“The truth is an offence, but not a sin”

— Bob Marley

During the lead-up to the 2012 election, I wrote a piece in the Bermuda Sun headlined ‘Term Limits are in Place to Put us Bermudians First’. It pointed out the fairly obvious desire of the OBA to eliminate term limits.

Shortly after that, I was approached via Facebook by Doug Soares of Expertise Ltd. Expertise Ltd. is one of Bermuda’s largest human resource companies and specializes in recruitment, immigration processing and relocation. They have an office in the Philippines that outsources Bermudian jobs for large companies. 

Suspending term limits 

During a few inbox exchanges, Doug spoke about the need for Bermuda to temporarily suspend term limits. He essentially stated that we should trust that the OBA would not abolish term limits, and that all will be fine for Bermudians.

In January, 2013, I met with Richard Winchell, the then-president of ABIC, to discuss term limits. He basically repeated the same claim of Doug Soares that the OBA will only suspend term limits and all will be well for Bermudians.

Well, we know how that turned out. The OBA did not tell the truth, and abolished term limits all together. I guess we’ll never know for sure whether or not some folks might have known the true intention of the OBA but attempted to paint it in a different light.

Double talk

In the lead-up to the 2012 election, Michael Dunkley and Craig Cannonier were both asked if the OBA intended to allow PRC holders to gain Bermudian status. They both denied that the OBA would do so.

In September, 2013, Minister Fahy asked for the source of my figures on the number of PRC holders. I stated to him that they are official government figures from the 2010 Census. So it would seem that the OBA was contemplating granting status at that point.

Suddenly, the OBA is now attempting to equate this as a human rights concern, and even went as far as comparing it to a refugee situation. For the record, PRCs are not stateless and still retain citizenship in their home countries.

Let’s take a look at the ramifications of thousands of persons gaining Bermudian status:

Jobs: Currently there is an immigration policy that dictates a hiring hierarchy: 

Bermudians —  Spouses of Bermudians — PRC holders — Work permit holders.

Currently, an estimated 4,000 Bermudians are unemployed. The Bermudian youth unemployment rate is approximately 38%. 

According to the 2013 Labour Force Survey: 

Unemployment rates among Bermudians (7%), among PRCs (2%)

• PRC median income — $81,601 versus Bermudian median income — $58,640

• PRC underemployment – 9.5% versus Bermudian underemployment – 17.5%

Competition

Granting status to PRC holders would place them in direct competition with Bermudians for employment. Is this fair to Bermudians?

Land: Approximately 38% of our residential land is owned by non-Bermudians. Legislation is currently in place to restrict property ownership by PRCs. With status comes the removal of such restrictions and unlimited access to property ownership. Is this fair to future generations of Bermudians?

Education: The OBA promised to create a pathway to status for children born in Bermuda to guest worker parents. If these children, along with the children of PRCs, are granted status, they would now be able to actively compete for higher education scholarship funding.  The OBA has slashed financial-need-based scholarships from $750k to $40k. Is this fair to Bermudian students?

Track record

The OBA has misled Bermudians on several issues, including:

• Term limits;

• Privatization;

• JetGate

• Lamb Foggo Clinic;

• Cutting seniors’ benefits;

• Creating jobs;

• Lowering national debt;

• Referendum on gaming.

On this issue of PRCs, which affects every Bermudian, Minister Fahy, who is responsible for Immigration, has been painfully silent. 

The OBA is not telling Bermudians the full truth on the ramifications for Bermudians by granting status to PRC holders.  

The OBA clearly is not acting in the best interests of Bermudians.

Therefore, Bermudians must stand up for themselves without apologies. 

Feedback: carib_pro@yahoo.com