IRAG Calls On ‘All Bermudians To Show Support’

March 9, 2016

The Immigration Reform Action Group [IRAG] said they are “calling on all Bermudians, in particular, the workers of Bermuda, to show their support for efforts” to have the Government remove the immigration bill from the Parliamentary Order Paper and “agree to a bipartisan approach to immigration reform.”

A statement from the group said, “The Immigration Reform Action Group [IRAG] was extremely disappointed to learn that the OBA Government voted en bloc against the motion taken to the House of Assembly as a matter of Urgent Public Importance by Member of Parliament which called for the Government to appoint a Joint Select Committee to [1] examine the wide range of issues involved in comprehensive immigration reform; [2] propose for the consideration of Parliament a set of comprehensive immigration reform measures ; and [3] submit its report within six months.

“The IRAG is aware that the many Bermudians who listened to the House of Assembly debate on Monday night [March 8, 2016] were saddened by the responses of the OBA Members of Parliament to a matter that we believe to be extremely concerning to the majority of the people of Bermuda.

“To date we have staged peaceful protests on behalf of the people of Bermuda to show our concern, however it appears that the OBA Government is not listening to the people of Bermuda, especially in light of the show of solidarity that was evidenced on Parliament Hill on Friday, March 4, 2016.

“The people of Bermuda are now aware that one, woman, Enda Matthie, has decided to show her ‘solidarity with her fellow Bermudians‘ on this issue and the many other issues that are currently plaguing Bermuda by staging a hunger strike and has camped out on the grounds of Parliament. This is unacceptable.

“The IRAG is calling on all Bermudians, in particular, the workers of Bermuda, to show their support for efforts to have the OBA Government to remove the bill entitled the “Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 2016” from the Order Paper and instead, agree to a bipartisan approach to Immigration Reform.”

The group has also launched an online petition which states, “As Bermudians we support immigration reform. However, it must be done in a bi-partisan and cross community manner. Rushing this legislation through parliament for purely political reasons is not the correct way to go about this deeply sensitive and historically divisive issue.”

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  1. Nasty Bunch says:

    “The IRAG is aware that the many Bermudians who listened to the House of Assembly debate on Monday night [March 8, 2016] were saddened by the responses of the OBA Members of Parliament to a matter that we believe to be extremely concerning to the majority of the people of Bermuda.

    But you guys aren’t disappointed by the hatred, name calling and threats of violence issued by your PLP parent?

    Nasty bunch you guys are.

  2. United we Stand, divided we fall.

    • Sickofantz says:

      I am trying to understand what Reform the PLP want. What do they actually want in terms of policy?

      • Yahoo says:

        They don’t even know themselves. They just want to stall things so they can get back into power and plunge this island back into recession.

        • Ian says:

          Oh yeah… That’s what it is. Disconnected much? Glad you have that luxury.

          • Full Fuulish says:

            Someone living in Bermuda talking about Disconnected. Oh the irony!

      • ANTI Ignorance says:

        simple only black pro plp allowed to become citizens

    • jt says:

      I RAG.

    • Up D hill says:

      OBA forever!! United we stand,,, period !

  3. justkeepsgoing says:

    This small group of plp followeres are wasting their time (not the majority of Bermudians)! The law will be passed no matter how much noise you people make.

    • Full Fuulish says:

      You people??? Thats racist!

      J/k

    • Ian says:

      Yeah. Because it was the minority the OBA lost the recent bye election to. You know, the one that happened a day before the OBA reassured their supporters a plan is in the works to create more OBA voters. I have a feeling you’re going to see a few things happening that YOU can’t stop no matter how much noise you make.

      • hmmm says:

        So you are saying that your party don’t endorse it because they think people will vote OBA!!!

        We are talking 50 to 100 people by the time of the next general election, with no guarantee which they would vote if they vote in it.

      • inna says:

        Ooohhh, shaking in my shoes here !!

      • Betty Boop says:

        I’m scared….ha ha ha go get um honey. Who the —-k cares!

  4. O'Brien says:

    IRAG (whoever they are) betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of how our system works. There is no requirement that the OBA seek out the counsel and approval of the opposition before implementing its own policy. That would be a recipe for inertia. For better or worse, we have a Westminster model of government that does not depend on consensus and coalitions to operate.

    Now I get that there are many people in the country who oppose the OBA and their reforms. But democracy means you don’t always get what you want. Those who opposed the PLP had 14 years of being told “we don’t care what you think” and “get over it” by those in power. But the PLP was entitled then — just as the OBA is now — to insist on their own agenda for a simple reason: they were the duly elected government of the day.

