People’s vote coming on gambling and ganja

| 07/09/2022 | 187 Comments
Cayman News Service
Premier Wayne Panton on Radio Cayman’s For The Record

(CNS): The PACT Government is planning to roll out a referendum next year on a national lottery and the decriminalisation of ganja. Premier Wayne Panton has said that after Parliament meets later this month, he will be revealing more details about further questions that will be put to the people. Appearing on Radio Cayman last week, he said the issues and questions had not yet been settled but ganja and gambling would be on the ballot.

“We are considering doing a referendum next year,” he told the host of For The Record, Orrett Connor, on Friday when he appeared as a guest on the show. “That will include the question of having a national lottery… It will include a clarified position and a question around the decriminalisation of cannabis… as distinct from legalisation, meaning that the consequence of having a small amount for personal use isn’t going to be far-reaching and leave you with a police record.”

Panton said it was possible there would be other questions on the ballot but at this point, nothing was cast in stone.

The issue of a national vote on a lottery has been debated in the community for decades and there have been some failed attempts in the past to secure a people-initiated referendum. However, a government-initiated referendum would be an easier road to a legal lottery because it would only require a simple majority to succeed. In contrast, to initiate a people’s referendum, 25% of registered voters must sign a petition, then in the actual vote, 50% plus one of the entire electorate must vote yes.

Panton said that in addition to asking the people about a national lottery, the current legislation dealing with gambling in Cayman was no longer fit for purpose and needed to be amended because it was fueling more crime than it prevented. He said changes may also pave the way for casinos to open on ships in local waters late in the afternoon before departure.

“There is a problem with gambling in our country,” he said, noting that the law was drafted in 1964. “It was not well drafted then and, to be honest, it’s certainly not fit for purpose now.” He said the government had to try and control things and improve the gambling act.

Panton explained how criminalising gambling had deterred the victims of robbery from reporting it for fear of being held to account themselves. “It is breeding the wrong kind of activity,” he said. “Anything that is creating a situation where people have cash accumulated is a temptation.”

Cannabis was also an issue on the campaign trail and a number of candidates voiced support for decriminalisation. The premier stated shortly after taking office that the PACT Government would look at the issue this term, a move that has wide support in the community.

Some people believe the Cayman Islands should go much further, and one group of campaigners has even drafted bespoke legislation that would pave the way for recreational use and cultivation.

See Panton on FTR below:

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Category: Policy, Politics

Comments (187)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Instead, PLEASE do a Referendum on EDUCATION and EMPLOYMENT.
    These are two areas in serious crisis, especially as it relates to the present – and the future survivability – of our good people of these Islands.


    • Anonymous says:

      What would the question on education be? How about … Should the government abandon its terrible policy of social promotion in schools because without the consequence of being held back for refusing to make an effort to learn, too many Caymanians are “graduating” without the ability to read, write or do fundamental mathematics? True story from two weeks ago: I had a bill that came out to $10.09. I gave the young Caymanian girl $11.00, which she punched into the register. Then I found a ten cent coin in my pocket and asked her to give me back the dollar. She couldn’t figure out what 10 minus 9 was to give me change and asked for the dollar back. I felt so much pity for this young lady. This country has failed her. But it has also failed the supermarket that is forced to hire her. This isn’t a matter of training – this is and education failure directly on the shoulders of the Cayman Islands Government – and parents, of course.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ever stop to think that national lottery could better fund our schools as in the US and some other countries? And no-one please bring religion into this because if you were truly religious, all these raffles churches have wouldn’t exist.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Now, let’s vote on opening up stores on Sunday.

  3. Anonymous says:

    8:17, good to see at least one person switched on here!

    Everyone seems to be missing that they are looking to decriminalize gambling due to the already well established numbers game…..

  4. Anonymous says:

    The big advantage of local casinos for certain politicians and senior civil servants is that there will be less need to travel to overseas casinos to launder payoffs. Of course some payoffs from foreign developers will still go through foreign casinos.

    • Anonymous says:

      actually a casino creates caymanian jobs. Well paying jobs too. most casino’s start at 20 an hour for card dealers.

