Term Limits Policies Discussed At Public Forum

October 24, 2012 | 41 Comments

Last night [Oct 23] the Pembroke Parish Council hosted a forum on Term Limits at the Pembroke Sunday School.

Under the term limits policy, work permit holders who have worked for six years or more in Bermuda are not entitled to a renewal of their permit. Waivers to grant the permit holder an exemption from the six-year limit can be granted by Immigration, and Government previously stated that some 70% of applicants either had their work permit term limits waived or extended.

The panelists included columnist Larry Burchall, PLP candidate and social commentator Walton Brown, OBA MP Shawn Crockwell, BIU President Chris Furbert, and ABIC’s Richard Winchell.

The event began at 7.30pm and around 50 people were present including PLP MP Derrick Burgess, former MP & BIU President Ottiwell Simmons, former Senator Laverne Furbert, and OBA candidates Nicholas Kempe and Andrew Simons.

Larry Burchall spoke first saying that term limits should be abolished. He said Government is waiving them in the majority of cases anyway, however potential investors still “see them on the books” which detracts from the island’s ability to attract new business.

Walton Brown.then addressed the audience saying term limits do need to be reformed, however we need to find the right balance while considering aspects such as the humanitarian side and ability to attract business while putting the interests of Bermudians first. “Simplistic solutions aren’t real solutions,” said Mr Brown.

Richard Winchell spoke next pointing out the work permit policy is what protects Bermudian jobs, not term limits. He said the situation has changed since we first implemented the term limits, and our competitive edge has been diminished, and we need to bear that in mind when implementing policies.

The OBA’s Shawn Crockwell spoke next, saying he agreed with Mr Brown’s point that Bermudians must come first. He differentiated between work permits and term limits, and also said as Bermuda is such a business hub it would be ideal to have more Bermudians trained in the insurance industry.

He said the OBA will suspend term limits for 2 years and evaluate the situation going forward. “People don’t have to come to Bermuda, and we have to understand that,” said Mr Crockwell.

BIU President Chris Furbert spoke next. He said we need international business as it helps to provide employment, as well as pays taxes. He pointed out we need to find the right balance as far as the needs of international business as well as the interests of Bermudians. Mr Furbert also spoke on work permits, noting that in some cases employers deliberately craft their employment ads with the set idea to hire a non-Bermudian on a work permit.

The Q&A started after all the speakers. That was a brief confusion at first as each question being asked by the audience was being answered by each panelist. An audience member pointed out “we could be here all night” if each panelist answers each question. The format was changed after that the event wrapped up just past 9pm.

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Comments (41)

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  1. SoMuchMore says:

    WoW. many of the wrong people in the wrong place... one of them is our dear chrisy furbert who is back again trying to destroy what's left of bermuda.

    on a serious note there needs to be some balance between bermuda and the expats. just my 2 cents.

    anyway, auntie paula just call the election.

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  2. Y-Gurl says:

    To little to late, you lot just figured out the contributions made by work permit holders ,pity you havent been listning during the last 14 years of ethnoic cleansing. You cannot be seen as credible when you accept facts only when you need to and ignore them when your told about them. Thanks PLP you have destroyed my country for me and my children

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    • Joonya says:

      Yup, simply due to bad decisions made by a bunch of angry amateurs hell bent on revenge. Are we all ready for a change yet??
      All together now......

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    • What the Hell says:

      OK.. so there are more persons on work permits in Bermuda in 2011 than there were in 1998. So how exactly did the PLP scare them away with "14 years of ethnice cleansing"

      Facts matter, study up, and then type.

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      • Y-Gurl says:

        Fact is that's not true according to your governments statistical department, check it out

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      • Sara says:

        So, what your saying is that under a PLP government more expats have been allowed than when the UBP was in power? Isn't that something. So WHO should get the blame for taking Bermudian jobs? Perhaps the ones that approved the permits no? That would be your beloved PLP. Elementary my dear Watson.

