Column: “Hidden Agendas Are Exposed”

March 15, 2016

[Opinion column written by Chris Famous]

There is a saying that goes “If the fish did not open his mouth he would not get caught”. Often politicians of all stripes open their mouths and end up putting themselves on the hook once their untruths / hidden agendas are exposed.

In this particular case OBA MP and Junior Minister of Home Affairs Sylvan Richards is the one who has opened his mouth.

In his latest op-ed published in Bernews March 7, 2016 , he makes a number of points, which on the surface he presents as a compelling argument for Pathways to Status. Yet, when examined point by point most of his case crumbles.

Claim 1

First his claim that the OBA announced immigration initiatives in their throne speech:

“The Pathways policy was not dreamt up overnight because of a by-election — it has been in the works for several years and was included in the 2013 Throne Speech. This government is, therefore, fulfilling a Throne Speech promise.”

This is actually what the OBA actually announced in their 2013 Throne speech: “Pathways to Bermuda status for persons born in Bermuda or persons who have been adopted by Bermudian parents.”

Hmm…quite a difference between giving adopted children a path way for status versus giving 9,000 work permit holders a path way to status.

Let’s go further with some facts

Claim 2

MP Sylvan Richards states “neither he nor the Government knows how people vote”.

Well this is what a poll in January 2012 showed

“The latest political opinion poll, conducted by MindMaps ….revealed that 88 percent of white voters would vote for the One Bermuda Alliance in the General Elections, suggesting that the OBA has inherited the white vote.”

Yet another poll from December 2015

“Among whites, 84 per cent said they would vote OBA, up from 77 per cent in May; 2 per cent said they would vote PLP, up from 1 per cent in May.”

So two different polls 4 years apart saying the same thing. Suffice it to say both MP Sylvan Richards and the OBA know that 85% of whites will vote for the OBA. Secondly, let’s look at the statistics provided by the OBA spoke person and Sylvan Richards.

The breakdown of PRCs by country of origin is as follows.

  • UK: 578
  • Portugal: 545
  • Jamaica: 157
  • Other: 175

Any questions?

Claim 3

Let’s go on to the third claim that no one knows where these PRC holders reside or who they are.

“Mr Famous insinuated that the Pathways policy was an attempt at gerrymandering — altering constituencies to have an advantage in an election. He wants us to ignore that neither he nor the Government knows how people vote or in what constituencies long-term residents, who could potentially become eligible for status.”

MP Richards is the Junior Home Affairs Minister, which means he and Minister Fahy have access to all immigration files to know the address of every person applying for Bermudian status. After all each person has to be approved by…wait for it…Minister Fahy.

Secondly, MP Richards is now one of the Boundaries Commisioners who are at this very moment planning on drawing up new boundaries for each constiuency based on…wait for it….. where every registered voter and potential voter resides.

So if anyone knows which constituency each and everyvoter resides it is MP Sylvan Richards.

Hiding the truth

Let’s look at a few facts concerning PRC Holders that MP Richards fails to reveal:-

  • PRC holders can seek employment without needing to go to immigration
  • PRC holders can purchase any 2 houses of any ARV value that they wish.
  • PRC holders can travel in and out of Bermuda as they wish
  • There are 1,200 spouses of PRC holders and 2,960 Children of PRC holders who could be eligible to gain status within the next 10 years. Making a total of over 6,000 persons now eligible for Bermudian status.

The main difference between a PRC holder and someone with Bermudian Status is the ability to..wait for it…the ability to vote

Inside Leak

On Monday March 14 an email from OBA MP Leah Scott addressed to Premier Michael Dunkley, Attorney General Trevor Moniz, Junior Minister Sylvan Richards and Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy was leaked and went viral on social media. It contained some very damning evidence against the OBA.

“in 2012, when we became Government, Minister Fahy chose Immigration as the ministry that he wanted and since that time he has clearly and steadfastly pursued his own agenda.”

“It is completely dishonest for Minister Fahy to say that our Bermudian children and future generations will not be affected by this legislation. The reality is that there are PRC holders who have children. They will be granted status and their children will become Bermudian. The reality is that the majority of PRCs are white. The majority of PRC’s will be fairly well connected. Accordingly, it is those Bermudians who will get the jobs, thereby displacing our Bermudian children.”

Anyone care to guess if MP Sylvan Richards will deny these fact?

- Chris Famous

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