January 28, 2013
Organizers of the Vote No campaign said vandals defaced at least eight of their signs urging Bahamians to vote against legalizing web shop gaming and the establishment of a national lottery.
"They've been slashed, torn up, thrown down, impaled and ripped up," said Lyall Bethel, pastor of Grace Community Church yesterday.
Bethel said the group was disappointed that vandals would trash the signs when the Vote No campaign was already working within a limited budget of "several thousand" dollars.
"We're not necessarily casting aspersions; we always know there are going to be people who get too excited, [but] we have been saying for quite some time that there is a lawlessness going on and we've called on the powers that be to stem this lawlessness."
Bethel said he thinks a Vote Yes march on Bay Street last Wednesday heightened emotions, which led to the signs being defaced.
"It's unfortunate that tactics like that that frighten people or make people feel that they shouldn't vote their conscience impact us like that," he said.
Mario Moxey, pastor at Bahamas Harvest Church, thinks the vandalism is a sign that opponents of the Vote Yes campaign are "extremely desperate".
"We feel as though this is just another example of the mockery of democracy we have going on in this country, and just a snap of the lawlessness that has been prevailing in this nation from this whole thing began," he said.
Kevin Harris, public relations officer for the Vote No campaign, urged like-minded people to come to the polls today.
"This is an indication that we need to come out in strong numbers on Monday and really make a bold statement that we will not tolerate what we believe really is an indication of the industry we are speaking to," Harris said.
"I believe that on Monday we have a chance to put the order back in law and order. I believe if we get to the polls early and in large numbers as Bahamians we can finally restore law and order in our country in this regard."
A spokesman from Vote Yes said its supporters did not ruin the signs.
The group also claimed some of its signs and billboards were vandalized as well.
The Vote No campaign held a rally on Friday and staged a motorcade through the streets of New Providence on Saturday. The group also held a march and rally at Arawak Cay yesterday.
Vote Yes meanwhile held a rally at Clifford Park on Saturday night.
Polls open today for the gambling referendum. Voters will be asked if they support the regulation and taxation of web shop gaming and if they support the creation of a national lottery.
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News date : 01/28/2013 Category : Nassau Guardian Stories