Imbert Must Credit Kamla for the Gaming Bill

By Stephen Kangal
November 16, 2016

Stephen KangalWhen beleaguered and now politically isolated Finance Minister, Colm Imbert introduces on Friday a Gaming/Betting Control Bill 2016 in the House designed to regulate and bring under strict legislative jurisdiction a mushrooming and widespread but illegal Gaming Industry he must abandon his penchant for flaunting his boyish political immaturity. He must give due credit to former PM, Kamla-Persad-Bissessar for all the hard work invested on the comprehensive and insightful law- creating process that commenced with the 2013 Budget Statement of intent announcing the new regime. These are the firm building blocks of the new gambling and betting shops regime.

There is no doubt that the Rowley Administration both on this occasion and previously is piggy-backing on the excellent. Incisive, international and domestically consultative -based bills such as this Gaming Bill 2016 in order to impose a long-outstanding legal order and regime over the illegal proliferation of casino gambling and gaming machines. The industry if unregulated can serve as siphon to foment and encourage money laundering, the financing of terrorist activities and other negative practices that can challenge and tear the moral fabric of T&T.

Although the then Opposition PNM was absent from the House on 27 May 2015 when the 2015 version of the Bill was passed with the requisite three-fifths majority (26) it appears that they, that is to say the PNM brigade have now seen the light of reason, judgement and this long festering sore on the almost underground and subterranean landscape.

The Partnership did an excellent job. It bequeathed to the PNM a comprehensive legislative legacy geared to address this complex and demanding subject in spite of the self-centred and parochial objections now being raised by the casino clubs owners. Why did they protest in May 2015? Were they asleep after a night of black-jack and slot machines?

These casino owners want to delay the passing of the draft legislation by sending it to a Joint Select Committee. Thus will give them a respite from the strict control measures so that they can continue to exploit and profit immensely from the current unregulated industry without paying the requisite license fees and adhering to the stringent enforcement/oversight/licensing mechanisms proposed therein.

All the relevant bases of the industry have been taken on board including consulting international standards prevailing in several jurisdictions that will have the effect of attracting foreign investors in a nascent industry and contribute to revenue diversification.

I hope that this maverick, non-performing PNM Government can suspend its cheap arrogance and treat the Opposition with respect on this matter and others so that the latter can be persuaded to give its support to achieve the requisite three- fifths majority for the Bill to go forward to the Senate.

The Gambling Bill 2016 when assented to will eliminate and dismantle the current free-for-all that the casino owners want to perpetuate exclusively for their continuing partisan Illegal group benefit.

For them law and order must be subordinated to laisses-faire and tokens galore.

2 thoughts on “Imbert Must Credit Kamla for the Gaming Bill”

  1. I think this writer should temper his arguments, if he intends to be taken seriously. This article is intended to send several messages, namely:
    1. His unequivocal support for the Opposition Leader.
    2. His disgust for the PNM Government
    3. His hatred for the current Minister of Finance
    4. The evils of the gaming business
    5. Credit for this legislation should be given to Kamla
    There is no doubt that his intended purpose is to deal with item #4 above, but he had to opinionate his subjective views to mar the seriousness of gambling evils that have afflicted our culture, creating a climate of wishful aspirations to wealth among our poor and helpless, burgeoning business practices that make the less fortunate more dependent on gambling and a business that can seriously encourage crime and terror in the underground economy of this country.

    I share and connect with his views on item #4. There is a potent argument to be made on the evils of gambling. As a seasoned former diplomat and writer, he lacks the ability to separate objective insights from his treasured desires of who and what he likes and dislikes. This matter is too serious for him to inject his personal preferences to spoil the importance of the Bill before our parliament. In our country today gambling is an evil that we can ill-afford. It is certainly a vehicle that augments criminal behavior and promotes an avenue for unlawful underground commerce. There is need for legislation to protect it’s constitutional authority, protecting the young and underage from habitual dependance, an avenue to collect taxes, enforcement of laws to license those those involved in the business, hiring practices, strict observance of financial and monetary practices and its effect on our social culture.

    We all should be aware that enaction of laws is a progression of ideas put together by standards formulated by many. Those inputs might be politics, social activists, standard operating procedures, commercial observances, legal and practical considerations. These considerations, put together can produce a good and efficient Bill to regulate the gaming industry. When good legislation is produced, it usually takes competing ideas to air its viability and effectiveness. So, when the writer takes off on a tangent to start praising Kamla, the UNC and his preferred agents for this legislation, his arguments become a nebulous writing of his feelings, not a piece of work to elevate the issues he wants us to address.

    When the writer describes the Finance Minister saying “he must abandon his penchant for flaunting his boyish political immaturity.”, he is merely being abusive to the person piloting the Bill to become law, than effusing the manner of how the Bill was presented. When he insists on Kamla being praised as the originator of the Bill, he is ignoring the efforts of Patrick Manning who introduced the ideas un the previous administration.
    When effective legislation is law, does it really matter who made it? The writer seems to think so. When good ideas become law, it takes more than just a figurehead to do that. Pros and cons are important ingredients to good legislation. This means that government and Opposition in puts are necessary for all angles are to be covered. The writer in my opinion is partisan and racist but the subject of his article is very important if we want to make this society a better one for all os us.