    There will be an election within 20 months. If Pathways is as unpopular as many of its critics claim, the PLP can campaign on a promise to repeal it and should have no difficulty winning a majority. In the interim, however, the OBA remains the government and there is nothing at all improper about proceeding accordingly.

    • The Original Truth™ says:

      “democracy means you don’t always get what you want” WRONG!

      Fascism means you don’t always get what you want. Westminster model is not democratic at all. Democratic means the people get to pick their leaders. We didn’t vote for Dunkley nor did we vote for Fahy. Democracy means no taxation without representation something the Westminster system missed out on as one of the reason why America had it’s revolution. If we don’t agree with a government we should not have to pay the government but we are forced to with threats of imprisonment. Being forced to pay for something you don’t agree with is not in any way shape or form democratic.

      Do you like the state England is in because of their immigration policy O’Brien?

      • Double S says:

        “Democracy means no taxation without representation…”

        So why are you against this proposal again?

        We didn’t vote for Paula Cox or Col. Burch, but yet you stayed silent and there was no claims of fascism or the like.

        Strange.

      • Common Cents says:

        By your own argument then work permit holders and PRC’s should not pay taxes, since they have no representation. Only Bermudians should pay taxes. What a great way to narrow the tax base even more!

        • The Original Truth™ says:

          Statistics show that permit holders and PRCs are represented far more than Bermudians. These pathways are further proof of it. They already are in a higher income bracket than Bermudians in a country they are not a citizen of. They can sit pretty back in their country after retirement while Bermudians are stuck rotting on the rock.

          BTW I wonder how many of these permit holders and PRCs are not living up to their tax obligations in their own country while still inline to receive benefits there.

      • smh says:

        Errr…..I don’t remember a lot of dialogue about term limits……or being asked our opinion when the then Government ignored the legal reports that said term limits were (and did) kill our economy. But that’s different, right?!

      • Strike fund says:

        “Democracy means no taxation without representation”

        So you support the right to vote for anybody that works here (even if they have only been here a few months)? After all they pay tax.

      • SANDGROWNAN says:

        ” We didn’t vote for Dunkley nor did we vote for Fahy.”

        But the majority did.

        “If we don’t agree with a government we should not have to pay the government ……”

        Incorrect.

        • The Original Truth™ says:

          No the majority didn’t. Our premier wasn’t Dunkley after the elections.

      • Mr Stevens says:

        Just like we didn’t vote for Scott, or Brown. You have a misunderstanding of democracy. The majority had their day in the election. The Government was elected and entrusted with ruling, we don’t get a say on all their individual policies and decisions now. They are representatives, not delegates. You’re thinking of liquid democracy, which while good in theory is impossible and impractical in practice.

      • Betty Boop says:

        and we did pick the leaders. Dunkley is a great leader and will remain so.

    • Ben says:

      “In the interim, however, the OBA remains the government and there is nothing at all improper about proceeding accordingly.”

      Stop. Just stop. Are you even aware of the terrifying implications in that sentence? Or do you even care?

      Please, think about what you’re doing. Just slow down and think. Use your heart as much as your head. You’re defending and supporting monsters who are destroying the island. Everyone in this Comments section who bullies and harasses a dissenting opinion against the OBA is destroying the island.

      I’m begging you. The majority of Bermudians on the island, Black and White, are begging you. Please stop. Every one of us will be literally begging on the streets soon enough if the government has its way. Not lazy, ignorant people, but good, honest, civil, hard-working people.

      Stop.

      • O'Brien says:

        “What you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

  5. Fdsial says:

    Good god they really like using that word bipartisan

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      It is their tag word for now. The real question is how many on that side truly want biparitsan reform though and how many don’t want anything to be done and are just using this a cover vehicle to try and stop the OBA’s reform?

    • Ian says:

      Do you see something fundamentally wrong with a bipartisan approach to a subject that’s creating the headliners we are seeing these days? Do you think rhetoric (for now) flying around is some sort of joke? You must realize where this has the potential to go. Or maybe that’s a joke to you as well.

      • jt says:

        Have you read Waltons proposal for what “bipartisan” should entail?
        Non starter.
        Absolutely no joke. I have skin in the game. PLP (Burch) policies were no joke to me or my wife either.
        And I don’t see this going anywhere because I believe the majority of Bermudians are for it.

  6. Ok says:

    Once again….