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        • Come Correct says:

          Unfortunately Y-gurl, it is true according to his governments statistical department, I saw it. What "what the hell" fails to realize is that most of these work permits that were granted were not for international business, they were for Bermudian businesses such as landscaping, construction and restaurants. I've said this before and I'll say it again, its not a difficult concept to grasp, when you bring in higher tier workers in international business, they bring jobs openings with them such as nannies, house keepers, LANDSCAPING, and RESTAURANT services. When you allow lower tier workers, such as mentioned above, they take jobs that even unqualified Bermudians can do as well as doing things like over-fishing juvenile fish from around our shores and docks to feed their families on virtually nothing while visiting western union on a weekly basis to send money out of our economy...get it yet?

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          • street wise says:

            "... over-fishing juvenile fish from around our shores and docks ..."

            Bull. You are prejudiced. Bermudians have been fishing on shore and off bridges forever... a few additional people doing the same thing won't affect local fish stocks.

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  3. Future says:

    Bernews: your headline is a typo. It should read "Term Limits Policies Disgust"

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  4. Reality says:

    "Bermuda is such a business hub it would be ideal to have more Bermudians trained in the insurance industry."

    Very true, however: "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink."

    We have been telling ourselves this for years, but if we don't get the training we need to make it in IB, then IB is going to have to look elsewhere to fill these positions. These positions are ours for the taking, but we aren't doing what it takes to earn these coveted jobs. IB is finding qualified people for these positions elsewhere. Reality.

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  5. Chart says:

    "He said Government is waiving them in the majority of cases anyway, however potential investors still “see them on the books” which detracts from the island’s ability to attract new business."

    Here's the problem: gov is routinely waiving term limits if you are a big insurance company. They are not easily waiving in a range of other international businesses even when those positions cannot be filled by Bermudians. So those jobs and their "reporting chain" are gone or going.

    Makes me wanna scream.

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  6. Vulpes says:

    The entire discussion is ridiculous and redundant other than pandering to the petty politics of a few cranks. The bottom line is regardless of which party forms the next Government, the tap to all sorts of foreign investment (gaming, entertainment, hotels, etc) will have to be turned on by lowering costs, i.e getting the job done with cheaper foreign labour. When this happens, Bermuda will eventually see empty apartments start to rent, a little bit more of a buzz and enthusiasm, and hopefully again eventually the well heeled wanting to holiday and even move their businesses and residences here. If this does not happen, expect the slow motion economic meltdown to begin to accelerate.

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  7. Victor says:

    The entire discussion is ridiculous and redundant other than pandering to the petty politics of a few cranks. The bottom line is regardless of which party forms the next Government, the tap to all sorts of foreign investment (gaming, entertainment, hotels, etc) will have to be turned on by lowering costs, i.e getting the job done with cheaper foreign labour. When this happens, Bermuda will eventually see empty apartments start to rent, a little bit more of a buzz and enthusiasm, and hopefully again eventually the well heeled wanting to holiday and even move their businesses and residences here. If this does not happen, expect the slow motion economic meltdown to begin to accelerate.

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  8. i gotta be me says:

    OK so Walton Brown and Chris Furbert basically said NOTHING! Why do we entertain these two ppl at all?

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    • I was not there but based on what is written here by Bernews I would say that both Mr. Walton Brown and Mr. Chris Furbert said a whole lot that makes sense because we do need to do business with th international sector and find a strong balance on how to have Bermuda open for new International forms of business but we equally need to protect Bermudians especially on the lower scale of jobs that are being offered by dishonest employers when they continue to put in the employment ads work qualification that go so far out that even a damn robot can see its false.

      So to Mr. Brown and Furbert keep on standing for the people of Bermuda because we do need a voice that is willing to stand up to the money changers who think they can just do anything.overall it seem from the comments here that basically all speakers were on the same page even though their platforms differed slightly,so well done.

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      • pebblebeach says:

        Sounds like a case for the folks at Immigration to do their jobs as there are immigration policies and procedures they need to ensure are adhered to by all...when not, punish the darn employers...what the Government has done is implemented term limits that simply has worked against Bermuda...

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        • Tommy Chong says:

          All who are using term limits as an excuse for lost business need to clear the mock from their eyes & see the reality of what's happening. ALLLL OVER THE WORLD countries have term limits even in Cayman http://www.immigration.gov.ky/portal/page?_pageid=2681,5740525&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL that were the first to take shots at ours. There has not been any substancial evidence that shows companies moving elsewhere because of term limits JUST HEARSAY. The truth is companies are leaving not because of term limits but because operational cost for IB here is way too high with no sign of assistance from our government setting laws that discount cost for IB set up here as it has been done in Camana Bay. $200 a square foot rent opposed to $65 a square foot rent which would you chose as an IB CEO.

