Internal Ministerial Gambling Document Surfaces

February 8, 2014

An internal report from April 2013 written for the Tourism Minister about cancelling the gambling referendum has surfaced, detailing various issues, including possible steps to manage “any dissent to acceptable levels.”

The 52-page report covers the background of gambling laws in Bermuda and the possibility of cancelling the referendum, with 47-pages dedicated to looking at gaming in Singapore.

It references the need for “Government to give a voice to those who oppose in order to thwart the Opposition” as they will be “desperate” to prove their relevance after being “rejected” in the Election.

The report listed initiatives that can be undertaken before announcing a change in Policy, including holding a confidential meeting with the Opposition Leader, testing OBA members support for the position, setting up an e-petition to ascertain the public’s opinion and compiling a ‘Request for Concept’ from interested corporations.

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

Tourism & Transport Minister Shawn Crockwell confirmed that he “asked an internal advisor to prepare an opinion on the pros and cons of such an action” and a report was delivered to his attention in April, 2013.

“I felt this was a prudent course of action as we needed to have all options available to us should the need arise,” said the Minister.

“The promised referendum has now been scrapped as we were concerned that the process would be usurped by elements that sought to put politics over people’s jobs. I can categorically state that when I asked for this opinion to be prepared the Government had no intention of forgoing the referendum.”

Eight months after this report — on 13th December 2013 — Premier Craig Cannonier announced they would bypass the referendum and take the legislation to the House of Assembly, citing potential issues from the Opposition, a claim which the PLP denied.

Screenshot of the cover of the report, which is by an unnamed individual:

Fullscreen capture 02072014 85959 PM

The section in the report about bypassing the referendum said:

In order to forego the holding of a referendum, the Government will need an extremely robust strategy which assuages the following groups:

  • Bermudians who are against gambling;
  • Bermudians who require more information before they decide whether they agree; and
  • One Bermuda Alliance members/supporters who thought there would be a referendum.

In addition to successfully avoiding confrontation from the above groups, as the Opposition also campaigned on the holding of a referendum as a prerequisite to the introduction of Gaming, and the Government will be open to Opposition attacks concerning its adherence to Platform promises.

While the Government will have to endure several attacks during its term while continuing to press ahead with its Agenda, it is not advisable to hand an issue to the Opposition with which they could inspire voters to reject an ‘edict’ in favour of a ‘voice’.

Accordingly, in order to navigate the above threats to the implementation of Gaming, the Government requires a strategy that:

  • Thoroughly educates the Populace about Gaming, addressing legacy issues such as: location, quantity, admission policies, social support,
  • Provides a meaningful and fulsome rationale for the Policy change;
  • Gives opponents a voice; a chance to express their opposition; and
  • Neutralises [as much as possible] the Opposition’s ability to use the change as a cause celebre with which to rally support.

Any strategy that will accomplish the above will require the efforts of several Ministers, the organisational prowess of the One Bermuda Alliance’s election machinery, the Tourism Board and Industry, and a full-scale Public Relations endeavour.

Although this Opinion is merely a Brief and requires further examination of the Government’s plans and timeframe, there are certain initiatives that can be undertaken in advance of actually announcing a change in Policy.

Some of those initiatives are:

  • Holding a CONFIDENTIAL meeting with the Opposition Leader to ascertain his opinion on foregoing the referendum;
  • Testing the One Bermuda Alliance’s members support for the Government’s Position;
  • Placing the ‘Important Considerations’ contained in the then Government’s 2010 Green Paper on Gaming in the Public Domain for discussion, debate, and resolution;
  • Setting up an e-Petition on a Government website to ascertain the Public’s opinion on the need to hold a referendum on Gaming;
  • Compiling a ‘Request for Concept’ from interested corporations to determine what are the available models: e.g. stand-alone casino, contained in hotel(s), roadside, etc.

Another section from the report about bypassing the referendum:

There should be no underestimation of the significance of this decision, particularly as the Opposition will be desperate to prove its relevance and will be seeking ways to prove that it is in touch with a public that resolutely rejected them at the last General Election; it is then likely to employ its pledge to hold a referendum as a tool to attack the Government.