      • Anonymous says:

        Is that not the same line of crap that has been dished out over the years about hotel developments, condos, and every other thing developers can profit from? How did that work out?

        • Hey Mike - great site for a casino says:

          Fin has already had the awful blue fluorescent casino lights installed above the entrance.

      • Anonymous says:

        You have to be able to count first.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m sick of hearing about projects being approved to give Caymanians’jobs. It’s a myth that we’re hired and no-one charged with enforcement of our laws ever does anything about it.

        • Anonymous says:

          The myth is that “Caymanians” will do the jobs. I bet employers are sick of hearing that they must hire unemployables over those who will happily work. The reputation of Unemployed Caymanians is so bad that Caymanians won’t hire them for all the right reasons.

    • Anonymous says:

      I believe they deal through companies in BVI.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Let’s ALL get out to VOTE!!

    Ban leaf blowers.
    Install a “blight law” for dumping and derelict properties
    Add a strict pet law and Enforce pet licenses

  6. SKEPTICAL says:

    The demographics of operating a lottery do not seem to be suitable for the profile of Cayman. Assuming the source of sufficient funds to create attractive winning prizes of any substance would come from ticket sales – what could be the largest pool created from a population of 75,000. “ What about American punters ? “ you might say. They already have hundreds of tried and tested lotteries at home from which to choose with virtually no concerns about prize money being paid on a winning ticket.
    Won’t even bother going into the potential local social problems of people having a regular “flutter” using money otherwise available to pay rent, mortgage, or put food on the table. Of course people are entitled to spend their money as they wish – but gambling can be very addictive and unless you hold a winning ticket all you get for your money is a useless piece of paper.

    • Anonymous says:

      news flash, they already have numbers game here.

      at least the government can make a profit and that money goes back into the community. It also creates jobs.

      • Cynical says:

        Dear me – read it properly. If a lottery could not generate enough to provide decent prizes how could it provide profit for government – put your brain in gear before hitting the keyboard.

    • Anonymous says:

      They could simply license locals who can provide proof of finances to be able to gamble. Theyve been doing this in TCI for over 20 years. For goodness sake, stop holding up progress and peoples freedoms based on the speculation of a few bad actors. And hello, what do you think Church raffles and our pensions being traded on the stockmarket is? GAMBLING.

      • Anonymous says:

        It is correct. Charitable raffles and trading securities are exempt under gambling legislation.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I hope if we are thinking of allowing cruiseships to open their casinos, we move with urgency to allow Caymanians to use casinos online. It is ridiculous that as an adult in the privacy of my home I cannot enjoy adult entertainment! Worst, to not be able to get winnings to my local accounts because the banks are barred or they make it frustrating to do so. Along those lines our local bankers needs to start accepting or allowing locals to use online payment platforms like paypal etc. Everywhere in the world people can open online businesses and receive payments via paypal but not Cayman. As an adult the government should not be able to tell me I cannot use my money to entertain myself and heck even receive my winnings or legit funds from someone overseas. We must be the most restricted antiquated backward country this side of the hemisphere at least for locals and residents. Meanwhile we created enabling legislation for others to a mass great earnings from God knows where.

    • Anonymous says:

      I know many Caymanians and residents who regularly gamble online. You do NOT need to be gambling online if you cannot even figure out how to do it. Seriously! Just sayin’.

      • Anonymous says:

        Depends. I know of situations where high-level executives are gambling online while at work. Breach of fiduciary duty?

      • Anonymous says:

        oh please…to spell out the challenges that local banks put in-place, like restricting local debit and credit cards is too much typing. If you have an overseas credit card, then no problem. Try using a local credit card to load funds and then to receive funds. I am well aware of the loopholes. However, the point is: there should be none as an adult. I really cant take you condescending smart a^^es that think everyone called Caymanian is fool.And save your response.

  8. Anonymous says:

    We are still waiting on our cruise berthing referendum. When is that scheduled to take place?

  9. Anonymous says:

    What happened to the dock vote?


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