Chris Furbert, Jason Hayward, and Rev. Nicholas Tweed. *File photo by Glenn Tucker
Chris Furbert, Jason Hayward, and Rev. Nicholas Tweed. *File photo by Glenn Tucker

In view of the recent debate regarding the loophole in the law that provides a pathway to citizenship for PRC holders, and the defeat of the effort to fix the law by the government, The People’s Campaign for Equality, Jobs, and Justice is hereby urging the government to immediately suspend applications for status based upon this loophole. In addition we are calling for proper bi-partisan legislation to close the loophole forthwith.

This loophole has been acknowledged by both parties to be a genuine oversight in the law, which in turn, violates the intent of the law. This is in view of the fact that neither party was aware of the loophole when the law was passed. Most importantly, this law was never intended to provide a pathway to Bermudian status.

It is therefore incumbent upon the government to take immediate action in order to avoid the further deterioration of the issue. Bermuda is now witnessing the growth of polarizing lines, in which people are either demonized as being “xenophobic or anti foreigner,” or they are accused of giving citizenship away for 30 pieces of silver.

Fix the legislation

The people’s Campaign for Equality, Jobs, and Justice, hold that the honorable thing for the government to do is to fix the loophole legislatively. In doing so, the original intent of the law would be preserved. It would also go a long way toward restoring the confidence of the people, in the integrity of government.

Then if the government wishes to have a review of the current pathway to citizenship, that pathway should be undertaken on its own merit through the establishment of a formal review process. Such a review should be guided by a desire to develop pathways to citizenship, which are fair and equitable. The pathways should strike a balance between the needs of a small country such as Bermuda, and the rights of émigré’s.

The loophole may provide some short-term political expediency in terms of providing potential voters who fall within the traditional demographic of particular political interests.

However the long-term damage is that this action would legitimize the already growing mistrust of many Bermudians in the integrity of government. Such actions will continue to fracture and divide the country. This is a time when all leaders of this country should be working in unison to restore the trust and confidence of the people.

The government has a great opportunity to demonstrate to the people of Bermuda, mature, forthright, and moral leadership on this issue. Specifically at a time when confidence in the political system is deteriorating.

We firmly believe that charting the right course on this issue will go a long way toward restoring the confidence of the people in the government to do the right thing for all of the people of Bermuda. On behalf of the people of Bermuda, we thank you in advance for your cooperation in this matter of Social and National Importance.

Rev. Nicholas Tweed Jason Hayward Chris Furbert, JP