One of the most astute members of parliament is undoubtedly Fred Mitchell. If you listen to a lot of his contributions in the house of assembly, you could many times follow his trend of thought and believe in what he says.
Mitchell’s contribution in the house of assembly on Wednesday, February 06, 2013 was however an all time low. I heard him say that he was pleased with the gambling referendum process and he basically gave the government a pat on the back for its handling of the referendum.
Mitchell is a Harvard graduate and as I said he is very astute. But why he would bring false commentary to the public is mind boggling. Mr. Mitchell, please contemplate the following facts.
(1). The referendum date was changed from December 3rd to January 28th, 2013 amid public pressure that the process was being rushed.
(2). The government promised a public education campaign that never materialized.
(3). The prime minister said that he had no horse in the race, but yet he told the public that if they voted no, social services would be stretched and he would have to seek to find jobs for persons left unemployed.
(4). The chairman of the gaming board said that the process was awkward and untidy.
(5). The chairman of the governing party told supporters at a meeting to vote yes and a few hours later he said that his party’s position was neutral.
(6). The referendum initially had one question and then a second question was added. Additionally, when the questions were made public, not enough time was given for public discourse.
(7). The electorate was sufficiently confused by question number one which sought to regulate web shop gambling as opposed to legalizing this industry. This is unheard of in any civilized society because you cannot regulate an industry that is illegal.
(8). The consultant report which the prime minister initially said was going to be released was never made public because he later said that no report was prepared.
If the government wants a pat on the back for all the confusion it caused, it certainly won’t come from me. The gambling referendum was a textbook case of what not to do in the future. I trust that the government would learn from its mistakes and not waste time talking fool in the honorable house of assembly.