An area resident gave me a ride into Hamilton the other day. He happily announced that he's married now. Let's just say he's about a year or so away from a free bus pass, so I said "oh, who's the lucky bride?" He smiled, eyes all bright, and said "I married a Filipino, she's in her late 50s, and I agreed to marry her over the phone, without even knowing what she looked like."

I said "oh, how's it going?" He said "well she doesn't speak any English and I don't speak her language, but we work it out - everything else is great!"

"How did you get the marriage hook-up?" I asked. He said a friend of his is married to a Filipino, "my wife is her cousin and guess what," he added, "it only took a few weeks to get her here."

"Wow, just a few weeks?" I asked, he smiled and said "that's right!"

Later, after he kindly dropped me off in the city of Hamilton, I couldn't help but wonder - wow, just like that, how is it that this could happen so fast - a mail order bride in a matter of weeks? Interesting.

So where are we exactly in 2010 on Bermuda's immigration law as it relates to stuff like this.

We have a minister who has gone on record as saying the country's system of immigration is broken, that's right - broken.

The non-Bermudian spouses of Bermudians make up the country's workforce as well, and from where I sit it would appear the work available here is getting thin.

To get a handle on that, lets scroll back a bit to 1998. I remember the day the Progressive Labour Party won the election.

I remember the joy and the nationwide sense of hope. I remember the then widespread assertion - hope is immediate, change is gradual.

I remember the sea of people on Court Street that night. I remember me and my dearly departed sister didn't get home until the sun was coming up.

Round-up

I remember one of the first ministers assigned to immigration in the inaugural PLP Cabinet was Paula Cox. To date, she remains the only PLP Minister to order the round up of illegal immigrants. There hasn't been another round-up like that one since.

There was a buzz at the time with reports of 'so-and-so who agreed to marriage for money so that Mr. or Mrs. Non-Bermudian could stay here and work'.

Add to that, further word that it wouldn't be long before the spouse of that Bermudian would be the proud parent of a Bermudian born child, which by the way gives them additional parental rights when it comes to the issue of immigration.

Yes, I believe children need both parents no matter what. What I'm wondering is, what kind of homes are they being raised in under the guise of marriage, that's based on money and not love?

What troubles me most is the fact that people can come here under all sorts of pretences and stay here, some indefinitely, some legitimately, some not.

They exist in the full glare of public scrutiny with virtually no worries. Some even make jokes among themselves about how easy it is to just stay here, in my country, most for as long as they want.

Those who are beating the system present problems for natives worldwide. The problem here in Bermuda is we're just a very small 21-square-mile part of the world.

And we all have a part to play in it. But we Bermudians don't have the luxury or privilege of driving on to the next border.

We're surrounded by water in a country now strapped for jobs for Bermudians, not to mention affordable housing.

Which begs the question, how many people can we hold in this country in the name of Bermuda's economy? And better yet, how is it that it appears to be so easy to ship in a mail order bride or groom in a matter of weeks?

I'm happy to say that the powers that be tell me it is an area to be addressed in the not too distant future.

And soon, with new visa restrictions, it may not be so easy to ship in that would-be bride or groom.

Time will tell on this one.