Dunkley & Minister Simmons On Gaming Delays

July 9, 2018 | 28 Comments

The delays regarding gaming were discussed in the House on Friday, with Shadow Minister Michael Dunkley saying that “time has raced on and it seems as if nothing, or very little, has taken place,” and asking about a replacement Director for the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission, while Minister of Economic Development and Tourism Jamahl Simmons said the “delay occurred under their administration” and they “have been working diligently in the Attorney General’s chambers to get these regulations right.”

Michael Dunkley’s Comments

OBA MP Michael Dunkley said, “Over nine months ago I spoke on the motion to adjourn about Gaming and the mounting concern that I had at that time that it might not happen in Bermuda. Why was I concerned then and even more concerned now? Simply, if gaming is not set up properly it will not work for the betterment of Bermuda, our people and the investors.

“There are so many matters to consider; perhaps most importantly the need to have the legislation and regulations appropriate and to have a mouse trap that allows the operation of casinos which also deals with issues that arise with gaming such as problem gaming, catches corruption and fraud; all too often reality in the industry.

“I recounted how while in opposition the PLP was very critical of the approach the OBA Government took in progressing gaming in Bermuda. And in some cases rightly so Mr. Speaker, but in many cases it consisted of unfair criticism, misinformation or unwarranted personal attacks here on the floor of the House of Assembly where members have certain immunity.

“All of this in my opinion has impeded the progress towards the opening of the first casino in Bermuda. The shoe is now on the other foot and my colleagues and I have tried to be constructive on this and every other matter but after another nine months seemingly without progress I must rise again and question what is taking place.

“Yes, time has raced on and it seems as if nothing, or very little, has taken place with regards to this important issue of gaming.

“Members of the House will recall the constant criticism of the Executive Officer of the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission, a man who has years of experience in the industry.

“I said last September that in my view Bermuda was losing a man with vast experience and a person who is well respected in the industry. I suggested that this would slow progress even more and impact our reputation.

“Well Mr. Speaker now another nine months on without any announcement from the Government on a replacement and filling this critical position I would like to ask the Hon. Minister; has the Executive Officer position of the BCGC been filled or is it in the process of being filled?

“If the answer to either one of these questions is yes then a further question to the Minister; When will the Hon. Minister be in a position to announce the successful applicant? And another question in regards to this position; how many applicants were there for the position?

“If the answer is no to the original questions can the Minster inform the House what the plan is to fill the position and will it be advertised?

“One further question regarding the former executive officer of the BCGC, there was reporting that the government had taken some sort of action against the former Executive Officer, if this is the case, how much has been spent on any court action?

“No doubt the Executive Officer is a critical position and without it I would suggest the effectiveness of the BCGC would be curtailed so I look forward to an update from the Minister.

“With no Executive Officer and no announcements on progress in Gaming what has the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission been doing?

“While I am asking questions about positions at the BCGC I am aware that at the time when the Minister introduced controversial legislation to get rid of the former Chairman of the Commission there were other vacancies on the board.

“Through you Mr. Speaker more questions to the Minister: Have all the vacancies been filled? Who are the current members of the board?

“The former government moved forward with sound legislation and with the advice of the BCGC had drafted regulations. We believe we were building a solid framework for success.

“But almost a year after the PLP came into power, regulations remain outstanding and the regulations are critical to the success of gaming.

“Over three months ago the Hon Minister said in a statement to this Hon. House that regulations for casino gaming are to be introduced ‘without further delay.’

“That was three months ago. I note that another sitting has taken place today and again nothing was tabled.

“It appears that the ‘without further delay’ commitment has disappeared or the Minister has created another definition of “without further delay”!

“So another question to the Hon Minister through you Mr. Speaker; Where are the regulations and what is the reason for the continued hold up? Why has the promised commitment “without further delay” fallen by the wayside?

“Fnally one additional area of concern, a real and pressing concern from the very beginning, and one that requires the aforementioned good gaming legislation and regulations.

“This issue of a bank to support gaming operations in Bermuda; the need for every licensed casino to be able to secure a banking partner.

“It was never going to be an easy road to obtain a banking partner for a licensed Bermuda casino. We realized that from the beginning and that is why we worked so hard to dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s.

“A banking partner is even more difficult due to the strong financial oversight and compliance that is typical in doing business today but even more so in an industry such as gaming.

“So I ask the Hon Minister if he is able to update on this matter? Does the statement delivered last week by Hon. Premier regarding banking cover gaming? There was no mention of gaming in the statement.

“But I did note Mr. Speaker that the people involved with the cashless gaming system, under the company name MM&I, were in the gallery when the statement was read last week and left quickly after it was read.

