Former MP blasts the FNM’s motive on taxing gambling houses

Pierre Dupuch.

Says AG an “attack dog”

“Rather than being the ‘bully boys’ the government should make money by saving money…”

Former Member of Parliament (MP) Pierre Dupuch is arguing that the government has targeted gambling houses because “they are rich”.

“What the precedent says is that anybody who the government perceives to be rich can be selected,” Dupuch wrote in a statement Wednesday.

“They didn’t say the gambling industry because that would include the foreign-owned gambling casinos. Instead, they singled out Bahamian owned gambling operations.

“I don’t like gambling. I think it’s addictive, it harms children’s wellbeing and it takes money from the poor. If gambling is allowed it should be in the form of a lottery with all money earmarked for education and health. That’s my opinion.”

Dupuch, however, also argued that the amount of money the gaming houses make is irrelevant.

“To pick out any institution which it licenses to ‘stick it to them’ is wrong and leads to instability,” he affirmed.

“It sets a serious precedent that if you make money, and the government decides to single you out to tax you, it is unacceptable. It may look good to some but it sets a serious and dangerous precedent. Every time the government passes a law a precedent is created, according to the former MP… To the foreign-owned gambling operations, they say, ‘yes sir boss’ and to the locally owned gambling operations they say ‘let’s stick it to them’.

“If they can do it to gambling, they can do it to the grocery store or anybody else. In an already fragile economy, this is a scary proposition.”

Dupuch noted that the move could be seen as an act of bad faith on the government’s part and could possibly be a deterrent for businesses wanting to come to the country.

“I know of what I speak. It happened to me,” he said.

“Uncertainty is the biggest problem to get Bahamians to invest. We make all kinds of concessions to foreign institutions, but no concessions to Bahamians. This is the underlying problem in The Bahamas. We say ‘yes sir boss’ to the outsider but ‘we’ll stick it to you if you is a Bahamian’.

“To add insult to injury, the Free National Movement (FNM) who, at this point and without consultation, pushed it down the throats of the numbers house industry, sent their attack dog, Carl Bethel, after those who object. He said the objectors would be rooted out of the holes and prosecuted.

“I thought Carl Bethel was the Attorney General whose job it is to send cases to trial and to staff the courts with sufficient judges to deal with all the cases in a timely manner. I thought Marvin Dames, the Minister of National Security, was the man to order the “rooting out” of those suspected of a crime.”

According to Dupuch, the government should create funds by saving money.

“Rather than being the ‘bully boys’ the government should make money by saving money. How many millions have been spent on those so-called ‘forensic auditors’,” he asked?

“I thought they were supposed to be investigating those ‘PLP crooks and prosecuting them’. Did they find any crooks?”

Dupuch suggested that both the FNM and the PLP acknowledge that mistakes have been made by both sides, sit down and work together to get the country out of the mess it is now in.