Slideshow: Protest Over Immigration Proposal

February 26, 2016

Hundreds of people gathered outside the Government Administration Building in Hamilton yesterday [Feb 25] for what was billed as a “gathering to show dismay” with the proposed immigration reform.

The protest follows after the Government announced they plan to amend the law, with changes to include any person who is ordinarily resident in Bermuda for 15 years becoming eligible to apply for permanent residency, and any permanent resident who is ordinarily resident in Bermuda for 20 years becoming eligible to apply for Bermudian status.

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The protest — which marks the third protest since the proposal was announced — lasted for approximately two hours, with people continuing to arrive as the event unfolded, with the police using cones to block traffic. Various speakers addressed the crowd, with Minister Michael Fahy being criticized multiple times, as was Premier Michael Dunkley.

Some of the speakers expressed concern about the level of unemployment amongst Bermudians as well as the possible impact of the policy, with one speaker receiving applause after saying “if its not about votes, wait to after the election to do it”

The notice to promote the event had said “this gathering is to send a message to the OBA Government that the people of Bermuda will not be ignored,” asking people to come out on “to show their disagreement with the legislation” as the organisers want the Government to “take a step back and genuinely pursue comprehensive bipartisan immigration reform.”

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Comments (26)

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  1. Shake my head says:

    Ignorant.. These people pay rent, these people contribute to our economy, these people buy groceries, these people deserve to be here. You want more people to leave the island? When there is already not enough people to support our economy… The more people leave, more houses and apartments will be vacant and less money being spent here! People complain that these people take jobs from bermudians? These people do jobs that most bernudians dont want to do! I dont understand some of you people. Theyre here already, let them stay! 5 years ago 5000 people left here… Did that make things better?

    • DB says:

      @ Shake my head from what you saying sounds good to me that should drive down the price of houses and rent which is greatly needed, and as for the 5000 that left it didn’t make things worst for the island did it? Most Expats i know are not worrying about the right to vote or citizenship they just want there check at the end of the week or month and for those who keep thinking about what they putting into economy how about what they taking out. You all will be surprise at how much of there check goes back to there country, which in my opinion should be taxed. And to end if it such a big deal why haven’t you seen any of the expats protesting for this to go through?

      • Shake my head says:

        Yes it would take the prices of homes down… And make rent less…but this is not my point. My point is that bermuda needs to keep attracting people here. Not make them want to leave. And if people wanted to come here to build a life and family… Why would they send money out? They would just keep it here. They would only send money out if they are not planning on staying which doesnt apply to people that these people are taking about. Its people who want to stay here we are talking about. People need some assurance that they are welcomed here. And by not giving them the option of bermudian status after 15 years which is a long time, why would they want to stay. There just gona do what you said. Take their money they earned here and leave.

      • LiarLiar says:

        Last time housing prices went down thousands upon thousands of Bermudians found themselves drowning in negative equity (look it up if you don’t know what it means).

        As a direct result of this the many families were forced to sell their homes at prices that didn’t cover their outstanding mortgage balance and thus were left with residual balances to pay the banks back with no collateral left.

        Between 2008 and 2014 3,391 expats left the island which resulted in 3,341 Bermudians jobs being lost. So despite your assertions a declining expat population does not equate to more jobs for Bermudians. Actual experience and facts prove the exact opposite occurs.

        As of 2014 work permits were at their lowest and yet Bermudians still remain unemployed in numbers. in 2006/7 when the PLP Government issued the most work permits ever, unemployment was negligible and our GDP was at its highest.

        Can you not see the correlation between these events?

        Also, many Bermudians were able to receive mortgages based on the bank taking into account rental income, from attached apartments, when underwriting the loan. With the loss of thousands of expats hundreds, if not thousands, of Bermudian homeowners found themselves in arrears with their mortgage payments as their salaries could not cover the agreed upon payments. As a result many have had their homes repossessed or have had to sell to ensure that the accumulated interest on the debt didn’t end up destroying their finances completely.

        So a further decrease in home prices and rents will only adversely affect the middle class of Bermuda.