“This an interesting development and two final questions to the Government; is there any arrangement, commitment or MOU with this group at this time? Does the statement include options for gaming with amendments to be tabled to the Banks and Deposit Companies Act?

“In closing we must not allow all the good work to date to go down the drain; let’s get the politicians out of the way, take advice from the professionals and get the job done.

“Our tourism industry is on the rebound thanks to a lot of hard work over the last five years by the former government and our partners; gaming can be another exciting amenity for our visitors and we must make it happen. It is time for gaming to be a reality and I look forward to the Minister addressing the questions.”

Minister of Economic Development and Tourism Jamahl Simmons Response

Following Mr Dunkley’s comments, Minister Simmons spoke, saying, “In the almost a year I’ve served in this position, I’ve learned, if nothing else, one thing, there are some people who seek access, solutions, and action, and there are others who seek the stage, to grandstand.

“We have a question period here every Friday, that the Honourable member seems to have forgotten about or perhaps was too busy being the ex-Premier to deal with.

“Well, Mr. Speaker, I understand, and I’m glad to answer the questions put forward, but some I cannot answer. I cannot speak to matters that are before the courts, or may potentially be before the courts. Pick the bones out of that.

“The introduction of regulations without delay, the Honourable member seems to forget the delay occurred under their administration, new leadership had to be appointed to free the delay.

“We have been working diligently in the Attorney General’s chambers to get these regulations right. Regulations that stalled one month before the United Bermuda Party, OBA lost power and continued to stall, and require new leadership to free the blockage.

“The former Premier continues to raise the specter of MM&I, the company that his Government had an MOU with, the company that his Government was in bed with,” the Minister said. “There is no relationship with MM&I in gaming.”

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Comments (28)

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  1. Ringmaster says:

    Positive that Jamahl Simmons mentioned the UBP. Under the UBP Bermuda had economic growth. jobs in plentiful supply and affordable housing. Since 1998 all that has changed to the worse.
    The PLP have encouraged Airbnb that has removed low cost housing from Bermudians, and now the pledge of hundreds of expats jobs resulting from Fintech will drive up the costs of housing even more. Sorry if you are Bermudian – the PLP doesn’t want you.

  2. Justin says:

    Give the PLP another year or two before they totally screw up this island. All their supporters will then be beginning for Grant Gibbons, Bob Richards and Michael Dunkley to come in and save the day just like Paula Cox when she had no idea how to get this island out of the death spiral we were in prior to the 2012 election. However, all those good OBA people might have already left (some already have) and they ain’t comin’ back.

    All the PLP know how to do is tax and spend. After being in power for nearly one year they haven’t created a single private sector job but yet our health insurance has continued to soar, they are putting in a sugar tax and increasing our social insurance. Sooner or later their supporters will wake up!!

    25-11, it’s your baby now, PLP!!! Good luck!

    • Paget says:

      Let’s remember what Paula Cox was. She was a pawn in the former PLPs chess game. The others made a mess of it and quielty backed away from the political scene as things began to fall apart. .
      She was left holding the toilet brush when the crap hit the fan. She was the only PLP minister brave enough (or foolish enough) to take the bait and it cost her dearly.
      It’s no secret to anyone within the PLP or on the outside that Ms. Cox never really led the country. Even Mr. Magoo could see that she was taking direction from others within the party. She took the bait and paid the ultimate price.

      Too bad that she couldn’t or wouldn’t stand up against those within her party that cost this country dearly.

      • Paget says:

        She is a great person that like many politicians will go against their beliefs before going against the “real party leader” .

  3. Paul says:

    Simmons ,is a yes man and will do what he is told to do and say… we need to name a brand name for flip flops after him..

  4. steve says:

    Grow up and answer the damn questions,add something intelligent to the conversation or get out of politics…

  5. Lol says:

    How quickly these oba ubp trolls forget that it was there govt that did this. But the whole blame the PLP for everything is in full effect. Ask Donkey why his party didnt fully implement this before they left? What is the OBAUBPs excuse for the delays on there part before they were lambasted out of power? Why is it they didnt have a referendum on gaming like they promised in the Obaubp campaign? Why didnt they further consult the people on their feelings towards this under the OBAUBP? (Because THE OBA WANTED GAMING NOT THE PLP. U ppl love to forget that). What was JETGATE about? Because I haven’t forgotten that was over gaming…you obaubp lot would love for everyone to forget that embarrassment but not I. You all are a joke and your mad because your lies dont work any more. Keep it up, by this rate the OBAUBP will never see the reigns of government again….and the majority of Bermuda is loving it

    • Justin says:

      Correction. Ewart Brown was the first person to bring up gaming in Bermuda and he was irritated that Bermudians were not for it. Casinos were initially a PLP idea.