It is therefore vital that thorough planning and broad consultative efforts be undertaken with a view to securing the widest possible support for the change while simultaneously – as much as possible – managing any dissent to acceptable levels.

It is finally advised that the foregoing of a referendum on Gaming could have seismic ramifications and as such, the Adviser 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 who oppose, in order to thwart the Opposition.

Minister Crockwell’s full comments follow below:

Early in 2013, the Opposition Leader publicly stated that the Government should consider forgoing a referendum. There were Ministers and Members of Parliament on both sides who also supported implementing gaming through Parliament rather than through a referendum.

As the Minister responsible, I asked an internal advisor to prepare an opinion on the pros and cons of such an action and a report was delivered to my attention in April, 2013. The Government, however, was committed to holding a referendum and we forged ahead on this path.

The promised referendum has now been scrapped as we were concerned that the process would be usurped by elements that sought to put politics over people’s jobs. I can categorically state that when I asked for this opinion to be prepared the Government had no intention of forgoing the referendum.

I felt this was a prudent course of action as we needed to have all options available to us should the need arise. Our focus continues to be growing the economy, rebuilding tourism and ensuring a conducive environment for job creation for Bermudians.

We invite everyone who has ideas, questions and concerns to attend the town hall meetings planned and to visit the website and where they can give their comments.

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Comments (62)

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  1. wondering says:

    so what does this translate to?

    • Jus' Askin' says:

      Translation – OBA is learning at our expense ;-)

    • CBA says:

      Translation: the OBA considers all options before making decisions. However, the PLP will take this and run with it like they did the “secret surrogate report”. It didn’t work then and won’t work now. Most people are aware that governments get opinions from consultants.

    • No Effin Way! says:

      Translates to the OBA telling lies from the very start.

      They had always planned on bypassing the referendum… ALWAYS! Now there is proof.

      Is Cannonier back on island yet? He needs to speak up!

  2. wondering says:

    does this have a conspiracy theory ring to it?

    • Hmmm says:

      Translates to looking at various options. I would hope any government would be doing that. You don’t take an action that hasn’t been evaluated. I bet someone produced this report. Can’t blame OBA or PLP for something they didn’t write.

      • js says:

        you can blame them if they follow the advice to the letter and that advice is duplicitous and deceptive

      • Sing A POOR says:

        Why ‘SING A POOR’?
        Why not various countries that have gambling and doing well.

        If the OBA stop this they might want to look into BINGO as well being held for and by all of the CHRUCHE BUSINESSES!
        What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

        Bring on the Town Meetings!

  3. Impressive says:

    Blimey…

  4. wondering says:

    “we had to deceive you” rings a bell

    or as per Minister Dunkley – political parties change (not lie)

  5. Chris Famous says:

    Wow just when people thought the OBA could get no lower.

    Kinda proves they had their strategy of how to trick Bermudians laid out for the entire year.

    • Hmmm says:

      “Early in 2013, the Opposition Leader publicly stated that the Government should consider forgoing a referendum. There were Ministers and Members of Parliament on both sides who also supported implementing gaming through Parliament rather than through a referendum.

      As the Minster responsible, I asked an internal advisor to prepare an opinion on the pros and cons of such an action and a report was delivered to my attention in April, 2013. The Government, however, was committed to holding a referendum and we forged ahead on this path.

      The promised referendum has now been scrapped as we were concerned that the process would be usurped by elements that sought to put politics over people’s jobs. I can categorically state that when I asked for this opinion to be prepared the Government had no intention of forgoing the referendum.

      I felt this was a prudent course of action as we needed to have all options available to us should the need arise. Our focus continues to be growing the economy, rebuilding tourism and ensuring a conducive environment for job creation for Bermudians.

      We invite everyone who has ideas, questions and concerns to attend the town hall meetings planned and to visit the website and where they can give their comments.”

