(CNS): Sports and Community Affairs Minister Osbourne Bodden has said that the Progressives are not campaigning for a national lottery, despite comments he made to a reporter from the Bahamas. The minister told CNS that while he personally looks favourably on a lottery to help boost government coffers, it’s not a party position and he has no plans to promote the idea when he hits the election trail for the 2017 poll. He said that a lottery is not a government position but merely a view he holds that might be something the country could entertain in the future.
“I believe that a national lottery could be devised to attract local and primarily overseas participation, and it could serve to alleviate some of the pressures on our budget for more and more services, especially as it relates to education,” Bodden said. “We have had an illegal numbers game here for many years, which could also be legalized and it could add the fees charged to our coffers.”
Speaking to CNS after an article appeared in the Bahamas-based Freeport News, he said that he had no idea that he was being interviewed by a reporter when he chatted with Fred Sturrup, who he believed was involved in sports management. “The gentleman did not interview me and he took what was a simple personal conversation and made a story of it for his own selfish reasons and personal gain.”
Bodden had told the reporter that he had long believed a lottery could help support sports funding but “the religious sector has so much influence” in Cayman that it was unlikely to be a reality anytime soon.
Speaking to CNS, he agreed that there would still be kick-back from the church if government was to consider a lottery and it would not happen without the support of the people.
“Of course we know that we will have strong objection by our large Christian community and therefore it would be something that would have to be a referendum issue, otherwise any government would run the risk of paying at the polls for trying to do so,” he said.
But Bodden pointed out that a lottery could be the answer to the reducing the pressure on the public purse for many things that need more cash.
“The truth is more and more services are demanded of government — education, healthcare, sports and social services — and with our current tax base, outside of direct taxation, alternatives have to be found,” the minister said, stressing that it was not on the PPM “radar” at present.
Category: Local News