Will there be a future for gaming in Bermuda? Johnson Johnrose of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, speaks with Bermuda Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert on the topic.
WAYNE FURBERT: The country has decided to have a referendum on gaming, something which has been ticklish for a long time … split between gaming, so has always been desired…
JOHNSON JOHNROSE: By gaming, you mean casino gambling.
FURBERT: Casino gambling. You may not be aware of this, but two years ago, when honorable, the leader of the … party, put a paper to parliament, it was defeated significantly by…
JOHNROSE: By his own government.
FURBERT: Well, it wasn’t a vote per se; it was a discussion paper, but the signals that were being sent out by the members of parliament on both sides, is that nobody wanted a casino. Bermuda’s a very conservative, religious community. As a matter of fact, I live in the Bible Belt. My constituence is the Bible Belt, so let’s face it, you know how politicians are – it’s very hard for me to put my hand up and say, because at the end of the day, it’s cut off at the next election. So we felt, or I feel, even when I was leader of the United Bermuda party is that the best way to handle this, let the people decide.
JOHNROSE: But you already know the results, don’t you? It’s going to be no.
FURBERT: No, I don’t think so. It’s interesting that you… I’m not going to pre-determine or pre-guess what the outcome will be, because I think it’s going to be very close. Because what happens in… and we’ve had some polls done… 80 percent of the White community supports a casino, 80 percent of the Black community says no, and it’s because of our upbringing within our society. But the younger people within our society are much more open. Now it’s not something that I personally push is a casino. I don’t think that’s the end all, be all, for casinos really.
JOHNROSE: I was about to ask… if left to you, you would not do it.
FURBERT: If it were left to me, it would not be, but I have no problem in a democratic society is to auction for what you would like to do.