      • mixitup says:

        First they (the opposition) forced them to scrap the referendum because of fear of sabatoge now this?! It gets funnier and funnier!!

    • Frederick Douglass says:

      Mr Famous, are you serious?

      I read your racist bile when I’m bored, or anti-Bermudian crap like buy houses in Trinidad because we all came from there (not me mate).

      But above all of that is the suggestion that the OBA could go any lower, when the PLP plumbed the depths of incompetence, corruption and divisiveness. It was low in a different league.

      You aren’t a fool, so why don’t you see that? Because if they put a donkey with a green rosette up for election, you would vote for it. That’s why.

    • Balanced Facts says:

      I realize you bleed green but do you have an objective bone in your body Famous? Your contribution on the St, Georges Town hall was about no refreshments after you couldn’t play puppet master with the PLP questions and get anywhere with Crockwell and the A-G!

  6. omg says:

    I can’t

  7. Jim bob says:

    Typical OBA. All they do is lie about things. I wonder what other internal/confidential reports they have. We all know from the other report that the black people in their party are being used as decoys.

    • Frederick Douglass says:

      I believe they have one that says Jim Bob doesn’t know what he is talking about.

  8. Nuffin but da Truth says:

    not so clever FAKE by the not so clever plp.

    • Huh? says:

      Didn’t the Minister acknowledge he received the report?

  9. RawOnion says:

    I am not surprised buy this document. These types of ‘strategic plans’ are always used by govts and political parties to map our their strategy. The UBP used them as did the PLP, BDA and now the OBA. The only time an issue is when a paper document, a recorded phone call or video comes to surface.

    These are documents that political parties (and companies) use to plan their intent for all scenarios. That’s called a business plan. Therefore, I am not surprised at this document. I may not favour these ‘plans’ but I would hate for any political party (or business) to try to navigate without one.

    I’ll sit back and watch how this one pans out.

    • mixitup says:

      I don’t mind them having strategic plans. But a plan that maps out how to pull the wool over YOUR eyes? I say your because I wasn’t fooled by these buffoons! What a sad excuse.

      • RawOnion says:

        The wool has been pulled over OUR eyes for years. Only the smart ones can see through it and the even smarter ones can understand why it’s done.

        I’m not fooled by anyone, I understand why it’s done.

  10. Ruthless says:

    I for one am glad they scrapped the stupid referendum! If the casinos don’t work just close the doors! It’s a hotel not a frigging purpose built facility………and it’s not my money or yours! What the hell is the problem! At least we will have some jobs for a few years! Better than no jobs at all! People say Bermuda is to small! We’ll so is Monte Carlo! Which the main area is no bigger than one of our parishes! Next OBA or PLP I don’t care! Do the damn waterfront!

  11. js says:

    somebody really wants to push the island over the edge

  12. mixitup says:

    Another from their “Dummies Guide to Hoodwinking the electorate” Where is that legislation for recalling they were talking about?!

  13. Sandy Bottom says:

    So this proves they were considering all options, including the ones suggested by the PLP opposition.

    BFD.

    • Family Man says:

      Considering all options or just finding a way to ram through the option they hope to be paid for?

      I don’t know about you, but I voted for a change in 2012 and I feel like I’ve been taken for a ride. The next election I’m voting for Alfred E. Neuman.

  14. Unbelievebale says:

    There is nothing damaging about this. It’s a strategy report that was written for the Minister. It’s nothing new to how any government works. Whoever “leaked” this is clearly looking to cause trouble.

    They are just vexed that gaming is going to happen and not under their terms. They only had 14 years to do it. And you know what? It was a 2012 PLP election promise too. If they hadn’t done anything with it in 14 years, what makes anyone think they were going to do anything with it if they were voted back in?

    Nice try PLP but it didn’t work. Again.

  15. Get it done says:

    For those saying it is not damaging something is wrong with your logic. This is right up there with the PLP’s “We had to deceive you” and the OBA’s quick U-turn on the abolition of term limits.

