KSAC's lottery licence request rejected
Mark Beckford, Staff Reporter
The Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) has denied the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation's (KSAC) application for a city lottery.
Derek Peart, executive director of the BGLC, told The Gleaner the KSAC was not granted a licence, as legal advice it had sought from the attorney general said the council did not have the right to operate a lottery.
Quoting from a letter addressed to the KSAC and its lawyers dated October 30, 2009, Peart said: "The advice of the chambers is (A): the KSAC did not have the power to enter into an agreement with Punters Paradise Limited, as this was not expressly authorised or incidental to the discharge of its function. In light of the fact that it was not within, but outside of the powers conferred by any legislation or the common law, the agreement was ultra viries."
However, Lee Clarke, deputy mayor of Kingston, said the council was still awaiting a response from the BGLC.
In a past interview with The Gleaner, Clarke had said the council would be seeking intervention from Prime Minister Bruce Golding.
Clarke said the KSAC had not approached Golding because it had not received a response from the BGLC.
According to Clarke, the BGLC's correspondence only pointed to its initial action of asking the attorney general's advice on the matter.
Clarke said that the KSAC had applied under the Parish Council Act, Section 111. That section states: "A Parish Council may, from time to time, in accordance with the provisions of this section, prepare and make a scheme (hereafter in this Act referred to as a local scheme) in relation to the performance by the Council in the parish of services, which they may not otherwise be authorised to perform, and thereafter carry out such scheme."
The section of the act also says the scheme would have to be approved, modified or rejected by the minister in charge of local government based on advice he receives.
The KSAC launched an application for the lottery in November 2008 in what was a move to raise enough money for the council to operate on its own. The lottery, which would be a joint public-private venture, would raise $80-100 million monthly, according to Clarke.
Peart is, however, insisting that the BGLC had sent correspondence to the KSAC and its lawyers. He said that the BGLC had responded to the KSAC on October 30 last year, telling them of the BGLC's decision. He said letters had also been exchanged between the two entities late last year and early this year discussing the decision.
Clarke is also contending that there appears to be heavy lobbying against the KSAC receiving a licence, however, Peart has slammed those claims, saying the commission is acting within its regulations and not on lobbying.