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A prominent pastor has called the government's proposed Gaming Act a "shame and a disgrace".
Rev. Dr. Philip McPhee, of Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, was referring to a bill that would allow local casino operators to facilitate online and mobile gambling.
"I think it is a shame and a disgrace to even [consider] passing that type of legislation without giving Bahamians the full opportunity to benefit from it," he said.
McPhee had pushed for the passing of a referendum on web shop gaming and the establishment of a national lottery.
The majority of people who voted in the January 28 gambling referendum voted 'no'. Voter turnout was less than 50 percent.
The question of whether Bahamians ought to be permitted to gamble in casinos was not on the ballot.
McPhee said yesterday he was "shocked' by the proposed legislation.
"I am hoping that the government of the day will not do anything to jeopardize itself in terms of the people's trust and in terms of it being true and faithful to Bahamians first," he said.
"Bahamians voted 'no' to web shops in The Bahamas. We certainly didn't vote 'yes' for foreigners to benefit from the same system.
"We are hoping we have not been hoodwinked and bamboozled because that is certainly not what we voted for, and certainly that is not what we are standing for.
"If you're going to ban web shop gambling in [The Bahamas], let it be from here, straight across to Paradise Island."
Under the new law, it would still be illegal for Bahamian citizens to gamble.
As reported by The Nassau Guardian yesterday, the bill would make legal "interactive gaming", which would permit gambling "through communications technology and accessed over the Internet".
It would also provide for "proxy gaming", which is defined as "the placement of a bet or wager on a gambling game by a player located within a permitted area, using any communications technology or device, including the Internet or intranet, wireless, wire or cable, radio, light, optics, microwave, smartphone or mobile device, or computer data network..."
Such a license would only be issued to the holder of a gaming license and only in respect of the casino resort managed by it.
The proposed legislation would allow hotel guests to gamble at pools or beachside on smartphone technology or hand-held tablets.
The accompanying regulations stipulate that a mobile communications device used for gambling must be designed or programmed such that it may only communicate with approved mobile gaming systems.
While local casino operators have long been pushing for updated gaming laws to allow them to be more competitive with other established gaming destinations, web shop owners see the proposed bill as discriminatory.
Attorney Wayne Munroe, who represents Percy Web Cafe, Island Luck, FML Group of Companies, Asue Draw, Whatfall and Chances said on Wednesday his clients are "disappointed".
McPhee insisted the government should not consider the new legislation, especially while attorneys are still making a case before the Court of Appeal on behalf of web shop owners.
"This whole struggle and fight that has gone on over the last several weeks seems to be very ironic," he said.
"This seems to be a set up. It seems as though Paradise Island can have benefits and the people in the ghetto can't have them, and that is not right."
McPhee said he plans to take a stance against the proposed legislation, which he called "inequality", and encouraged others to do so.
He also said the legislation would contribute to Bahamians becoming second-class citizens in their own country.
Another vocal religious leader in favor of regulating and taxing web shop businesses did not wish to comment directly on the proposed bill yesterday.
Bishop Simeon Hall, of New Covenant Baptist Church, said he has moved onto "more important issues".
Asked whether his position has changed since the referendum, Hall said it has not.
"The Bahamian people have spoken and I acquiesce to what the majority have said, and I don't care to fight it anymore," said the former Bahamas Christian Council (BCC) president, who spoke at Vote Yes rallies.
Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe, who has responsibility for gaming, was unavailable for comment as he was out of the country.
The regatta season is into its final stretch, and at this time of year sailing enthusiasts are usually looking forward to the North Eleuthera Regatta. However, a new regatta in the country is coming on-stream.
For the first time, this year, a 'C' class regatta will be held in Rock Sound, Eleuthera. It is set for the end of the month, September 25-28.
"About 21 years ago, we decided to go to Rock Sound to try and put it together, but it did not work then and for years after that, we tried and it never worked. Now today we can confirm that Rock Sound is on," said sailing consultant in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Phillip McPhee. "We were blessed and privileged in Rock Sound to meet with so many community members who came out to a meeting that was recently held. So many great things are happening in terms of making this work. We have some great sponsors who have come on board and we plan on doing something special for the cancer society," he added.
Not just any 'C' Class boats will be invited to participate in the Rock Sound regatta. There will be a qualifying race this weekend at Montagu Bay to determine which boats will be invited to Rock Sound.