    Gambling as an evil habit inherited by the young of all stripes, can cause serious misalignment in the growth of our culture. There is gambling in private clubs, rum shops, bars, restaurants, gaming facilities and socials venues. It is therefore important that effective legislation be enacted to formulate laws on how the business is to be conducted, who is authorized to participate, what venues can be considered to operate, what behavior is to be utilized, how is such business reported and how they are to be taxed by the government. Enough has not yet been achieved to praise or condemn.

    So when the writer emphasizes items #1, #2, #3 and #5 above he is demeaning the topic which he introduced as something important for the advancement of our young culture. This matter cuts across race, religion, class and community. We all suffer when our young fall prey to the evils of this practice. There are social, religious, criminal and health consequences of this behavior. It is therefore important that when discussing this matter we avoid introducing our personal likes and dislikes to its importance.

  2. ” When Finance Minister,Imbert introduces a Gaming/Betting Control Bill 2016 designed to regulate and bring under legislative jurisdiction a mushrooming but illegal Gaming Industry he must give credit to former PM, Kamla for all the work invested on the law..These are building blocks of the new gambling and betting shops regime.The Partnership did an excellent job. It bequeathed to the PNM a comprehensive legislative legacy…….I hope that this PNM Government can treat the Opposition with respect on this matter and others……The Rowley Administration is piggy-backing on the international and domestically consultative -based bills such as this Gaming Bill 2016 in order to impose a long-outstanding legal order and regime over the illegal proliferation of casino gambling and gaming machines.The industry if unregulated can encourage money laundering,financing of terrorist activities and other negative practices that can tear the moral fabric of T&T.”Mr
    Stephen Kangal

    This is an excellent piece ,by Mr Stephen K , as he was able to lay out quite vividly, a situation that our country is confronting,and steps by two parties/ regimes ,to bring under some control. One can sense that the writer , feels passionate about the matter,and in the process ,used the opportunity , to forcefully lay on the table ,a few other deeper issues , that he is equally concerned about- namely the ways and means leaders, can/ should work together to achieve mutually beneficial ,ends- especially those that are in the national interest.
    The reaction too , by Bro Kain ,was very useful , as a healthy ,learning tool , as it too , might go some way in explaining , why we as a collective ,seems to be running into a brick wall, as lose/ lose, political gridlock , becomes the rule, rather than the exception.
    The irony is , there are those who would daily wring their hands , trying to figure out what politics is,when the initial article ,and counter reaction , was a clearcut description.
    The first lesson I learned years ago ,when it comes to politics was , that in the end , it’s all about compromise. Our interests ,are inextricably linked , but to get from point A,to B , we must work together. Translation:-
    1. Give a bit of credit for laying the foundation for something , when I was in power, and I today , will support you, in your belated efforts, to push through said item.

    Did anyone mention FETCA,Corporal Punishment,and it’s links to domestic violence ,victimless crimes , prison reforms- overcrowded / curbing recidivism – decriminalization of drugs/ prostitution ,or sex tourism, as a way to boost a stagnant ,non diversified economy lately?
    2. Am I going to get some traction, on eliminating the costly, class discriminatory Privy Council , in favor of our long overdue CCJ, if you show willingness to support some version of Proportional Representation , or even an executive President , as they have in Guyana?
    In that case , our present ceremonial President ,would not be viewed as interfering , when he wish to get some info, from a Minister of National Security , re the precarious state of crime,and competing parties , can feel , truly represented in the political process.

    3. Can I get to explore taboo subjects such as Suicides,and Child brides, as it impact Community A / the nation as a whole ,if I encourage the same discussions about out of wedlock , dead beat , baby making sperm bank dads, within Community B / the nation as a whole?

    4. Where does something as contentious as land reform ,in the context of state lands fits in, or the issue of compensation, for Afro Slave descendants comes in? Are you , or I surprise ,that members of the Afro Trini Community ,feels perturb , that others,who historically benefited, from their progressive minded national leaders , prudent actions , are suddenly reluctant ,to support any debate, much less action , which can deal in some decent manner- by way of compensation – with the descendants , of those who got thrown under the bus , once Slavery ended?
    To your concern Mr Stephen K, that desired respect works both ways.It won’t miraculously appear in Parliament, if non existent ,across the wider society. Least we forget, our Politicians ,are not from Mars,or Venus.
    Party A is free to allow a 5 year Expo, to one particular country,as that’s their right. They are likewise free, to bend over backwards , to East Asian Chinese cousins, so that they and their Associations , can do as they wish ,as far as flaunting our immigration laws , since China has used it ‘Soft Power ,’ to good effect , via their actions across T&T .
    However, how should Party B react, if it is known ,that over said period, 90% of the deportees look like their leader , or hundreds of potential citizens ,and folks seeking work permits ,immigration status , regularization, are in contrast treated like rabies mice, as a matter of policy , by others , they perceive with narrow, electoral leaning agendas?
    In more civilize advanced countries , they know how to play this silly political game to perfection.
    They spend millions , beating each other up ,during contentious , ideologically driven elections, but once the dust is settled , and all the phony ,legal challenges are over , victors,and losers , will compromise ,and work together, towards a common , more wholesome end.
    Hopefully,we too ,can get there .Maybe a few more frank discussions , ehhh Mr Stephen K, and Brother Kian?
    It’s the season to be jolly ,so best wishes to all, across Trini Center Nation.
    Remember people , optimism is the key,and a bit of idealism , won’t hurt.

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