Dunch Resigns As Casino Commission Chairman

November 16, 2017

Chairman_Dunch_cropped_versionAlan Dunch will be resigning from his position as Chairman of the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission he has confirmed, while Minister Simmons confirmed he has “accepted the resignation of Mr. Alan Dunch” and “will announce his successor early next week.”

This follows after the Casino Gaming Amendment was tabled in the House last Friday, with the Bill seeking to allow the Government to give “general directions” to the Casino Gaming Commission, and allow the Minster to “revoke the appointment of a member.”

Speaking in the House last Friday, Minister of Economic Development and Tourism Jamahl Simmons confirmed that he has “asked for the resignation of the Chairman of the Gaming Commission on three occasions; August 10, September 27 and October 20, 2017.”

“The Chairman of the Gaming Commission may want, crave, seek or desire a public fight,” the Minister said, adding that “while others want public fights we seek a Bermuda that with greater economic growth and a diversified economy will bring new jobs and new industries.”

Mr Dunch told Bernews, “I have indicated my intention to resign following the next monthly meeting of the Commission on December 6th. I have some loose ends to tie up before I leave.

“I have done this in the hope that I will have removed the impetus for the proposed amendments to the Act and that, as a result, the Government will take the opportunity to reflect upon the wisdom of following through with them.

“They are not appropriate in a western democratic jurisdiction and I firmly believe that if they are passed the result could be calamitous in terms of moving the gaming initiative forward.

“Moreover, even if offered the opportunity [which is unlikely], I would not and will not serve as a Commissioner in circumstances where the independence and decision making of the Commission can potentially be interfered with at will because of political considerations. That was not the deal going in and I hope it won’t be the deal moving forward but we will see.”

His resignation letter stated, “The tabling of the Casino Gaming Amendment Act 2017 last Friday came as an unexpected surprise to me and I consider the proposed amendments to be of grave concern.

“The substance of what you propose to enact completely undermines the fundamental premise upon which I agreed to serve as Chairman of the Casino Gaming Commission, namely that the Commission would be a wholly autonomous, independent regulatory body which would operate free from political interference and government dictate.

“The notion that the Commission will become obligated to follow general directions from you, as Minister, is a potentially sad and seriously backward mis-step in the ongoing efforts of Bermuda to introduce a gaming regime that will be recognized and perceived both locally and in the international gaming community as one that has integrity, independence and an unfettered ability to minimize, if not eliminate entirely, in fact and in appearance, the possibility of corruption. The result may well be to impede Bermuda’s ability to attract first class people of the utmost integrity to both operate and regulate the gaming industry here.

“The proposed amendments have given me considerable pause for thought and reflection on my personal position moving forward.

“I am genuinely of the view that, in terms of the best interests of Bermuda, it would be ill advised and most unfortunate if the proposed amendments were to be passed by Parliament, approved by the Senate and assented to by the Governor.

“However, whilst regrettable, I think it likely that the amendments will, in due course, come into force unless they are withdrawn.

“In those circumstances, in the unlikely event that you did not revoke my appointment, I would nevertheless find it untenable to continue to serve as the Chairman, or indeed sit as a member, of the Commission moving forward.

“As a result, please accept this letter as formal notice of my current intention to resign as a member of the Commission, such resignation to take effect immediately upon the conclusion of the next scheduled monthly meeting of the Commission on December 6th, 2017.

“It is my sincere hope that in making this decision to resign, you and the Government might now consider it un-necessary to move forward with the proposed amendments and, in the best interests of Bermuda, choose instead to withdraw the Amendment Act which, as stated above, is ill advised and could do irreversible harm to the reputation of our country.

“I wish you all the best in your continuing endeavours and would only add that I will of course be available to assist the new Chair of the Commission in any way if such assistance is sought.”

Minister of Economic Development and Tourism Jamahl Simmons said, “Last night I received and have accepted the resignation of Mr. Alan Dunch as Chair of the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission. I thank him for his service and will announce his successor early next week.”

Mr Dunch’s resignation letter follows below [PDF here]:

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