"People just aren't listening...we have only got one refugee for each 100 years of Bermuda's relationship with America."

This was Immigration Minister David Burch's reaction when he was given a hard time by listeners to the Everest DeCosta talk radio show yesterday afternoon.

Angry callers said: "This has been truly handed wrongly." "You are trying to push them onto us." "We can't take these people, we are only 21 miles long."

Minister Burch said: "I'm not sure people have listened to the Premier's full statement and how we got to this decision.

"Of course there are going to be people who think we have got it wrong.

"I expect people will disagree but they disagree with most decisions we make.

"We truly believe this was the right thing to do, the right decision to make."

Minister Burch added: "We are talking about four individuals who are immigrants, who are refugees, who need our help."

The Immigration Minister revealed a request had been made to Bermuda by Guantanamo Bay Czar Ambassador Daniel Fried, who was appointed by President Obama to find countries willing to assist.

The matter was then discussed during two meetings at the White House last month.

Minister Burch said: "We did it, we made the decision ourselves.

"We couldn't make a decision of this magnitude by asking 65,000 people's opinion. We would still be debating it until the Lord came again.

"The relationship we've had with the U.S. has been a lengthy one and we are good friends, so when a friend asks you to do something you consider it.

"It's only one refugee for each 100 years of our relationship with America.

"Our relationship has always been strong and this action will only strengthen it further."

Minister Burch claimed it was not a "quid pro quo" deal where "if we take this, we get this."

When asked if the detainees would fit into society, Minister Burch said: "They'll be fine. Bermuda is an international place."

Two of the men speak English fluently and have trades, while the other two taught themselves "a little" at Guantanamo Bay.

Minister Burch said: "The mentality of Guantanamo Bay is that most people believe everyone there is a guilty terrorist - that's clearly not the case.

"These people deserve to have fairness and justice.

"The vast majority of people in Bermuda are Christians and supporters of human rights so they should be supporters of this."

Minister Burch, who was answering questions on the radio for about 30 minutes, even joked: "Our tourism will go up after all this publicity."