NASSAU, The Bahamas – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation the Hon. Chester Cooper officially launched the Corporate Social Investment Initiative Administrative Committee, responsible for administering funds from licensed Gaming Houses in The Bahamas.
The launch, which commemorated 100 years of Gaming in the country, was held on Sunday, July 17, 2022 in the Bimini Room at Baha Mar Convention Centre. Also present was Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis.
“One hundred years of Gaming is a landmark achievement. Collating all of the history and material and facts that came together over the century to lay the foundation for the thriving Gaming destination, of which The Bahamas is today, is a fantastic feat,” said the deputy prime minister, the Minister responsible for Gaming. He also underscored the importance of the launch and the work of the committee.
“This afternoon we are launching what should grow to become one of the most aspiring, well-funded and managed philanthropies in the history of our country.
“Thousands of deserving persons and organizations are going to benefit in very meaningful ways,” said the deputy prime minister.
He explained that those funds would be distributed to deserving charities, sporting organizations and similar interests. This is all in keeping with the provisions of the Gaming Act.
The deputy prime minister then presented the “distinguished and exemplary” members of the committee, who will have charge and administration of the disbursement of funds from Gaming Houses licensed to operate in The Bahamas.
Members of the committee are:
- Clifford “Butch” Scavella – Chairman, former Commodore of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force;
- Elaine Bullard-Foster — a seasoned aviation professional, who has distinguished herself by working with displaced youth;
- Paul Farquharson, former Commissioner of the Royal Bahamas Police Force;
- Hendrick Nairn, an accomplished accountant and mentor in the profession;
- Rev. Dr. Shelton Higgs of The New Lively Hope Baptist Church and a leader in the Baptist Convention;
- Alexandria Maillis Lynch, a pillar at The Ranfurly Home for Children, and champion in the inner city with troubled youth; and,
- Ex-officio members Ian Tynes, secretary to the Board; and Greg Smith, Deputy Secretary in the Office of the Executive Chairman.
The Committee will be funded by one per cent of the earnings of the Gaming Houses as contained in the Gaming Legislation.
“We appreciate the Gaming Houses and their eagerness to co-operate and support this initiative,” the deputy prime minister said, while reminding the nation that many of these Gaming Houses and their associates have been doing exemplary charitable work across the country.
“I would hope that this practice will also continue as we move to streamline this give back and philanthropy in an organized and transparent protocol,” he said.
He added that the country owes its sincere gratitude and appreciation to those Gaming Houses which have stepped up to provide for those in need through food basket give-a ways during COVID, and other “unheralded acts” of goodwill.
“As Minister responsible for gaming; I charge this Committee to administer and manage the affairs of their operations at the highest standards of compliance, transparency and accountability.
“Allow every deserving charity, individual and national cause an equal and fair opportunity to apply and to be heard as to a request, proposition and need,” he said.
Added the deputy prime minister, “I encourage gaming houses to continue to identify at-risk patrons and do all you can to provide intervention and rehabilitation where appropriate.
“Finally, I urge you not to forget the Family Islands. There are great needs in the Family islands.…” was his appeal. The deputy prime minister thanked members of the Board and staff for their commitment and work.