"All of the 'C' Class boats in the country are invited to participate here on Saturday and Sunday and at the end of that, the top 12 will be sailing in Rock Sound," said McPhee.
The inaugural Rock Sound Regatta qualifying races are set to get underway at 10 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday at Montagu Bay.
Some of the 'C' Class boats expected to compete this weekend are the Sweet Island Gal, the Asue Draw Thunderbird, Melva B, H2O, the Lady Ruthnell, Dream Girl and San Sally.
Montagu Bay has seen a lot of action in the past few weeks, as both the Acklins and Cat Island regattas climaxed there due to inclement weather at their original sites.
The North Eleuthera Regatta is still scheduled for the National Heroes Day Holiday weekend, and is expected to wrap up the regatta season here in The Bahamas.
We write as pastors to address a blatant attempt to beguile the general public and church members alike that there are many pastors who are in support of legalizing the currently illegal web gambling shops in The Bahamas. Nothing could be further from the truth. Contrary to the impression that the "We Care" gambling coalition and Rev. Dr. Philip McPhee are seeking to convey to the general public, the church in The Bahamas is not divided on the issue of legalizing the numbers business, nor does it support the commencement of a national lottery.
After speaking with several of the pastors who attended the meeting organized by McPhee, it is clear that they were unwittingly used to promote the cause of the gambling coalition and McPhee. One pastor stated that they were "bamboozled" and "tricked" by the whole procedure, and regrets that he was used in this way. The meeting was advertised as a face-to-face meeting with web shop owners, where pastors could make the church's position against gambling clear. However, published comments from McPhee concerning the meeting leave members of the public with the impression that these pastors were largely in support. Again, such an impression is false.
Obviously, a campaign has already started to seek to deceive voters into believing that a significant number of pastors either "support'' or are "not against'' the proposition to legalize the selling of numbers, thus weakening voters' resolve to vote against the referendum. Furthermore, it was a wretched attempt to undermine the authority of the president of The Bahamas Christian Council (BCC) who was away burying his father and who is on record as saying that the BCC is "diametrically opposed" to gambling. No doubt, the president will be responding on behalf of the BCC in due course.
For the record, we are compelled to state that Rev. Dr. Philip McPhee (whose sailboat Thunderbird is known to be sponsored by the web shop Asue Draw) has compromised his voice on this issue and is not authorized to speak on behalf of the BCC, the Baptist community, and the church in general (and we suspect his views do not even represent the majority his own church members).
If we buy McPhee and the gambling coalition's argument that because they give out a few dollars to help charities and regattas we should legalize the numbers business, then a similarly flawed argument can be used to legalize the illegal drug trade because many drug dealers, like convicted drug smuggler Samuel "Ninety" Knowles, have used and continue to use their ill-gotten gains to assist the poor. Further to this, what does it say about the "law" when owners of these illegal web shops are publicly stating that they use their illegal proceeds to try to buy legitimacy?
We have every confidence that the voters in this country will not be duped by the spurious arguments being put forth by the coalition, and will soundly defeat the gambling proposition because there is no economic, social or moral justification for doing so. Further, we hasten to add that it would be criminal for the Bahamian government and the Bahamian people to exploit the gambling addiction of poor Bahamians by taxing their gambling addiction for the benefit of the government and a handful of already filthy rich illegal gambling operators.
It is clear that, as we approach the referendum on gambling, battle lines are already being drawn with operators of gambling houses using their illicit gambling proceeds to seek to finance a referendum outcome in their favor; this includes attempts to pedal their influence even within the church community. However, while they have money on their side, gained from successive governments (Free National Movement and Progressive Liberal Party) aiding and abetting their exploitation of the poor, the truth about gambling is not on their side; and that truth is that gambling (especially numbers gambling) further impoverishes the already poor and makes no economic sense.
While we speak as ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we believe we speak for the majority of Bahamians who on our nation's 39th independence anniversary still believe the words of the preamble to our nation's constitution that affirm that the preservation of our "freedom will be guaranteed by a national commitment to self-discipline, industry, loyalty, unity and an abiding respect for Christian values and the rule of law." Gambling is and will always be contrary to these values, and our prayer is that the majority of Bahamians will continue to hold this to be so and will vote "no" to gambling in the upcoming referendum.
