FRIDAY, NOV. 30: “Ending term limits” — Bill Zuill RG Oct 26, 2012

 “Term limits must be scrapped” — Larry Burchall RG Oct 24, 2012

“Removing the term limit policy” — Richard Winchell “executive director of ABIC, RG Oct 26 2012

“Suspend term limits and figure something out later” — Bob Richards

 

The term limits issue is the modern day Snakes and Ladders game and perhaps is one of the central planks of this election.

Pro-business proponents are clear — they want term limits scrapped. The Regular Joe and Jane Bermuda are basically stating, “no way in hell do we remove this.”

Let’s take a look at what the policy is actually about. Term limits were formulated in order to prevent long term residents (LTR) from remaining here for more than 20 years and thus seeking Bermudian status on a human rights basis.

Take your minds back to the mid 1990s, when many Portuguese-Bermudians were being forced off the island by the UBP. Persons were forced to move back to the Azores, basically deported. Once in power, the PLP did the right thing and gave them Permanent Residency Certificates (PRC).

Fast forward to 2012, we are being force fed the message that “Term limits are why we have a recession in Bermuda” — that is, because people cannot get to stay here indefinitely and vote they are leaving.

“My wife is American and I am Canadian and since as permanent residency certificate holders we don’t get the right to vote, we decided to vote with our feet and leave” — Kevin Comeau, RG, Aug. 7, 2012

‘Sir John Swan went on to posit that the majority of these people were white and unlikely to vote for the Progressive Labour Party’  — RG, Sept. 18 2012.

So who is playing the race card here? Think about why they chose those words.

In speaking with many Bermudians across the spectrum, one thing seems clear; most Bermudians do not wish for non-Bermudians to have the ability to gain status and to vote. Many clearly remember when the UBP allowed UK residents to move here in the 1970s and after 3 years, they were basically handed Bermudian status on a silver platter and allowed to vote. Quite a slap in the face for thousands of born Bermudians, who had been here all their lives and were denied the right to vote because they were black, female or did not own land.

For this reason alone, most Bermudians will never trust the UBP/OBA when they constantly expound why they wish to open the floodgates for guest workers to reside here.

IB organizations have hired law firms in England to review the issue of guest workers giving up their rights to seek citizenship.

I clearly understand the stance of OBA supporters who own office buildings, luxury rental homes and retail businesses. For them it is all about the dollar. More people means more profits. 2+2 = 4.They throw in the “trickle down” line to rope in the small guy.

“As cruel as it may seem, the strident cries of “I need a job now” will have to be listened to while all efforts real, strong, energetic but disciplined efforts are made to get foreign investors”

— Sir John Swan & Larry Burchall RG OCT 15 2012.

Putting Bermudians first? I know many residents of Bermuda who have spent most of their lives here. Essentially this is their home. They work, raise children, pay taxes and contribute to our diversity. So where is the happy medium?

As a Libra I am prone to seek balance. Yes, we need persons here to keep the economy bubbling. But do we give away the shop and become like Cayman Islands? Born Caymanians are now outnumbered by guest workers, who now seemingly dictate as to how the Cayman Islands will be run. We all need to be open about fears, resentments, political and economic ambitions. Business folks want money, Bermudians want their island. Guest workers are caught in the crosshairs. This must be the next ‘Big Conversation.’

As leaders we must seek compromise on this issue. Is the Caymanian situation what the OBA will bring to Bermuda? Their slogan is Putting Bermuda First. Should it not have been ‘Putting Bermudians First?’