      It doesn’t matter if the OBA never becomes the gov’t again. Who cares? If the PLP screw this island up any more then most OBA supporters will be living in other countries. You think Grant Gibbons, Michael Dunkley, Bob Richards, etc… don’t have any other places to go? Snap out of it!! LMAO!!!

    • SMH says:

      lol@lol

      ‘your’ a joke…lol, no, you’re a joke. A bigot. A racist. A homophobe. A moron.

  6. cpm says:

    plp have a lot of flip flops

  7. Kevin says:

    The plp are clueless when will you finally understand this simple fact. They can’t progress this or any other initiative that requires real critical thinking and planning . Instead they do what they do well criticize any opposition raise taxes and spend more. May I remind you of a million dollar overtime budget for the sanitation dept.Oh yes I forgot lets go for the pie in the sky Bit Coin plan hang on folks 3 more years of failure is in store …should be interesting to see if you bring this group of clowns in 24 – 12
    I didn’t vote for them

  8. lol says:

    PLP is all flip flops….Cant do anything but tax the people more and spend money…that is literally it. My cost of living has only increased since they took power and my tax dollars are being spent on tryining to strip human right away from a section of our community and a stupid report about an airport that multiple reports had already been done on.

    • Come Correct says:

      Yes you are correct that the PLP is full of flip flops. It’s a fact that many black Bermudians left the oba/UBP over the years.

      I will say it and say this again……….go back and investigate why so many BLACK BERMUDIANS HAVE LEFT THE UBP. You might just win the election again in 25 years.

      • Justin says:

        Would the PLP welcome Michael Dunkley and Grant Gibbons?

      • hmmm says:

        Wow you hit the nail on the head!!!!!!!!!!

      • Toodle-oo says:

        What would you say is the difference between the ones that left and the ones that stayed ?

      • Answer says:

        The ones that left and changed sides are the ones with no principles. All they are interested in is being career politicians. They have no marketable skills whatsoever.

      • tee hee hee says:

        Because they are afraid of their reputation being ruined by being in the OBA/UBP and being called names

  9. jt says:

    “Those who seek the stage to grandstand.” Oh my God. How precious is that!!??

  10. Ok says:

    The Milkman is full of crap!

    He continues to speculate on what is going on with gaming when it is his Government who dropped the ball by hiring a guy as the consultant to the Commission with a colorful past and then when he could not pass the sniff test forced him to resign so they could rush the license through.

    Now the PLP has to clean up the mess that the Milkman created.

    We all wish our sister Ms Blakney well with this spilled milk and hope she knows that having these overseas companies involved in the Ham Princess casino will make our money leave the island in a very big way unless it is used as a hotel amenity and not a free for all casino. We need to do it like they have in the Bahamas. Locals cannot gamble in the Bahamas casinos.

    If gambling is truly a hotel amenity then it should not be used to take money out of our local economy and hurt Bermudian pockets. It should be for the enjoyment of our visitors and accessible to hotel guests only.

    • Justin says:

      That’s like saying we shouldn’t consume elephant beer because we are taking money out of our economy!!! Ding dong!!!

      • Spark says:

        Well get ahead bright spark and just watch what happens to Bermuda and Bermudians if locals who are not hotel guests are allowed to gamble and then I will come back and say “I told you so”!

        I will sit back and watch Armageddon unfold! Thankfully I have a home in Costa Rica to fall back on once this island goes up in smoke! Sorry if you get let behind but you need a contingency plan if this gaming goes ahead as is. Bermuda will lose our foreign currency so fast it will make your head spin!

  11. LOL says:

    How much more racist can the plp get?
    An actual government minister claims, on record, that he is there to protect, specifically, black businesses….Is absolutely without question, racist.
    Yet, the followers are blind to it.

    This is why the world laughs at bermuda.

  12. Dunkley is NOT PRO BORN Bermudians. His words are meaningless!!

    • jt says:

      Being pro “born bermudian” doesn’t mean being against anything but.
      Do you think the actions of the plp do date are pro “born bermudian”? Give your head a shake.

  13. Stormy daniels says:

    Amazes me Mr Simmons will be in charge of gaming. And SCAREY.
    Last night he couldn’t answer a question directly or correctly without passing blame. On the news I’m talking about.
    Deflect and blame. Put on your big guy pants,

    • Justin says:

      This is the guy who didn’t even know he didn’t have the authority to fire the Gaming Commissioner!! lMFAO!!!!!

      • Spark says:

        But he got it done didn’t he! Power of the people at work! Got those guys out of the Commission and stopped plan to rush license through! Well done PLP!

        Now we need gaming to be for hotel guests only. Just like any other hotel amenity! Follow the Bahamas model or Bermuda will suffer the consequences!

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