- Pastors Lyall Bethel, Allan Lee, Cedric Moss, Dr. Myles Munroe, Mario Moxey, Alfred Stewart
EDITOR, The Tribune.
It is a known fact that the majority of Bahamians have resorted to being parasites. We unfortunately would prefer to hustle rather than work, we would prefer to borrow and not pay back. We prefer to join asue and disappear after we get our draw. We would literally "kiss up" to get money, including things rather than work and get what we want on our own. We unashamedly want something for nothing.
The government has built the much-awaited, much-talked about, much-dreamed about and much-anticipated Straw Market. This government venture is planned to be a cultural place where artists and artisans can not only sell, but display their treasured work showing tourists what ...
Former Attorney General Carl Bethel said yesterday he doubts the government will restrict web shop operators from offering sports betting and online slot machine games, known as "spinning".
The new law would permit "domestic players" to participate in "numbers games" with licensed web shops.
A numbers game is defined as a game made available by the holder of a gaming house operator license "in terms of which any single number or combination of numbers ranging from 000 to 999 may be wagered upon by a player at odds, which are fixed at the time of conclusion of the wager".
"I believe it will be changed, and if it isn't changed, they (web shop owners) will change it," said Bethel, referring to the Gaming Bill.
"You have a culture of doing what they wish to do, and so far it seems they have been prevailing, even against the will of the voters.
"If the majority of Bahamians wanted it legalized or regularized, they would have voted for it.
"But the Bahamian people either voted against it or voted with their feet. Yet, where are we today?"
Web shops, including but not limited to Asue Draw, Island Luck, Chances and Paradise Games, offer sports betting for a variety of matches and events.
Spinning is common in many web shops throughout the country.
Bethel said he believes the government will bend to the will of "the barons and lords of the web shops", who he said would soon make their objections known.
"I hear them saying it is only going to be numbers, but I don't think that is going to happen...not for the barons and lords of the web shops, no sir," he said.
"I find it difficult to believe that the government is able to say no to them for whatever reason.
"...We'll see who the government is, on that issue of gambling.
"But I do not hold out any hope that the barons and lords of web shops are going to be limited to play in numbers."
The majority of voters who participated in the gambling referendum last January voted against the regulation and taxation of web shops and the establishment of a national lottery.
Prime Minister Perry Christie has repeatedly defended his decision to go against the referendum results.
Christie said his decision came after the governor of The Central Bank brought to his attention the damning situation the country faced, "where there was a new banking order and where, in fact, loan managers [were] being hired to conduct personal mortgages".
The amended Gaming Bill will pave the way for web shops to be regularized retroactive to July 1.
The Office of the Attorney General sought to block the continued operations of web shops despite an order from Senior Supreme Court Justice Jon Isaacs in January to prevent a shutdown of the businesses, alleges an affidavit filed recently.
The affidavit filed by attorney Claude Hanna of Munroe & Associates said a group of web shop bosses faced significant delays in trying to get business licenses renewed and some owners have still not yet received licenses.
Hanna said the government, through the Business Licence and Evaluation Section of the Ministry of Finance has sought to adversely affect the business of the web shop owners by delaying licenses.
He said this was an attempt to circumvent the conservatory order issued by Justice Isaacs for the businesses to remain in operation pending the outcome of a substantive court challenge.
The owners filed court action after a majority of people who voted in a referendum voted against the regularization and taxation of web shops and the establishment of a national lottery. They contend that their businesses are operating legally.
Justice Isaacs granted the order the morning after Prime Minister Perry Christie ordered an end to web shop gaming.
Hanna said that in the past, the process of issuing licenses involved submitting an application, paying the required fees and the Business Licence Unit would issue the license in a matter of days.
The longest period of delay in the past has been a week, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit said that this year the web shop owners and or their agents were informed by "servants of the Business Licence Unit" that the Office of the Attorney General (the defendant) has advised the Ministry of Finance to put a halt to licenses being issued to web cafes.
According to Hanna, the matter had to be addressed by Chief Finance and Revenue Officer Joseph Mullings, who circulated a minute paper on March 15, 2013 to all staff about the issuance and renewal of business licenses to web shops.
A copy of the minute paper was filed in court.
It said, "Effective immediately, you can issue new and renewal business licenses to web shops. The only license description will be Internet cafe and Internet related services."
