By Sylvan Richards MP
Caribbean News Now readers will be aware that writers for the opposition Progressive Labour Party (PLP) in Bermuda have written several columns criticizing the government for its policies. I write to caution the Caribbean audience against swallowing whole some of the accusations that have been made.
Sylvan Richards is the member of Bermuda’s parliament for the Hamilton South constituency and the junior minister of home affairs. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The latest attempt to distort the truth and attempt to destablise Bermuda’s economic recovery was penned by PLP propagandist, Chris Famous, and concerns the granting of Bermuda citizenship to Permanent Resident Certificate (PRC) holders, of which there are approximately 1,455 eligible people.
Mr Famous throws out wildly exaggerated numbers and uses disingenuous distortions of government policies to sow confusion and fear amongst Bermudians.
The PLP’s often-repeated rallying cry that rich foreigners will come to Bermuda and buy up property, take over businesses and relegate Bermudians to the poverty-stricken fringes is alarmist and absurd. Many of the PRC holders in Bermuda, some who have lived and contributed to the island for more than 30 and 40 years, already own property and businesses. They are our family, colleagues, neighbours and friends. A recent poll also showed 57% of voters favoured granting PRC holders full citizenship. At the end of the day, this is also a basic human right – ironic that the PLP would be so opposed given their demand for equality, jobs and justice.
Certainly the biggest inconvenient truth being glossed over by the opposition and Mr Famous is that it was the PLP government's negligence when amending the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act in 2002 that made it possible for these 1,455 PRC holders to apply for status. And, as has been outlined in several legal opinions, there is nothing the government of the day can do to stop this process. Any legislation we try to pass now, especially since the chief justice interpreted the legislation the way he did, will be seen as the government of Bermuda trying to take back rights already conferred by the amendment. It simply can't be undone.
The OBA government is working tirelessly to bring investment and jobs to Bermuda and get Bermudians working.
Mr Famous and the opposition are working tirelessly to undermine the efforts of the government, obscure the past record of the PLP administration that wrecked Bermuda’s economy, and, despite all the rhetoric, created the avenue for PRC holders to obtain Bermuda status.
The OBA government is moving Bermuda forward and I would caution Caribbean News Now readers to treat Mr Famous’ opinions as those coming from a petulant child kicking sand in people’s faces simply because he didn’t get his way.