      • Bermudian says:

        Why do I see a lot of envy in these kind of comments? It’s time Bermudians stop complaining and start accepting that the world has changed. Stop feeling sorry for yourselves and do something to help the government put our economy back in track. We have lost 9,000 or so work permit holders starting 2009, and look where that has lead us to – more jobless Bermudians! Whatever the PLP had done did not work. We definitely need more people here to inject more investments to the economy.

      • Happy Onion says:

        They are not going to protest, because they have no rights & someone or people will run them into immigration!

      • Realist says:

        You need to consider too how much of Bermudian cheques also leave the island. Bermuda does not manufactures or produces anything and most Bermudians who say it bold and proud they don’t shop here so all money goes overseas anyway. You seem to not see that people leaving family and home to coming here to work! is an exchange for both the island (who gets the service) and the person who works for a pay to take care of the family the left behind to come and help Bermuda run more efficiently. Please sit and consider the state of things and see what Bermudians need to start doing and stop blaming and bashing others.

    • Lone Wolf says:

      I agree. There are plenty of jobs available in Bermuda. Just look in the jobs section. Every day there are loads of jobs listed.

      The issues are that there aren’t any Bermudians qualified enough to fill those available jobs and/or Bermudians refuse to do jobs that they consider to be ‘beneath’ them or that have a pay scale that Bermudians consider to be too low.

      And then there are the lazy Bermudians who just plain do not want to work and expect everything to be handed to them on a silver platter.

      And then there are the ‘lost ones’ who would rather break into someone’s home or rob a person / business and consider their criminal activity to BE their job.

      And then there are the antiques who would rather blame people for enslaving their ancestors 100′s of years ago and expect to be given ALL the top jobs whether they are qualified or not.

      I say let Bermuda have what they want. Move EVERY SINGLE non-indigenous being to another country and see what is left. I do believe that all you will find left will be Cahows and maybe a few lizards.

      REAL Bermudians do not exist people!! The closest thing to a REAL Bermudian would be either the Spanish or the English!!

      So yeah, let’s send EVERY non-REAL Bermudian back to where they came from. Do it NOW!!

  2. Bullseye says:

    How is it that the most partisan people of all want bi-partisanship?

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      Because it really isn’t collaboration and bipartisan they want, it is their way and the government power back.

  3. Build a Better Bermuda says:

    It was interesting on a few points; while they tried to say they weren’t xenophobic and that they wanted comprehensive and collaborative immigration reform, some of the statements that received the loud applause and agreement from the crowd were messages that they didn’t want people to have an avenue of status, that people that have come here and made a home here shouldn’t have a say in their lives here, To date, nobody has put forward an alternative other than delay and don’t do anything. Not one suggestion from anybody other than government. And Mr. Hayward’s own emotionally pumped speech overrode his own speech, he talked about how all countries have pathways to status… except for Bermuda, we don’t, and this is the point of the reform government is proposing… nobody has actually countered it with logic…just emotion, and when you govern with emotion you will make the wrong choices and fail. The fact is, how can government collaborate with anyone, when no one from the combined opposition want to genuinely collaborate, they want to derail, delay and deny. It isn’t collaboration they want, it is their way and power back, even though they still haven’t come up with any plan for what they would do with government again.
    The biggest wrong with government is that they don’t communicate well, course, when they try to, the opposition just creates a whole bunch of nonsense so that they can’t be heard… just because you are loud, doesn’t mean you speak for the people, because there are the people who want this as well, because we want Bermuda to do the right thing for its soul. Because in the long run, this will make our country a better place for our children.

  4. Funny says:

    What they hell is Disrespted?

    Want to know why some people are last to get jobs.. They cant spell..

    Smh

  5. doggystyle says:

    The faces of selfish Bermudians

  6. Long Bay Trading Co. says:

    Same ‘rent-a-crowd’ different day, different subject. Same total lack of understanding for what they are protesting about – just doing the PLP’s/BIU’s bidding. Business as usual then.

  7. Keystroke says:

    Whoever took the time to write all those signs and hand them out to people who couldn’t be bothered to make their own, you are a fine example of Bermudian schooling.

