MPs To Debate Cannabis, Conscription, Casinos

May 9, 2014

The House of Assembly is going back in today [May 9] and the Premier said that the House will discuss cannabis decriminalization, move on eliminating conscription and bring forward legislation to create the statutory framework to legalize casino-style gaming.

Premier Craig Cannonier said, “The House of Assembly will come together for what has the potential to be the most transformational Parliamentary sessions in years.

“The One Bermuda Alliance Government will ask the House to address long-standing unresolved issues to meet the needs of our people and our economy.

“We will move forward with the question of cannabis reform, tabling for debate the report by Cannabis Reform Collaborative. The report was commissioned by National Security Minister Michael Dunkley and follows our Throne Speech commitment to start a national debate on a subject that needs to be addressed.

“I am particularly keen to hear the views of MPs on the medical use of marijuana and also on decriminalization – a tough issue because we have to draw the clearest line between responsible behaviour and the negative impact the existing regime has had on the lives of so many Bermudians.

“We will also move on our promise to eliminate conscription. This is obviously a big issue with many pros and cons. I am confident it can be managed in a phased approach that enables us to shape a volunteer Regiment that serves the needs of Bermuda in all circumstances.

“We will bring forward legislation to create the statutory framework to legalize casino-style gaming. This will be followed by the introduction of a comprehensive body of regulations that range from social safeguards to anti-money laundering measures. I am particularly encouraged by the safeguards to protect our people.

“Gaming is all about jobs for Bermudians, reviving tourism and generating revenue to help pay down our national debt. The move last year to allow gaming aboard cruise ships in port is already paying dividends, with licensing fees generating more than $600,000 in direct revenue to the Government.

“Our main focus this session is to use gaming to drive hotel development, specifically at the St. George’s hotel site. Since releasing the RFP for the project we’ve had excellent responses from developers. I am advised that the selection has now been shortlisted to two excellent proposals. So the stage is being set at long last to bring a new hotel to Bermuda, generating jobs and career opportunities for Bermudians. This Parliamentary session is a vital step toward making all that happen.

“Also this session, the Finance Minister will put forward the Public Bodies Reform Act to set up the legal framework for moving some government operations out of government, and doing so through processes such as mutualization and outsourcing in order to retain jobs.

“Why are we doing this? Because Bermuda today cannot sustain the cost of public debt and government. When we took office in December 2012, we inherited a government that in the year that followed cost $330 million more than it took in.

“The SAGE Report was very clear on the challenge: The debt and deficit situation constituted a threat to the financial foundation of the country and Bermuda’s ability to compete globally.

“The goal here is to provide Bermudians with a government that is cost-effective, efficient and accountable; that becomes a positive force in restoring the Island’s competitiveness – a government in short that works better for people and for Bermuda.

“There are many other initiatives that we will move forward with in the weeks to come. We want to bring about change that reflects Bermuda today, not Bermuda yesterday; change that creates jobs and opportunity while enabling us to build a future that is fair, free, inclusive and safe,” added the Premier.

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  1. CBA says:

    I’ve been back and forth on political parties, but if the OBA actually does outlaw conscription, I will vote for them in the next election.

    I’ve been shocked most of my adult life that we still have conscription in the year 2014. The PLP began to lose me when they fought to keep it by fighting in Bermuda’s courts and then the UK courts. The PLP totally lost me when they brought that laughable bill as an opposition party a few months ago to make it look like they were the ones outlawing it. The PLP must really think Bermudians are stupid or something!

    I hope the OBA will go through with this! The youth of this country, and in particular the younge men, will appreciate it!

    • Abc says:

      WOW. If that is the only thing you are worried about, I would love to have your life.

      • The Fact says:

        Conscription is already being fazed out. It can’t just happen over night. The regiment has a mandate to increase volunteer service over the next 3 years to a number that meets the Defense Act requirements hence the budget increase to increase incentives for volunteers. If not enough volunteers are made and we just get rid of it over night, you will see an influx of UK soldiers in order to meet this requirement and it will be at the tax payers expense.

        In short, its being done but not in the timeframe everyone wants but its coming.

      • Onion says:

        You mean that many young men have to chose to stay out of Bermuda or end up forced up to Warwick Camp to waste their time?

        The only reason I came back to Bermuda after school was that I was declared unfit for duty. Many of my friends weren’t so they stayed out of Bermuda.

        • Peter says:

          I have said this many times,if all of you are so negative about Bermuda, as David Lopes correctly says, go back home to your countries.There are flights that leave every day.

          He will drive you to the airport , if you wish.

    • Rayki Emery says:

      I hope when they debate conscription that they take into consideration the amount of man power it takes to run a regiment.

      Hopefully the find a common ground between still having a regiment/community service unit and freeing young men from forced labour.

  2. Coffee says:

    Premier Craig Cannonier said, “The House of Assembly will come together for what has the potential to be the most transformational Parliamentary sessions in years.

    And he ain’t lying !

    Micheal Dunkeley could tell a porker . He flatly denied commissioning any cannabis reform on a popular talk show after Mr.Hill resigned . Oh well I guess by lying to the electorate is the only way to function by the OBA/UBP after 14yrs of being in the political wilderness .

    Like I say. John Barritt is crying and Ewart Brown is laughing .

    • jt says:

      ….all the way to the bank.

    • Mike Hind says:

      And the lying to the electorate your party did? Don’t remember “Coffee” speaking out against that back then…

      Oh, sorry… I forgot. As always, the message is: It’s ok when we do it.

      • LOL (Original TM*) says:

        Relax she is just sour………and burn you know what that smells like?


      • Coffee says:

        My Party ! I have no affiliation to any party . I’m just not partial to the idea of political surrogates .

        • Mike Hind says:

          Nonsense. Complete nonsense. You know this isn’t true at all.

          Do better, “Coffee”.

          Try honesty.

  3. Our predicament / realities were well presented by you Premier Craig Cannonier. I and I’m sure many others take this opportunity to thank you for taking the “bull by the horns”…
    Our fellow Bermudians must realize that the Island can’t be put back on even keel as quickly as some think :-( Even God almighty with all the “Powers” could create the world / universe in one day; it had taken time! So please u’lot, easy the One Bermuda Alliance up and, “give peace a chance”

    • Typo: “God almighty with all the “Power” couldn’t create the World / universe in one day”

  4. Rayki Emery says:

    All I’m getting from this is

    “Let’s do some things they may appriciate. A few things they want, and then we can get back to making ourselves richer than we already are”-Unlce Craigers

  5. lucky 7 says:

    C’mon OBA, let’s get things done! :)

  6. Navin Johnson says:

    Unlikely the PLP will object to cannabis,gaming and conscription ……

  7. watchfuleyes says:

    Of all the items up for debate, we can see from the responses, that the one that impacts peoples’ lives directly and more negatively is still conscription. PLP and OBA just do the right thing for once and for all.