According to the affidavit, the process of getting licenses has been "riddled with hurdles".
The affidavit said Pete Deveaux of Percy Web Cafe reported that after submitting the business license application, paying fees in full and satisfying all other requirements, his company was told by Mullings that he could not issue the license because they were awaiting written confirmation from the Office of the Attorney General.
"It was only after insistent calling that [Deveaux] received the business license on March 27," the affidavit said, adding that some of the other plaintiffs also received licenses last week.
"This has represented a delay that in most cases has been at least three to four times the usual delay in the process."
The affidavit said Whatfall and Asue Draw were still awaiting licenses.
It said, "The plaintiffs (web shop owners) have a history of being fully compliant with all laws and regulations governing their businesses."
The affidavit also said that during the general election campaign and during the referendum campaign members of the Free National Movement (FNM) and their bloggers suggested the web shop owners supported only the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP).
"I am advised by the plaintiffs that it was thereby being suggested that this was done because the PLP had committed to support the plaintiffs," the affidavit said.
"Indeed, much was made during the referendum campaign that the PLP government had a horse in the referendum race."
But the web shop owners have advised that this perception is incorrect, according to the affidavit.
"I am advised that the plaintiffs supported both the PLP and FNM as they always have done," Hanna said.
"If this is disputed they are able to disclose the persons and events together with the amounts that they supported."
The affidavit said the web shop owners met with the government after the general election but are unwilling to disclose the exact contents of these meetings unless it is deemed necessary to do so.
Hanna also said in the affidavit that the need to terminate staff would cause a loss to the plaintiffs "far beyond the financial costs associated with their terminations".
"I am advised by the plaintiffs that they care about the welfare of their employees to the point that they are mentally affected by the prospect of having to terminate persons with whom they have worked closely over the years."
The web shop owners and their attorneys have made an application to have the conservatory order issued by Justice Isaacs extended.
The attorney general is seeking to have that order discharged.
Chief Justice Sir Michael Barnett will today hear arguments from both sides.
Wayne Munroe represents Percy Web Cafe, Island Luck, FML Group of Companies, Asue Draw, Whatfall and Chances.
Former Attorney General Alfred Sears and Jeff Lloyd represent Paradise Games.
Responding to calls for the police to shut down web shop gaming, Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade declared yesterday that no one can tell him how to do his job.
"No one has a right to tell me what date and what time and who and how," said Greenslade at a press conference at Police Headquarters on East Street.
"It can not happen...That is an insult to our intelligence. The Bahamian people must hear me say it can not happen."
However, Greenslade acknowledged that police have an obligation to shut down businesses that are conducting illegal activities.
Greenslade was responding to Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis' criticisms of the government's and police force's "inaction".
Last week, Chief Justice Sir Michael Barnett lifted a conservatory order that protected web shops from interference by authorities.
On Sunday, Minnis urged the police to act in light of that ruling.
"We urge a forthright and immediate course of action by the police to obtain search warrants, to close down all illegal gambling and lottery operations, and to confiscate all computer terminals, servers and the ATM machines which are being used to facilitate illegal gambling, and illegal money transfers, whether that gambling takes place in the web shops themselves, or in private homes, so that the law of The Bahamas, the sound and well considered ruling of the chief justice, and the administration of justice generally are not brought into disrepute by what appears to be lame excuses, and no action by the police and the minister of national security," he said.
Prime Minister Perry Christie also responded to Minnis yesterday.
"The government, the prime minister doesn't get involved in enforcing it. The police know what their job must be," said Christie. "... I can't [insert] myself and say 'go and arrest this one; go and arrest that one.' The police officers are well-trained and a well-led organization and this whole thing about the leader of the opposition, you know what he can do -- tell him go have a swim."
Greenslade said the only thing that can hold his feet to the fire is the law.
"The commissioner is bound to the law," he said.
"I will not take instructions from anyone but the law. It's as simple as that. I'm not 'wishy- washy'.
"And that's a general comment to anyone. I'm not going to be disrespectful to anyone over me.
"I've asked my officers to follow my lead. I'm not going to respond or offer my opinions in an arena where I'm not allowed to. That would be disrespectful."
Greenslade acknowledged that the public has a right to comment on and question police action.
"When you offer a comment it's a comment being offered in The Bahamas, which is a country that you claim to love, I love and we all love and when we have destroyed it because of carelessness, there is no way of turning back," he said.