    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 musicians 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 foreigners is a joke. Someone posted stats that when all the expats left, you economy dropped. Sigh. I guess ignorance is bliss.

    • The Original Truth™ says:

      0-14 years: 17.5% (male 6,165/female 6,031) 2014

      There are thousands of 8 year old Bermudians who will be of working age in ten years. Your argument holds no water.

      All the young adults that have moved to England moved because of the issues they faced in Bermuda. Issues OBA promised to fix and stop passing the buck because I am not a PLP supporter and never have been. I’m a vexed Bermudian who was lied to by people who’s main platform was for a positive change in Bermuda. Nothing has changed and to manipulate the the percentage of unemployment going down by not giving reference to those who left making the percentage go done and not because more Bermudians were given jobs is a bias lie.

      • hmmm says:

        ….and those thousands of 8 year olds will not be enough to offset the deaths, retirement of people that year.

        People come in the one one end and go out the other….the input end is being dwarfed by the output end….

      • ANTI Ignorance says:

        your ability to do SIMPLE maths is flawed

    • Full Fuulish says:

      @ OK- Finally someone with some sense. That was bang on!!

  7. Take it up with the Supreme Court says:

    This negative rhetoric and emotive hate filled dialogue will have a lasting impact on our neigbors, friends and colleagues in this community that have worked alongside all Bermudians (no matter what deomgrahic you wish to identifty with) to build up this country.

    They deserve much better than what they ae receving at the hands of a vocal minority. That said–there is a silent majority and fully support you obtaining the rights and recognition you deserve.

    We support you.

    For those that have a problem with this–why not take it up to the Supreme Court who made a finding that forced the Gvt to have to act.

    To be clear–this finding would have resulted in a PLP Gvt having to act if the party was in power or a challenge to the Supreme Court.

    It appears that the argument is being way too skewed for poliical purposes and sadly–our friends, collegues and members of our community are caught in the cross hairs.

    We should all be ashamed of ourselved to be honest.

    Please reflect on this in your prayers.

    Have a blessed day.

    • The Original Truth™ says:

      The Supreme Court never judged the cases they had on those residing here on permit for 15 years. It was about PRC’s nothing to do with permit workers.

      • smh says:

        That’s just a matter of time because the same premise holds

    • Ian says:

      I love the catch phrases of the day. “Vocal minority”… “Silent majority”. You people are hilarious. You’re actually delusional enough to think its a vocal minority seeking bipartisan immigration reform. Despite the fact the OBA got whooped in the recent b-election and they’re blatantly obvious on their efforts to create more OBA voters. It’s amazing how easily you people manage to convince yourselves that the obvious isn’t actually happening. Here’s to sleeping better at night!

      • Keith says:

        “Despite the fact the OBA got whooped in the recent b-election and they’re blatantly obvious on their efforts to create more OBA voters.”

        Yes, those few hundred, if not tens, of “guaranteed” OBA votes will be instrumental in swinging competitive constituencies like Sandys North Central and Smiths South.

  8. Bermyman says:

    ‘the workers of Bermuda’ you mean the people that suck 85% of our tax $$$ down the drain? You mean the people that have had no jobs shed versus the real breadwinners in the private sector who have seen a 30%+ downsize in jobs available to them. Sure let’s support the people who have lost the least and want the most continuously while the hardworking taxpayer pays for them to continue to live comfortably, as Mrs Matthie has requested of her Government. Let’s just keep plunging our children into debt and economic demise so these people can continue to live comfortably!

  9. Bermudian says:

    more walton brown garbage!! All this deflecting from the real issue,,, ‘The investagation” !!!

  10. The Original Truth™ says:

    1,138 supporters is not a few.

    The PRCs are being manipulated by government to support permit workers becoming PRCs and permit worker’s children by lumping the two into one. What the present PRCs don’t understand is that once permit workers and their children get PRC they will compete forevermore with present PRCs and their children who become citizens. Unlike the present PRCs most of these new permit workers are not from places with the euro so they will keep making a higher dollar even at a lower pay that they will as they have always will send their money back to their country. The present PRCs who become citizens will regret it because they and their children will be forced to work for lower wages to compete with the new PRCs and their children. These new permit workers are not like the present PRCs as they do not want to live in Bermuda they want to use Bermuda as their host while they leech the country. In the past years they have sent back millions in remittances and it wont change when they get PRC they just wont have to renew their contracts anymore and when it’s time to retire will move back to their country where they will have their retirement package already set.

    This already has happened in America 50 plus years ago all because of Ted Kennedy who’s promises made were all broken.