    I’m non-partisan, but the OBA must realise that a vast majority of the civil servants are PLP supporters. Therefore if you’re looking to have your diabolical plans emailed to you, stop using your government email address and start using gmail.

    • Unbelievebale says:

      One thing for sure is that there are a lot of PLP supporting civil servants.

      I believe in what they are doing. They have to and they have no choice but they are sloppy at how they go about governing.

      • Concerned Citizen says:

        Who was the six figure consultant/advisor for Min. crockwell at the time? Certainly not any person from the PLP. Crockwell needs to resign. Even in his response, which is in line with the advice in the report, the Minister continues to lie to we, the voters. Crockwell needs to tender his resignation to MInister Dunkely, and set an example for Craig Cannonair and Mark Pettingill. The three of them need to go.

  16. Bullseye says:

    So preparing for real eventualities is “scheming”? From the responses in this thread people seem to want a govt that simply flies by the seat of it’s pants.

    None of the things discussed in this report are imagined, they are real circumstances involving Bermuda and Bermudians. They know not everyone agrees with the moves and they are trying to get as many as possible come on board with the decisions made as they believe the impact is a positive one for Bermuda. What is wrong with discussing reality?

    • js says:

      if the government were flying by the seat of its pants it would have been a better look as people tend to forgive a honest mistake but not a dishonest move

      can anyone in good faith really say they trust Minister Crockwell with that track record

      • Sandy Bottom says:

        Well we know the PLP way of “planning”.
        1. Borrow an extra $60m.
        2. Build some ugly condos on prime real estate.
        3. Announce that dozens have been sold, and 102 people are interested in buying them.
        4. Blame the OBA.

        • mixitup says:

          Thank you Sandy ‘Deflection’ Bottom – now back to the topic at hand.

          • Sandy Bottom says:

            It’s completely relevant. This story just says the government were considering all options, including suggestions made by the opposition.

            The PLP didn’t do things like that. They acted without planning properly. But when anyone points it out, that’s “deflection”. Of course.

    • We the People!! (1st) says:

      You don’t need a ‘strategic plan’ looking for ways to get out of a promise you intended to keep. Promising something while at the same time secretly preparing the many ‘options’ to renege on that promise, is scheming. The essence of scheming — you conceal your true intentions because you believe it will help you get what you want.

      With that said, it has been over a year since the OBA became government. Over two years that they have been talking about gaming, and as of this moment, we still do not officially having gaming. All this time, 1 year, 1 month, and 22 days, since the last election this government has had more than enough time to educate the public on gaming, keep to their promise and hold a referendum, or at least get it passed in the house.

      I support gaming, but the handling of this has been abysmal to say the least.

  17. norf says:

    Stupid OBA. Pro-PLP Civil Service. Not surprised this has surfaced. Glad to see OBA has undertaken this sort of analysis. I still think that that there is no need for referendum. OBA – get on with it. PLP always talks about what they “might do” but does nothing except line their own pockets, huge PLP debt & deficits, bloated Civil Service, non-payment of BIU bond, overspending at Berkeley & new court Building, racist dog, the magic bullet, fake cheques, Uigurs, we had to deceive you, friends & family plan, Beyoncé, Bollywood movies, cedar beams, Grand Atlantic, Housing Corporation, huge salary increases for Cabinet Ministers, oversized Toyota’s for PLP Ministers, massive expense accounts, declining economy, hotels foreclosing, International Business leaving because of term limits and massive payroll tax increases

    • Get it done says:

      I’m non-partisan but the OBA/UBP don’t have the best track record either. And for those saying they’re not the same party a wise man once said,

      “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it ain’t a damn mongoose.”

      • Joe says:

        “OBA/UBP” – non-partisan? Spoken like a fool drunk on kool aid.

  18. more than enough says:

    its the way that they are going about it that is wrong.
    it is obvious that the singapore model was chosen a long time ago…
    along with the scrapping of the referendum, how very transparent.
    this is politricks at it’s very best.
    and that leaves a lot to be desired…

    • Balanced Facts says:

      Paradise Games! Now, there’s deceit at its very best!

