By Christopher Famous
Ladies and gentlemen, in the following text we will lay out a track record of the UBP/OBA actions regarding immigration in the island of Bermuda.
Christopher Famous is a Caribbean real estate developer and business owner. Raised in various Caribbean islands such as; Bermuda, Jamaica, St Eustatius and St Kitts and Tortola. He has a weekly social and political column in The Royal Gazette. Feedback to: firstname.lastname@example.org
• In the lead up to the 2007 election, the UBP headed up by then opposition leader Michael Dunkley pledged to grant status to all PRC holders. The UBP went on to lose that election
• In the lead up to the 2012 election, during a radio interview on the Everest Dacosta show OBA deputy leader Michael Dunkley stated that the OBA would not be granting Bermudian status to PRC holders
• In the lead up to the 2012 election, the OBA stated that they would suspend term limits for two years and look to review the policy
• In February 2013, the OBA unilaterally abolished term limits without any form of public consultation. The OBA then went on to deny that they had any intentions of giving status to PRC holders.
• On January 31, 2013, the OBA attempted to grant children of guest workers the ability to seek employment:
“These young people, like our young people, were too young to spend summers overseas on their own, and regarded themselves as too old for summer day camp. But they were old enough to find a summer job in Bermuda.” ~ Senator Fahy
• Also on January 31, 2013, Minister of Home Affairs Michael Fahy disbanded term limits, opening the floodgates for expats to gain the right to long-term residency:
“The ministry obtained some time ago legal advice that demonstrated unequivocally the law, as it currently exists, was sufficient to limit reasonable expectation of permanent residents. Term limits are not required in any way to do that. Period.” ~ Senator Fahy
• February 13, 2013, Minister Fahy proposed to amend the work permit policy to allow children of work permit holders who are under 19 years of age to work during the summer without the requirement for a work permit, despite Bermuda youth reported to have an unemployment rate of 39%.
• February 19, 2013, Minister Fahy forced to back down on this due to public outcry:
• March 1, 2013, “And If I have to make it easier for rich white people to own land in Bermuda that is fine!” ~ MP Bob Richards
• December 4, 2013, Job Makers’ Act Amendment passed to make it easier for persons to obtain PRC status.
• January 14, 2014, Minister Michael Fahy opened the public discussion of commercial immigration and selling immigration rights to the highest bidder.
• March 22, 2014, amended the Companies Act to grant exempt companies the right to acquire residential land. Currently, Bermuda has 4,900 acres of residential-zoned property of which 2,179 acres are owned by non-Bermudians.
• July 23, 2014, Minister Fahy announces that OBA will allow PRC to be granted status on the grounds that long-term residents have the right to seek citizenship.
You see, ladies and gentlemen, there has been a clear and concise pattern of:
• attempts to lay the foundation for work permit holders to become long term residents and then subsequently PRC holders;
• attempts as far back as 2007 to give PRC holders status;
• attempts to give children of guest workers permission to work in Bermuda;
• a pathway for non Bermudians to purchase increased amounts of property in Bermuda.
Below you can see a graph showing the steady downward trajectory of Bermudian employment under the OBA government.
In part two of our evidence you will see a continuing pattern of this behaviour by the OBA. You can then make a better judgement for yourselves.