    Bermudians are disrepted, indeed.

  8. Jon W says:

    What keeps resounding in my ears of late is “if it’s not for votes wait until after the election”. I’m my opinion these changes are already long overdue. I would venture to guess that supporters of the PLP would argue that their vote is because the PLP have been and once again will be the better governing party and a likewise arguement for the OBA supporters. So am I’m really hearing from the protestors is wait until after the election because their party does not have the proven record or potential to govern Bermuda since they don’t expect the votes from any new status Bermudians?

    • GoodIdeaBadIdea says:

      And the next election, you can bet your bottom dollar that immigration reform in any way will be the last thing on their minds. Actually the second last as same sex unions will rank somewhat below this.

      No government has really WANTED this in many years as every time it comes up the rent-a-crowd starts getting upset about their jobs being taken away. Of course as said about 100 time before, the people and jobs are already here and taken.

      I heard it before and I believe that the PLP’s version of immigration reform is based on an independent Bermuda which at that point might not be responsible to the European human rights act, so essentially they can create as many classes of citizens as they want and pick and choose their citizens as the “comprehensive immigration reform” law sees fit.

      Most systems as I see it have 3 classes of “resident” people. Those with citizenship (status in our case), those with landed immigrant status (PRC), and those on working visas with a set limit (work permits). Work permits can have a limit clause (or) a person could come in on a visa with a pathway to permanent resident and ultimately citizenship (status). In most cases I see the landed immigrant status almost always having a pathway to citizenship unless you commit some crime which shortcuts that process. Otherwise it’s a given once you’re a landed immigrant. 4 to 8 years also seems the norm – so 15-20 years is a good investment for guest workers.

  9. lmao says:

    Fact – In 10 years over 65% of Bermudian workforce will be over 65 ( retirement age)

    so unless you believe in child labor…you won’t have enough young adults to fill up the jobs….

    Not to mention all the young adults that have moved to England, and all the unqualified ones here….

    Who’s going to be left to work? These people hate foreigners but….Your TWO MAIN sources of income are directly sourced from “foreigners”….re insurance….and Tourism. And how do tourist get here….planes, boats all which are owned by foreigners. Your tv is American, clothes, foods are from ” foreigners”…Even goslings has part of its black rum done in the US….Gas is from foreigners, your education system was made by foregners…Jamaicans are foreigners right? Well you use their language, listen to reggae and dancehall….most Bermuda musician are reggae artists…even Trinidad has its OWN music style and is actually in the Carribean .look at Collie Budz? Why does he sing in a Jamaican voice? But do you see Jamaica outraged? No. Because Bermuda is PART OF THE WORLD. There’s no factories or production and like I said your main export (goslings) is partly finished in the US. Could Bermuda survive without foreigners. Lol the irony is, you have a Governer….who is also a foreigner. On you money is the Queen….I mean this outrage at foreigner is a joke. Someone posted stats that when all the expats left, you economy dropped. Sigh. I guess ignorance is bliss.

  10. Flattsboy says:

    Almost the entire hospitality and food service industry is made up of foreign workers , people who work very hard and are representatives of our island , while they might not be Bermudians they are the people that tourists have the most contact with.

    A lot of jobs on this island are done by foreign workers who toil tiredlessly over tasks that some natural Bermudians think they are ‘too good’ to do.

    On top of that many youth are leaving after they complete university and are not coming back because they don’t see much opportunity on our little rock.

    Bermuda is facing a ‘brain-drain’ and has been for years, to say that people who are ready and willing to work in Bermuda and give to the economy don’t deserve to be here is wrong and will ultimately only end up harming Bermuda more in the long run.

  11. nok says:

    Take care of Bermudians first than we can talk about this garbage fill some of the low end jobs like grocery store managers domestic works put in a minimum wage for the pot washers!

  12. AEB says:

    If you make a home and put down roots in another country that you love living in, should you not be able to call that country home after 15-20 years? and eventually become a resident? Try turning the tables and looking it at from another perspective.