[Island Times] Palau President Continues To Oppose Casino Bills
Remengesau says 2011 referendum proves public opposition to gambling
By Aurea Gerundio-Dizon
KOROR, Palau (Island Times, May 16, 2013) –President Tommy Remengesau Jr. is sticking by the peoples’ decision on the casino issue as displayed in the 2011 referendum.
Earlier reports showed that a bill permitting controlled gaming on the island was again introduced in the 9th Senate. This measure was introduced by Sen. Hokkons Baules.
The bill aims to attract high-end tourists, an idea that the new administration is working on.
But Remengesau, when asked for his position on the bill during a press conference Wednesday at Palau Wave Radio station, stated that the position of the people in the last referendum clearly enunciated what they wanted.
The 2011 referendum on whether or not to legalize casino establishment in Palau showed that 75.5 percent of the voters are against casino.
The president said that every congressmen or citizen has the right to continue to advocate whatever their belief is. However, he will be consistent with the peoples’ position until there is a change of law or another referendum that would show otherwise.
Before the referendum, proposals to establish casino gaming in Palau had also been rejected.
Remengesau first vetoed a casino bill in 2003. In 2009, former president Johnson Toribiong also vetoed a casino bill.
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