Voting power? "CURB views this as the continuation of a history of racialized immigration policy that has consistently been applied to the detriment of Black Bermudians." *iStock photo
Voting power? "CURB views this as the continuation of a history of racialized immigration policy that has consistently been applied to the detriment of Black Bermudians." *iStock photo

CURB has called upon Government to halt the process of granting status to PRC holders and close a legal loophole.

It says the OBA is taking the “path of least resistance” after it learned about government’s decision concerning the withdrawal of the appeal against Justice Kawaley’s decision on the right of PRC holders to seek Bermudian Status. 

A CURB statement said: “It should by now be well understood that the loophole being exploited as a pathway to citizenship is the result of an error in legislation, being neither the intent nor the spirit of the law at the time. 

“While some may feel that exploiting flawed legislation to achieve their ends is just, CURB views this as the continuation of a history of racialized immigration policy that has consistently been applied to the detriment of Black Bermudians.”

CURB added: “It is well within the government’s remit to withdraw the appeal and to suspend processing of applications for Bermudian Status subject to the completion of comprehensive immigration reform.”

The organization said Bermuda is deeply divided over the issue .

It said the OBA should “take into account Bermuda’s oppressive and discriminatory history with regard to racialized immigration legislation and discriminatory voting rights. We call on government to listen to the increasing concerns of further marginalization and disenfranchisement of the Black Bermudian community, and ensure that the process is transparent and fully participatory, and that the end result forms a community consensus on a national immigration plan for the 21st century.

It said given that 578 PRC’s are of British descent, 545 PRCs are of Portuguese descent, 157 or so are of Jamaican descent and the remainder from elsewhere. The OBA fails to acknowledge the ‘elephant in the room’ (i.e. that it is likely that approximately 1,200 or more of the 1,455 PRCs are white).

It said based on history, most of these PRC holders would vote for the OBA.

“CURB believes that continuing this pattern of ‘watering down’ the Black Bermudian vote by instantaneously giving Bermudian status to over 1,455 individuals (and eventually spouses and children) is understandably viewed as one more attempt to minimize and marginalize the Black vote.” 

You can read more here:  http://bit.ly/CurbPP9


CURB press release

Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda (CURB) was dismayed to hear the government’s announcement in the Senate yesterday concerning the withdrawal of the appeal against Justice Kawaley’s decision on the right of PRC holders to seek Bermudian Status. It should by now be well understood that the loophole being exploited as a pathway to citizenship is the result of an error in legislation, being neither the intent nor the spirit of the law at the time. While some may feel that exploiting flawed legislation to achieve their ends is just, CURB views this as the continuation of a history of racialized immigration policy that has consistently been applied to the detriment of Black Bermudians.

This short-sighted, politically expedient “path of least resistance” approach is wholly unacceptable in a modern democracy. The government, based on Senator Michael Fahy’s statement in the Senate yesterday, seems to have drawn the conclusion that withdrawing the appeal against Justice Kawaley’s decision “means that the avenue to Bermuda status for certain PRC holders that was created by the previous government in 2001 will stand.” This does not have to be the case. It is well within the government’s remit to withdraw the appeal and to suspend processing of applications for Bermudian Status subject to the completion of comprehensive immigration reform.

Given the passionate, increasingly vitriolic, public debate through opinion pieces, blog postings and social media sites it is clear that our community is broadly divided over this issue. We reiterate our call for the government to immediately put on hold all status applications and carry out a comprehensive and bi-partisan immigration review, which should include the people’s input through public hearings, and take into account Bermuda’s oppressive and discriminatory history with regard to racialized immigration legislation and discriminatory voting rights. We call on government to listen to the increasing concerns of further marginalization and disenfranchisement of the Black Bermudian community, and ensure that the process is transparent and fully participatory, and that the end result forms a community consensus on a national immigration plan for the 21st century.

From yesterday’s statement in the Senate we note that although the government states that “578 PRC’s are of British descent, 545 PRC’s are of Portuguese descent, 157 or so are of Jamaican descent and the remainder hail originally from Canada, America, Philippines, Barbados, Ireland and many other countries,” they fail to acknowledge the ‘elephant in the room’ (i.e. that it is likely that approximately 1,200 or more of the 1,455 PRCs are white). An analysis of Bermuda’s historic voting patterns (with monolithic white support for one particular political entity) suggests that the majority of PRCs would vote predominantly OBA.

CURB believes that continuing this pattern of ‘watering down’ the Black Bermudian vote by instantaneously giving Bermudian status to over 1,455 individuals (and eventually spouses and children) is understandably viewed as one more attempt to minimize and marginalize the Black vote. Given this history, it is only fair and right, that government reviews Bermuda’s Immigration Policy in a public and transparent manner prior to awarding status to PRCs.

We attach CURB’s position paper on both historic and contemporary racialized immigration policies (available at: http://bit.ly/CurbPP9). This paper details systemic attempts over hundreds of years to decrease the Black population and increase the white population by a variety of oppressive means. We believe that due to the suppression of Black history the story of this oppression is not known by the majority of Black or white Bermudians, and thus without this information they cannot make an informed decision about this matter.

 

Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda
“The time is always right to do what is right” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.