"I don't know if there is any other way that I can put that to you."
On January 28, a majority of people who voted in a referendum voted against the establishment of a national lottery and the regulation and taxation of web shops.
The next day, Christie ordered all web shop operators to shut down their gaming operations immediately or face arrest and prosecution.
On January 30, attorneys Wayne Munroe and Alfred Sears, a former attorney general, obtained the conservatory order on behalf of Island Luck, Island Game, Whatfall, FML Group of Companies, Asue Draw, Paradise Games and Chances.
The lawyers have appealed Sir Michael's ruling.
The regulation and taxation of the web shop sector is long overdue.
It is unfortunate the Ingraham administration bowed to the church and pulled back from its plan to do so in 2010.
Successive governments have for too long given religious leaders in The Bahamas too strong a voice in matters of governance.
It has been to the detriment of the national interest as it has slowed progress on some fronts.
It is also unfortunate the Christie administration spent precious tax dollars on a botched referendum and will now have to suffer political fallout for going against the wishes of the minority segment of the electorate that turned out to vote amid a great deal of confusion last year.
We have long known that we could not continue forever with web shops operating in an underground economy.
In April 2010, police warned of the dangers of an unregulated sector.
A police intelligence report to then Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said intelligence received showed "the number racketeering business is a lucrative business.
"It is growing by leaps and bounds and at an alarming rate. The Central Intelligence Bureau strongly recommends that a full investigation be conducted to ascertain how it is possible for the Business License Department to issue legitimate business licenses for vendors to operate these illegal businesses without hindrance or intervention from that ministry/department."
It is unclear whether such an investigation ever took place.
What is clear, however, is that in the years since that intelligence report, the web shop sector has continued to grow.
According to a report written in April 2010 by then Acting Financial Secretary the late Ehurd Cunningham, Ingraham had been concerned that legalizing and licencing computer wagering operators would not be a viable option as it would fail to eliminate the many small illegal paper-based operators.
As a result, Cunningham continued, the licenced operators who would be liable for remitting betting taxes would be placed at a competitive disadvantage.
That, in turn, would jeopardize new revenue collections from legalized numbers wagering, the report said.
Cunningham wrote there were a number of valid reasons why such concerns should be allayed and why, as a result, legalizing the numbers business "is in fact a most viable option and a secure source of additional revenues for government".
He noted the Ingraham administration, at the official level, had initiated a two-way dialogue with the major numbers operators with a view to developing a mutually-agreed model for the numbers business.
"The operators themselves are strongly in favor of regularizing their business for their own benefit and that of patrons and their employees," wrote Cunningham in the report titled "Legalizing the numbers business. The fundamental viability of the proposed framework".
"They agree to dutifully abide with the legal requirement to remit appropriate gaming taxes to the government.
"Indeed, they see the proposed model as potentially increasing the size of the market and increasing their own revenues, as partons will want to deal with legal operators that have the backing of the government."
He added that there was also mutual agreement that the status quo is the option that is not viable as the undisciplined small operators will continue to grow and possibly could abuse and jeopardize the welfare of unsuspecting clients.
"The only way to prevent that from happening is for the government to introduce a proper legal framework with very strong sanctions to deter any illegal operators," Cunningham wrote the then prime minister.
He wrote that "under the agreed model", many of the smaller operators will have the option to become franchises of the major licensed operators and their activities will be regularized and controlled by the licensees.
Cunningham added, "The large operators with whom we have met have concurred that it will be to their advantage to report any illegal operators that attempt to continue operations. Within a regularized environment, that will be possible and beneficial to them."
He also reported to the then prime minister and minister of finance that ministry officials had visited web shops and took part in discussions with operators and "they are satisfied that security exists in the system from government's point of view".
Cunningham further advised that all operators agreed for the government to have access to their computer systems to download and to provide whatever information the government requires.
The report to Ingraham also included statistical data from "main operators of wagering transactions".
According to that report, Craig Flowers, of FML Group, estimated to the government that he had 40 percent of the market share with more than 200 employees.
Adrian Fox and Sebas Bastian of Island Luck estimated they held 50 percent of the market share with 120 employees.
Asue Draw owners also estimated they had 50 percent of the market share with 300 employees.
Island Game estimated it had 35 percent market share with 80 employees.
