Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Bmda: Nanny state law passes

Government is standing firm behind its promise to protect Bermuda’s vulnerable from themselves by outlawing all gaming machines on the Island by July 1, Premier Alex Scott stated yesterday.

And the possibility of a floating casino based in Bermuda will effectively be outlawed after proposed amendments to the Prohibition of Gaming Machines Act were passed by MPs in the House of Assembly last night following a mammoth debate.

But while the United Bermuda Party supported the principle behind the amendments, Opposition Leader Dr. Grant Gibbons accused Government of rushing them through at the last minute.

On Thursday Legislative Affairs Minister Michael Scott admitted that the bill contained errors which could have outlawed virtually every computer and palm pilot on the Island. “The tabled item of legislation in its current form is wider then it should have been,” Mr.Scott said.

Amendments will be made on Friday to bring it into the framework of the objective to avoid creating mischief we don’t want to create.

During yesterday’s debate, Dr. Gibbons said “That doesn’t give us confidence they are carefully thought through – a bull in a hurry never made a calf.”

Dr. Gibbons said that, in the rush the legislation may be too wide, and may catch machines it does not intend to catch – such as individuals using their personal computers in their own homes, or business owners whose employees surf Internet gaming sites in their free moments.

However Mr. Scott said that was not the intention of the legislation – and if Government finds gaming machine operators take advantage of that to use home technology to run gaming machines, new amendments will be brought forward to address that activity.
When will the intelligentsia and the political idioteratti learn to leave people alone to live their lives and make their own mistakes? If Bermudans are capable of thinking and acting in their own self-interest, why won't their government let them? Part of life is doing things the hard way and correcting one's course. The government that seeks to protect its citizens from the vagaries and traps of life pretty soon becomes intrusive and totalitarian. Ask the nations in the Middle East.

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