          To your point of it being the folks at Immigration job to keep on top of enforcing immigration policies and procedures I couldn't agree more. The problem with this is the people working in immigration's job description don't entail looking at every employment ad & then researching each business the ads are put up by to see if the requirements are a load of BS of not. Then there's our jelly backboned Minister of Economy who instead of taking the bull by the horns when dealing with business owners BS claims that Bermudians are unqualified to take a food order, toss salads, mix concrete or paint nails goes along with the dumb a$$ idea of charging out of work locals to take courses to teach them how to through a bag of cement in a mixer or write down that someone would like a burger & side of fries. None of these foreigners hired for these jobs knew how to do them in the beginning they learnt on the fly when they started working here.

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          • street wise says:

            "... that Bermudians are unqualified to take a food order, toss salads, mix concrete or paint nails ..."

            It's not that they are unqualified, it's that they are unwilling to take the job, or unwilling to be more productive than foreigners who actually want these jobs, and are grateful for them! Even though many are treated like sh!t and taken advantage of by their employers. The OBA says it will address this issue....

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  9. Please Leave Politics says:

    Why is Chris Furbert continuously included in such things? He is one of the major problems in Bermuda...

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  10. David says:

    My three children all went to good Canadian Universities and two have made it in IB. The other a school teacher, again went to known Universities in Canada and UK and became qualified. If our children go to good places of higher learning and pass, Bermuda IB was the gate to a great job. Provided their degree was in the right fields. Thanks to the fools that could not understand that Bermudians CAN'T have jobs they are not qualified for. The next batch of Bermudian well educated students, that graduate, will not get jobs easily. Even in my trade, because you are Bermudian does not give you the right to have a job that you are not qualified for. I have two young Bermudians that are learning and doing well. Because the National Training Board are not doing their job, they cannot be qualified so they can work overseas and work in their chosen profession if they want. My profession do NOT want a Bermudian qualification, we want international recognized qualification. A level playing field and no boarders for Bermudians if they want to work overseas.

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  11. Sandgrownan says:

    Meh.....

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  12. Kathy says:

    You made your bed...now lay in it!

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  13. Eastern says:

    It always amazes me how some individuals can so suddenly take a complete about face. Suddenly Chris and Walton have started to see the light and would not have said anything like what they have said just six months ago. Has it taken you fourteen years to wake up?

    The stupid thing about "Term Limits" is that the Immigration Department has always had control over how long expats can remain in Bermuda. The original annoucement that the government will introduce "Term Limits" was only to get votes; the government already have control over the term of an expat's work permit. This was announced to make the PLP's supporters (and fence sitters) even more inclined to vote for the ruling party. However this has now back fired as it scared off people and business. If I was offered a job in another country, but was told that I cannot stay past six years, why would I bother to uproot my life (and family) for six years. This is why so many jobs in Bermuda have now been outsourced overseas.

    Now the government is only just starting to realise their error, but unfortunately it is too late. Those outsourced jobs will never return.

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    • stret wise says:

      A primary issue, IMO, is that it seems most decisions made by the Dep't of Immigration take so long (6 months or more is common) and seem so arbitrary, and based on fickle policy, rather than Law. So the door for political interference has always been open, particularly for the revolving Ministers.

      The way Expats have been unceremoniously escorted off the Island by the plp for minor freedom of speech issues is unconscionable.

      With our Dep't of Immigration you never know what you're gonna get.

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  14. Bermyman says:

    It would be nice for the PLP to have a few people who actauly work or who have worked in IB to panel the discussion. Chris Furbert has probably never even seen the inside of International companies office.