  19. Mike Hind says:

    “Yay! Here’s another molehill!”

  20. Suspect this was leaked by pro-PLP Civil Servant. Looks like OBA have a plan. I say get on with it. We need economic growth ASAP. Time is ticking away – massive debt the PLP created is growing everyday.

    • Impressive says:

      So your main issue is with who leaved it?? For what its worth, its good to know that the OBA have a plan, they are the Government after all, I should think they have some form of foresight. However plan or not, the problem is not the plan, or the issue of who “leaked” the document, the issue is that the current Government (OBA) in their short 13-14 months in office have built up a reputation of handling their business in a deceptive manner, and that should be a concern to all Bermudians..

  21. Bullseye says:

    I appreciate the insight and seeing what they have to go through to try and move something forward.

    • Concerned Citizen says:

      Yup, it’s tough to do good things when the entire basis of your existence is lies, deceit, and fraud. A farmer cannot plant corn, and expect to reap peas. I’m sure that 95 percent of the OBA do not trust Shawn Crockwell, Mark Pettingill, and the photo-op/frequent flier Craig Cannonaire.

  22. James Rego says:

    Thank you OBA for at lease examining and getting on with the gaming bill. There are hundreds of citizens out of work who need this to happen ASAP.

    • I concur James…but I wonder whether or not the P.L.P. / U.B.P. will seek ways of protesting? i.e. use Union members to boycott wherever and whenever and whatever :-(

  23. So what – this is a business plan on the options – so what.

    I guess if we had the Gaming in place now we could have put the bar porters to work instead of a Grand March to show “our Solidarity” – oops I better be quiet before I get removed from my jobbbb.

  24. Balanced Facts says:

    This is OBA exploring options and looking at all angles and possibilities about how to do the best thing to benefit Bermuda, simple as that! PLP should focus on the deceit over 14 years and the millions poured into capital projects by the Government…some people did VERY well! How about a focus on where the money went, who was involved in companies like LLC Bermuda involved in the Dame Louis Building! This stuff is still out there! SO WHAT about a report exploring options! PLP just want to detract from the investigations they know are going on…keep spinning…the chickens are coming home to roost!!!

    • Concerned Citizen says:

      Yeah, and your AG needs to explain why the DPP is still here. Untenable? Huh?

      • Balanced Facts says:

        Um…why would the A-G need to explain that? He has no say on the DPP…red the Constitution, only the Governor appoints the DPP!

        • Concerned Citizen says:

          So why did he comment on the Moniz case, and why did he go with Cannonair to London to complain to the uk govt? Balanced facts/Oba insider defender, go lay down. It is what it is. The OBA is dishonest and a fraud. The people see you for what you are. You sold us a false bill of goods. And, you cannot change your ways, even if you tried. I can’t see the Oba lasting a full term with Craig, Shawn, and Mark in the mix. On the Oba/ubp balance sheet, those 3 are liabilities.

  25. Looking in says:

    The PLP,bamboozling their followers into poverty!

  26. Ess Ess Dee says:

    When you build a house on sandy ground, this is what happens! Shawn has officially taught the course on how to get caught with ya pants down 101 ! Should have remembered from his last experience ….that deception just doesn’t work in the long term! What a foolish person!

  27. Gotham says:

    Nice pair in the headline photo: can count as two and draw card(s), can count as twelve and likely draw one with risk of hitting twenty-two especially if the count (strictly verboten…) is double digit minus; but my play would be to split and double aiming for a double black jack doubled. Chicken Dinner! Bermuda get ready for changes you never even dreamed of.

  28. bluebird says:

    It would appear that many have the opion that a Government was elected to run the country but not without there in-put.

  29. bluebird says:

    GAMBLING IS GOING TO SAVE US,why have we been deprived from all that money that belongs to us.
    Interesting that the Government of the “BAHAMAS” just closed a beautifull “CASINO” that they had kept open for three years hoping some would “BUY IT” at a cost to Government/Taxpayers dollars of $17MILLION.