  This draws the money from the foreign sources (expats counting since their money would otherwise follow them home), and puts the money into the local operation and part to the government to help pay for the bloated civil service (if you can call how they treat folks "service").

      Locals should not be allowed in since they are the very people who need the money, and they should not be allowed to lose it on gaming entertainment (and everyone loses – it’s built that way).

      Just remember that they will need armed guards at the doors, foreigners who are not afraid to use their weapons, to keep out the local robbers the Cayman has spawned as of late.

    • Pending says:

      Don’t gamble then.

      And it will should be limited to the tourists, have you ever been to Atlantis in Bahamas? Probably not.

      And lastly, Cayman is broken, evidently you have been asleep for the last 12 months.

  6. Jab Jab says:

    Here’s hoping the Premier will let this one die a quiet death. There’s no advantage to the country from legalising gambling (though there is to the business interests who will make a profit off of it) that’s not outweighed by the associated costs. Only five hundred signatures on a petition proves that most people realise that instinctively. Best thing for this is to just forget it and focus on other problems with positive solutions.

  7. Anonymous says:

    more delays and incompetence from a gov that has achieved nothing in 18 months….

    • Bushwhacker says:

      I would like to bet that the Government accounts will not be out before the referendum but that would be gambling.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is just one more example of where the premier has said one thing & then has had to do a complete U-turn & back track. How many times has this happened in the last year & half? It must be close to 500 times. The premier has become the new king of flip-floppers, easily bypassing the once king of all king flip-floppers John Kerry in the US! The new king of all king flip-floppers is without doubt premier Bush. My guess is that there will never be a referendum on gambling here in Cayman, despite the premiers wishes.

      • han solo says:

        well said… where is the media reporting of their collective failures over the last 18 months?…. it would make a great article to list all of their backtracks, u-turns, flip-flops, missed deadlines…etc

        people need to be shown how incompetent these politicians are!

  8. Anonymous says:

    we need casinos, longer opening hours, a dock for cruise ships to stay over night, a proper yacht club, more hotels, less church involvement in government, less government involvement in private business, less civil service emloyees, more accountability from government in business ventures like the turtle farm, cayman airways etc….but nobody has the ball’s to get any of it done……so sad!!!!

    • Diss Grace says:

      Silence thee Satan.  We cannot trust people to exercise free will.  We must impose goodness. 

    • Dred says:

      You forgot Sunday trading for food service and other goods exclusive of alcohol but yeah correct all around.