    “First, our cities will not be flooded with a million immigrants annually. Under the proposed bill, the present level of immigration remains substantially the same…

    Secondly, the ethnic mix of this country will not be upset… Contrary to the charges in some quarters, [the bill] will not inundate America with immigrants from any one country or area, or the most populated and deprived nations of Africa and Asia…

    In the final analysis, the ethnic pattern of immigration under the proposed measure is not expected to change as sharply as the critics seem to think… The bill will not flood our cities with immigrants. It will not upset the ethnic mix of our society. It will not relax the standards of admission. It will not cause American workers to lose their jobs.”

  11. Long Bay Trading Co. says:

    Who the h*ll is IRAG? Where did they come from? It is getting very crowded here – too many groups to keep track of. So let me get this right…..one person and her chair and a conviently chosen and well placed book with a shopping list of “wants” is now a Group? WoW! That sure was quick. A real eye opener to see how quickly one lady morphed into a “Group” with now front page media coverage, declare they are speaking for me and most Bermudians, highjack the HoA process, issue threats and act and speak with thug like behaviour to the FREELY ELECTED Government of the Day, all dressed up as Olive Branches! I am impressed with this Ladie’s ability to turn a one man show into yet another Group!!! Who knew she had this ability?

    PLP/BIU/CURB/People’s Campaign and any other spin off – its ok, honestly. You can come out now. You’ve been spotted so you can stop playing hide and seek. Come out into the open light of day and be truthful on your TRUE AGENDA to take back Bermuda at ALL COSTS. I am sick, sick, sick of the made up one which is getting really, really old.

  12. Unbelievable says:

    But the PLP didn’t want to collaborate! They said they wouldn’t come to the table unless Bermuda went independent! It’s right there, IRAG!

    LOOK IT UP!!!! Go protest the PLP!!!!!!

  13. Trump says:

    http://bernews.com/2010/04/burch-to-fahy-you-are-not-invited-end-of-story/

    Here is a link to a good story of collaboration.

    • The Original Truth™ says:

      Fahy has had many secret meetings only brought to light because of the editorials of John Barrit. Although I don’t agree with Burch I do agree with the adage two wrongs don’t make a right. Every time Fahy gets cornered he says PLP did it. So if PLP did it why do the same?

      Why do you use the screen name Trump? Obama suits you better.

    • Ian says:

      Lol. This is fahys desperate attempt at making the case the OBA did try to collaborate on this? Breaking it down really simple for the not so mentally agile folks out there. THE OBA DRAFTED THIS LEGISLATION BEFORE ANY ATTEMPTS TO CONSULT OR INFORM THE PUBLIC! Understand what that means??? Or just going to continue playing dumb.

      • Bermudian says:

        The Investagation ! Hear me Ian ?? Or you playing DUMB?????

  14. campervan. says:

    If you would allow me a moment..
    we are a 25+ year family resident on the Island who just fell shy of the 89 cut off.
    As things stood we had planned to take our, not insignificant, nest egg to Europe once our current careers here come to completion.
    This will involve new ventures, and starting new businesses.
    The recently revealed pathways to status has had us reconsidering leaving at the end of our tenure as it could enable us to start our businesses here and buy property locally.
    I’m sure that we are not the only ones thinking along the same lines.
    However, the rhetoric we are hearing on the issue is both disappointing and intimidating.
    Right now, the euro and sterling have an extremely attractive exchange rate. That coupled with the risks here, the unknown time line for this “status” (or if indeed it will actually happen) has us quite frankly sitting on the fence.
    We are obviously meshed deeply into the fabric of the Island after over a quarter of a century here.
    What will be will be, and we will act accordingly and enjoy throwing our energies into part 2 of our lives wherever that may be.
    Peace.

    • The Original Truth™ says:

      You are full of it!

      Nothing is in place to stop you from starting a business now. Pathways were already established for those who start a business in Bermuda.

      • Come Correct says:

        People that want to set up a business want a stable environment to do so, not a place where there’s a potential for civil unrest. That’s one reason right there.

      • campervan. says:

        Hi Original Truth,
        I’m not really sure what you mean by “full of it”.. but moving on.

        Basically, the only “pathway” already in place is the Job Makers Act, which is designed for executives of large companies – a small business will not be eligible for the work permit exemptions required to apply for PRC under the Job Makers Act. In addition, a non-Bermudian/PRC is not permitted to start a business at all – you can only qualify under the Job Makers Act if you are employed by a company, not by owning a company.