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  15. SoMuchMore says:

    it must have been dreadful listing to chrisy speak, glad I was'nt invited. LOL

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  16. craig looby says:

    how many expats are here in non technical certified blue collar jobs....during this time of depression...these are jobs the unemployed can be doing.....IB is not hiring bermudians because after decades of knowing what the IB industry needs, by way of what education bermudians need to fill jobs in that sector...govt administrations have failed to design an education system that provides the ib sector with bermudians with proper skill sets they want in entry level employees......and the ib sector could be more proactive and expose more of the youth to the ib environment to spark their interests in joining the industry.... as for the term limit issue..... i say if bermudians cannot be trained for the job during the term limit they are here...some thing is wrong.....and i dont see what wrong with gettin rid of term limits...the ib workers just have to know they are not able to live here as permanent residents....and when a bermudian is qualified they have to leave....and the next administration has to make training of bermudians manditory in all for all jobs in bermuda where an expat worker is imported.....this will ensure companies are actually trying to fill positions with qualified bermudians.....and try to train people for positions.

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    • Anon Ymous says:

      Craig - Why do you think that a business should be 'forced' to foot the cost of training staff that they already have qualified employees for.....just for the 'privilege' of doing business here? Let's look at it another way, no IB in Bda = no IB jobs for locals vs. IB in Bda without imposed regimes on how they run their business = still no jobs for locals, so same result on a direct local intake level, however, one of those scenarios comes with massive benefits to the economy in the way of revenues in payroll tax, health insurance, work permit, domestic & business rents, etc., etc., - not to mention all the trickle down revenues into the service industries which do create local employment.
      I must add though, that I am in favour of term limits as Bda is just not big enough to open it up completely but the policy does need reform in order to offer continuity and stability to business - six years is not such a long time, especially when doled out (at additional cost each time) in one, two and three year supplements.

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  17. swing voter says:

    Term Limits, unreasonable payroll tax hike, and just plain old stupidity. Time for a change

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  18. Works in International Bus says:

    Term Limits are very necessary to secure jobs for bermudians in the future. I have worked in the international sector for six years in two different companies and expats have nothing for Bermuda. The things I have heard some of them say about Bermudians and this country are very disturbing. Companies say they will train Bermudians to take over jobs of the expats but some of them do nothing of the sort. They put ads in the paper with qualifications so far fetched they know no Bermudian would even think of applying for the job, just so they can bring in someone they know for the job. I have seen this happen so many times, but we as Bermudians have to train the expat when they arrive. Alot of these IB companies are getting away with murder all in the name of MONEY. Either way we need a governement that is for the people, and to me the OBA sounds like they are ready to sell out Bermuda in the name of International Business.

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    • Malachi says:

      I worked in the IB sector for more than 30 years and I agree that many times the qualifications required for a particular job are grossly overstated. I too have had to train expats who had positions higher than me and whose salary would double mine!

      In any event, I think that what we need to concentrate on is the total number of guest workers which we will allow at any one time, with the length of the individual contract being irrelevant.

      Each work permit should come with a proviso that there is at least one Bermudian being trained for the position in question. Once there is a trained Bermudian, then the permit must be revoked. As such, there should never be the need to have a work permit which last more than six years.

      Of course, I can tell you right now that there are some International companies in Bermuda who would be quite happy NOT to employ Bermudians - trust me, there are!

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    • Navin Johnson says:

      Doubt that you work in IB. If you did you would know that the most senior people in IB prefer to have Bermudians on the payroll...term limits do not have the same importance as they did before but the damage is done..fact is many people are tired of the attitude of people and government and would prefer to be elsewhere

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    • Formidable Deviant says:

      But think of it like this. Bermuda seeks to be a competitor to London, New York, Chicago etc, and yet it is a tiny rock. Even if Bermuda were a nation of eggheads, it just isn't possible for a nation of less than 50,000 people (less expats) to produce enough brain power. Some people are not cut out for this, and if you are a UK or US based Insurer or HF or IB, you will recruit wherever you can from the big cities because the talent pool is massive and here it isn't. My own company for the last 2 years has had no more than a handful of applicants for its Graduate Program, which offers placements overseas, great money and prospects. In London we would have had thousands, New York the same. Quite simply, get your self educated, and the Bermuda world is your oyster, and if you can't be bothered to do that, STFU, and stop moaning. No overseas company owes Bermuda anything, or owes anyone training, you owe it to yourself to take advantage of the unbelievable opportunities being Bermudian affords you.

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    • street wise says:

      IB prefers to hire their own people, not unqualified low productivity locals. Just because you have a degree from some obscure school doesn't make you IB material.

      No IB = no Bda as we know it. Think!

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