According to Cunningham's report, those four web shop companies' collective estimated daily sum wagered was well over $900,000.
The report also pointed to a "large number of fringe operations" not included in the statistical data.
Additionally, the then prime minister was provided with the bank account information of some of the numbers house bosses.
The report from Cunningham to Ingraham pointed to meaningful work done by the Ministry of Finance up to that point to pave the way for a regularized industry.
Faced with pressure from the religious sector, Ingraham eventually pulled back and promised that if the Free National Movement got elected at the next election it would put the matter to a referendum.
It was not elected.
Today, the Christie administration is moving ahead with regularization. It is in the process of fine tuning the regulations it intends to bring to Parliament and it is making amendments to the Gaming Bill, which has been on the shelf since it was tabled last October.
We note in the regulations the government prepared to accompany the Gaming Bill 2013 that interactive gaming in casinos would be subject to a tax of "five per centum of adjusted gross revenue".
This type of gaming is similar to the online gaming web shop operators have been involved in for years now.
It is reasonable to expect that these Bahamian businessmen will not be taxed higher than casinos on the same type of gaming.
As the government addresses the taxation of web shops, it should also start a very serious discussion about eliminating the discriminatory clause from the Gaming Bill which prohibits Bahamian nationals, permanent residents and work permit holders from gambling in casinos.
But an even more important element of the debate needs to center around Bahamian ownership of casinos.
These issues have lingered for a long time now.
They indeed are complex.
The government's handling of these matters would reflect their level of seriousness when it comes to the stated commitment of Bahamians first.
A webshop employee is the latest murder victim of the year after being shot multiple times in the face at the corporate offices of Asue Draw on East Bay Street.
Web shop bosses scored a major victory yesterday when a judge issued an injunction to prevent them from being shut down until the legality of the industry is determined by the courts.
Senior Justice Jon Isaacs granted the preliminary order, the day after Prime Minister Perry Christie ordered web shop operators to cease business or face prosecution.
The order prevents the attorney general, the commissioner of police, the minister of national security and minister of tourism, who has responsibility for gaming, from interfering with the operations of gambling houses.
The jobs of thousands of web shop employees appeared in jeopardy Tuesday night when Christie ordered the shutdown of web shops after the majority of citizens who voted in the January 28 gaming referendum opposed regulating and taxing the industry.
Lawyers Wayne Munroe and Alfred Sears, a former attorney general, obtained the restraining order on behalf of the principals of Island Luck, Island Game, Whatfall, the FML group, Asue Draw, Paradise Games and Chances during a closed session Wednesday.
Speaking at a press conference following the hearing, Munroe said the application for the injunction was vigorously opposed by Loren Klein, a consultant in the Office of the Attorney General, who said "the court ought not to hinder the police in the discharge of their duties". Klein appeared with Darren Henfield.
Munroe said the injunction was sought after Christie
"made it clear he was going to soldier on".
In granting the injunction, the judge did not determine the merits of the case but found that the applicants had raised a "triable issue", according to Munroe.
He continued, "Bearing in mind that businesses would be disrupted, third parties like workers, creditors, trade persons would be disrupted and there would be no prejudice to the respondents, the judge determined to grant the injunction."
Munroe said that prior to the hearing the attorney general conceded in correspondence that the matter was "eminently suited to be litigated".
Isaacs will not hear the trial. The parties will appear before Chief Justice Sir Michael Barnett on Friday to learn whether he will determine the action or assign the case to another judge.
Munroe said he hoped the matter would be determined "as quickly as reasonably possible".
He said they want the court to determine whether web shops are governed by the Lotteries and Gaming Act and therefore subject to regulation.
"The assertion is that in a free country, you are free to do anything if you're not regulated, or do something without a license, if it's not the subject of legislation," Munroe said.
He said the constitutionality of the Act was also being questioned. Any law that offends the constitution can be declared invalid.
Munroe said the web shop operators also held the legitimate expectation of carrying on their businesses since the government renewed their licenses while aware of the nature of their trade.
Asked if he was prepared to argue the issues to the Privy Council, the country's final appellate court Munroe said, "We should hope if someone is taking it to the Privy Council, it would be the other party."
Munroe said he had a "degree of satisfaction" since the web shop employees could now have peace of mind.
"I understand that absenteeism was up because people were quite frankly afraid," he said.