Terry Lister On Govt’s Decision On Referendum

December 18, 2013

The Government’s decision to bypass the referendum on gambling “can give rise to a belief across the country that the Government cannot be trusted,” Independent MP Terry Lister said.

On Friday [Dec 13] Premier Craig Cannonier announced that instead of holding a referendum on gambling, the matter will be decided by a vote in Parliament.

The Government had previously pledged to hold a referendum on the issue, but announced a change in policy citing issues with the Opposition, a claim which the PLP has denied.

Mr Lister said, “On Friday I was surprised when the announcement was made by the Premier that the Referendum has been cancelled. Both political parties had committed to a Referendum for two years. There had been no indication that the Referendum would not happen.

“When the time to debate the Referendum Bill came up on the Order Paper, the Premier rose and said he would carry the Bill over. I was surprised but no indication was given that there was anything untoward afoot.

“Additionally, there were entities, such as the Chamber of Commerce, that were publicly asking Government to bypass the Referendum and to take the matter to Parliament. In response, the Premier had forcefully stated less than two weeks ago that there will be a Referendum.

“As I have become more aware of the behind the scenes goings on, I have moved from being surprised to being very angry. I am angry that the people of Bermuda have been robbed of speaking for themselves on this most important issue under the guise of a threat that few saw, understood, could measure and feared.

“The people of Bermuda have every right to feel disrespected by this turn of events. There was an expectation that they would make this decision. I believe this decision will change Bermuda forever- some believe for the better some believe for the worst.

“This being so, the people should have the vote and make the decision for themselves. Of course, the public can canvass their MPs but what is the MP who, representing 1,200 voters, gets 60 calls and 35 are for and 25 are against, supposed to do when casting his vote? Clearly, the people should speak for themselves.

“This decision can give rise to a belief across the country that the Government cannot be trusted. In Parliament, on the motion to adjourn, I stood and spoke to the fact that Government has backtracked or broken eight significant promises in one year in office.

“This can only happen so often before the people lose faith in the Government. The economic situation that the country faces requires everyone pulling in the same direction but this only happens when each person trusts the next person.

“The ethics of the OBA have to be called into question by their behaviour. It appears that the ends are far more important that the means. It appears that there is a developing culture of ” it doesn’t matter how you get to your goal as long as you get there”. This isn’t what the people expect from their Government.

“I firmly believe the OBA took this course of action because the community spoke against the question that had been posed by the Referendum Bill. The people voicing concern were not against the Referendum,they were against the question as drafted.

“The proper thing for the Government to do was to study the question and to redraft it or to accept an amendment during the debate in the House. I had planned to table the following amendment “Do you favour legalised gambling in Bermuda?” This is a simple yes/no question producing no interpretation issues.

“The Premier said that the PLP were going to take actions that would cause the Referendum to fail. What he should have done was to call the Opposition Leader and ask for a meeting of six people: himself, the Attorney General, the Minister of Tourism and Transport along with the Opposition Leader, his Deputy Leader and the Shadow Finance Minister.

“Such a meeting would have the goal of getting commitment to the Referendum. With the negotiating skills of the Honourable Derrick Burgess in the room, the group should have been able to agree on an acceptable Referendum question. Once this had been achieved, the Referendum would have been safe to proceed with and the ‘fears’ of the Government removed.

“I am calling on the Government to have such a meeting now. To save the Government’s relationship with the people the two parties need to sit in a room and negotiate this matter. For Government to refuse to act is a further show of disregard for the people.

“This vote, should there be one in Parliament, has to be a conscience vote. Each Member must vote as he or she believes Bermuda will be best served. To simply follow a party line would be the wrong approach,” concluded Mr Lister.

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Comments (26)

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  1. Royal Flush says:

    A bit surprised to hear that from you sir. Your former party were very adept at this method. The peoples voice will still be heard through the politriciians we voted for, I bet their phones don’t ring off the hook, if I am thinking correctly a poll showed a large majority in favor.

    • And...... says:

      SO its OK to break a promise if your polls tell you so? Is that what you are saying.

      • Royal Flush says:

        “can’t be trusted” is the crux of my post.

        • Black Soil says:

          Brother Terry….your brains are still a little bit rattled from your TAX PAID vacation you and your mates took to see the Space Shuttle blast off.

          • Black Soil says:

            Or should I say that Terry is fighting hard to win the PLP leadership from Marc. Terry’s efforts would be better spent elsewhere.

  2. Sandgrownan says:


    Non issue is still a non issue

  3. Fish says:

    Hope they don’t do that, if a referendum were to surface for Marijuana

    • inna says:

      they should have made the referendum cover quite a few topics of the day that we as a people should have our say on, and the MJ decriminalization should have been one of those!

