The deputy chairman of the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission is expected to resign today.
Sources told The Royal Gazette that Garry Madeiros was set to step down at the end of a meeting at the regulatory body’s office this afternoon.
The meeting is the last to be chaired by Alan Dunch, who quit last month after tourism minister Jamahl Simmons tabled an amendment to the law to give himself the power to sack commissioners without cause.
All five commissioners opposed the Bill, which is due to be debated by MPs on Friday.
The amendment, if approved, would force the commission to follow “general directions” on policy given by the minister and allow him to remove commissioners in circumstances he “considers appropriate”.
Mr Dunch issued a statement on behalf of the commission last month that warned that the amendment would give the minister the “power to interfere in all of the commission’s dealings and ongoing work”.
The statement said: “It means the minister is asking Parliament to give him an absolute, unchallengeable right to tell the commission what to do and the commission, despite its own convictions and expertise, will be unable to refuse.
“It means Bermuda’s gaming industry may essentially become an arm of the Government.
“Who we issue gaming licences to and who we approve as operators, may no longer be based on our internal, and internationally recognised suitability standards, but those of the minister’s.”
Mr Simmons told reporters at a press conference that the Government would push ahead with the gaming amendment, despite the concerns of the commission and overseas industry experts.
He said that the change would not allow him to influence licence decisions.
Mr Dunch’s successor as chairman will be magistrate Cheryl Ann Mapp.
The remaining commissioners are Judith Hall-Bean and Dennis Tucker, both Bermudians, and Derek Ramm, the director of anti-money laundering for the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.
Richard Schuetz, the gaming commission’s executive director, resigned on July 18 and is serving out his notice period until the end of the year. A replacement for him has yet to be found.
Mr Madeiros and Mr Dunch declined to comment yesterday.
• UPDATE: this article has been amended to reflect that Richard Schuetz resigned on July 18, not in August.