Christopher Famous, PLP Assistant Organizer, Central Region *File photo
Christopher Famous, PLP Assistant Organizer, Central Region *File photo

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 1: Christopher Famous, PLP Assistant Organizer, Central Region, today released the following statement:

We have spent the last few years burying our sons and brothers because of senseless physical violence and have more to bury as we speak. We have taken much time to appeal to all segments of society to start to understand we all are part and parcel of both the problem and the solution.

We say all this against the backdrop of reading some of the most hostile language submitted on behalf of the One Bermuda Alliance.

“The Progressive Labour Party has known this since they put the Term Limit Policy in place. The only effect the Policy has is to make non-Bermudians feel uncomfortable.

We believe the reason they went ahead with putting the Policy in place was to pander to the xenophobic views of those Bermudians who would like Bermuda to be foreigner-free.”

- Michael Branco Deputy OBA Chairman.

Just who in the devil does Mr. Branco think he is talking to? 16,700 Bermudians voted for the PLP in 2007 - is he calling them xenophobic?

Let us refresh Mr. Branco’s memory bank.

In the mid 1990s the United Bermuda Party was going to deport nearly 300 Portuguese families whilst persons such as Trevor Moniz folded their arms and did nothing to help his fellow Azoreans. The Progressive Labour Party put a wholesale stop to the deportation of these folks and created the Permanent Residency Certificate.

This was the right thing to do then. Just ask the thousands of Portuguese Bermudians.

As a consequence there now was a situation in where the question became, how do we prevent this situation form occurring again? How to we address the expectation of persons remaining in Bermuda for such an extended period of time that they will now have reasonable expectation to expect residency?

Hence, the birth of Term Limits; a policy of which International Business was part of the crafting.

Fast forward to 2011/2012 - the OBA in their election campaign mantra stated clearly time and time again that they would only seek to suspend term limits for 2 years and review it to seek an alternative policy. Less than 2 months into office they have abolished term limits without any public input or announcement of alternative policy.

When asked why the rush to abolish and not have a review we are met with total insult and disdain. Anyone who witnessed Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy’s responses at his press conference should have been completely offended at the tone and tenor he expressed.

Let us remember the OBA is the party who stated they wished to do politics differently and wished to stop the divisive ways of the past. So where in this lies the tone set by Minister Fahy by articulating outright untruthful statements and Mr. Branco by compounding the issue with his words of division and slander?

Perhaps Mr. Branco has not received the memo.

Again let me refresh his memory.

15,949 persons voted for OBA

14,218 persons voted for PLP

12,790 persons abstained from voting

We ask Mr. Branco, which of the approximately 27,000 persons who did not vote for the OBA is he calling xenophobic?  Which of these 27,000 persons who did not vote for the OBA is he stating wish for Bermuda to be foreigner free?

Would it be Paula Cox whose husband is from Cameroon?

Would it be Walter Roban whose father hails from St. Vincent?

Would it Be Marc Bean whose wife is Bahamian?

Would it be David Burt whose wife is American?

Would it be me, whose mother and wife are born West Indians?

Would it be the thousands of foreign born persons who have voted for the PLP since day one?

Would it be my aunt Shurnette Caines, born in Jamaica, that he is accusing of wanting Bermuda to be foreigner free?

We call upon Mr. Branco to retract this statement immediately and lower his tone towards the PLP and its family of supporters.

Bermuda is on a social precipice, one of which there can be dangerous recourse for us as an island, if the political leadership does not act in a manner befitting mutual respect, in the face of political differences.

The youth of this island watch our every move and this disrespectful tone thrown towards the multitudes of PLP supporters is an unhealthy precedent to set.

The salient facts remain, the OBA promised time over time that they will only suspend, with a look to review. They also promised transparency. They did not mention anything about calling PLP supporters xenophobic.

They will do well to remember they have a moral responsibility to ease the tension, not increase it.

We await an apology from Mr. Branco and the OBA.