    • JustAskin2 says:

      Oh I’m sure that if a majority of the people were in favor and OBA were sure of success they would cough up the $500K (or whatever they claimed holding the last referendum would cost) from somewhere.

    • Mile High Club says:

      Can we at least have a few Town Hall meeting on the subject so we can learn more about the topic and so we can let our constituents know how we wish for them to vote on our behalf.

  4. And...... says:

    And cue all of the OBA defenders of Terry Lister when he left the PLP, who will now attack him for speaking the TRUTH about the OBA.

    What will they say about him now. He’s not PLP, he’s independent and speaking the TRUTH!

  5. Triangle Drifter says:

    Does it really matter what Lister thinks? As an independent it must be tough to get a microphone put in front of your face.

    As much as I hate party politics & would rather see a proportional system, we are stuck with political parties & the occasional bleatings of independents who really have no say & are out of the loop on both sides.

    • And...... says:

      And here is the first one, dismissing Lister as a voice in the wilderness without actually addressing his point.

      • Impressive says:

        its really amazing isn’t it?? Somebody’s opinion is only valid when it supports their bias view. case in point – Stuart Hayward. Some of these oba supporters don’t have any shame at all.. When it came to southland’s, Stuart Hayward was the greatest man alive, now that he condones their actions on the referendum, he shouldn’t be listened to, his opinion doesn’t matter.. Now the same thing with Terry Lister.. ho hum, the majestic integrity of the oba supporters.

        • Triangle Drifter says:

          I read my post over & over. I could not find the part where I agreed or disagreed with his opinion. I merely pointed out that his opinion really does not matter as an independent.

          I also voiced my displeasure of the party political system, favouring a system of proportional representation, i.e. Independent MPs.

          Blind OBA supporter? Don’t think so. I have given them a dose of my displeasure on more than one occasion & I’m sure more will be in the future.

          • Ringmaster says:

            Triangle Drifter. Are you crazy? Dislikes are programmed by Alaska Hall to be posted to any comment that is not pro PLP. Alaska Hall is now operating like North Korea.

    • Mile High Club says:

      Yes it does, he speaks for his constituents and many other. I too would have liked the idea of a vote on the subject after we (the people) have all the answers.

      So we will save 500K by not having it, but sometimes we must ask ourselves. “can we afford to spend the money or can we afford NOT to?”

  6. realest says:

    Terry Lister is absolutely correct. He was actually one of the best debaters in the House of Assembly. I subscribe to democracy.

  7. Concerned says:

    Democracy: The tactful selection of two options that both serve the governments interests over its people meanwhile alienating independent thought by uncountable oppositions.


  8. watching says:

    Funny – when Terry Lister speaks against the PLP, then the OBA supporters cheer him on. When he speaks against the OBA, then the OBA supporters hate him.

    Mr. Lister is quite correct in his assessment above.

    the OBA and Premier Cannonier simply cannot be trusted.

    • street wise says:

      Come on…. name any Government you can “trust.” Name one.

  9. Hmmmmm says:

    Isn’t it interesting how a certain printed daily publication is totally ignoring this entire issue? Three days and not one single column inch devoted to the story. I guess they think if they ignore it everyone else will too. And the Premier has been called the “L” word everyday since Friday and STILL not a word from him or his people saying that he told the truth; not a single word. All we got was a “I didn’t record the conversation” yesterday…….Let the silence be your guide on who’s telling the truth on this one folks.

  10. I don’t trust the government or the opposition in this matter because there should be a referendum on the issues as it will effect all of us, and to say this is what we put them in power for to make decisions on our behalf is a cup out when the issues at hand is vital to our future as a nation,most things should be entrusted to our elected officials but some things warrant the say of the people to be included, such as the legalizing of gay marriages should not be left up to those on the hill, but should also be put to a referendum, so at the end of the day regardless of the outcome the majority will rule.

    • say it like it is. says:

      I totally agree with you Mr. Santucci. It is up to us all not the Cabinet only. Anthing like this should be voted by us the public, it is an important issue and could effect our country. For the OBA to send this to a vote by cabinet is just cowardly I figure. The PLP pushed them into re-opening the Lamb Foggo clinic, even though it was not financiallly viable, and now this? tsk tsk tsk.

  11. JONO says:

    All Bermudians are represented by their respective MPs’ in Bermuda. Get them to knock on every door and RECORD their constituents view on gambling then present the accurate results..Bet many voters haven’t seen their representative for 12 months..Do the leg-work..the MPs’ are getting paid…

  12. looking and listening says:

    This is so sad I pray that one day some bloggers will get the facts before writing things that are often totally mind boggling. Want to see how ignorant some people are? Just read the blogs. They spout off at the mouth and are totally wrong most times. It is better to keep your mouth shut than open your mouth and remove all doubt. By the way if the cap fits then you should wear it.