        So in summary, as things currently stand we are only able to set up any new ventures elsewhere.

        There is a good summary at http://www.applebyglobal.com/publication-pdf-versions/briefs/brief-2013/the-incentives-for-job-makers-act-2013-(dec-2013).pdf

        I hope that this information enlightens you.
        All the best.

      • OMG says:

        Your ignorance must be bliss.

        They are NOT Bermudian and therefore CANNOT start a small business here without the majority shareholding of a BERMUDIAN. END OF STORY.

        I saw another comment from Campervan on the weekend after which the hatred that was spat at was appalling to say the least.

        You need not worry about this whole thing because the vile way in which those who are eligbile for this are being treated right now will surely be enough to drive these tax paying, contributing members of society away.

        Your mama must be real proud.

    • Lois Frederick says:

      I understand your apprehension. I hope thing calm over time and you feel comfortable enough to stay and invest in Bermuda. It is people such as yourselves that Pathways is aimed at. The silent majority support Pathways.

  15. Silence Do Good says:

    I particularly like the line “To date we have staged peaceful protests on behalf of the people of Bermuda to show our concern, however it appears that the OBA Government is not listening to the people of Bermuda.”

    This line concerns me because in their mind… to date they have been ineffective to change things to what they want so they must move to a different strategy. MP’s have been calling for social unrest, using threatening language and forewarning of the people’s wrath.

    Cut the garbage and the scary language you will not get my support if it continues. Individuals that would like to through our society over the edge and scare away all foreigners (investment/tourist) and peace loving Bermudians alike are still not going to be happy when there is more unemployment and they have even less opportunities to buy property. That is the reality you are calling for or is it what you really want. If it is then say it? Stop hiding behind political correct language and say what you really want?

    If the government of the day is not listening to the people (majority) then we get a chance to change them every four to five years. Stop sweating it and calling for destructive measures. Laws can be changed that is why the Immigration Act is a dogs breakfast. If and when the PLP regain leadership they can bipartisan the heck out of everything since they see sharing power as the new utopia of our political system.

    By the way, I wish this group would stop referring to the people of Bermuda. Not all of use share your views. It is like the Peoples Campaign, I did not ask them to represent me either. I voted and got who I got. If I don’t like it I get a chance to correct my mistake. Simple.

  16. aceboy says:

    IRAG? Hilarious.

    How is the hunger striker doing?

  17. Steve Watts says:

    I support the OBA in this matter so IRAG can just stop wasting their time.

  18. Silent Majority begins to stir says:

    The silent majority is beginning to stir. We have had enough of the hate filled vitriol against ALL Bermudians.

    The Supreme Court pushed this issue to the forefront. Certain folks within the PLP have decided to make it an anti-OBA issue. You know this is a legal not a political issue. tsk tsk.

    Mr. Brown and associates–you are doing major harm to this country at present and you are shooting the messenger–the OBA–

    If you have a beef–take it to the Supreme Court and have them reverse their findngs. Good luck with that incidentialy.

    Sadly, you are driving a massive wedge in between yourself and the moderate voting base of this country.

    I do fear you are so on the wrong side of this issue and threats only crystalize what the broader community are seeing on display.

    The vocal minority are voters BUT so are the silent majority and we really won’t forget this spectacle–that is now playing out on line and being covered overseas.

  19. Beam me up Sparky says:

    There’s gonna be an update when she gets back from lunch.

  20. Terry says:

    After reading the comments here it won’t be long before the rain hits the AC unit.

    There is a close nit 60′s era group that is after ‘winner take all’ and create another scenario that reflects many Carribean countries.

    If you believe no one gained by the GITMO boys I have a lunch wagon to sell you and a bridge next to the airport.

    The $800 million is………….

    Alah Akbah

  21. Baygrapes says:

    I am a born Bermudian (not that that should make any difference) and I am a worker… but I do NOT support you and YOU most certainly do not speak for me.

    BTW, a true Bermudian was born last week. I expect most of you were screaming to loud to even know. Welcome to our newest Cahow and thanks to Jeremy Medeiros and David Wingate for protecting this wonderful bird !!

  22. Happy says:

    yawwnnnnnnnnnnnn

  23. FFS says:

    This is becoming a black vs white issue with thanks to the opposition.

    Sadly it should be a wrong vs right one with Pathways clearly being correct.

    Let’s get this over with already and move on !

    • Full Fuulish says:

      What else is new? Its always a black vs white issue!

  24. LOL (Original TM) says:

    I do not support the pro black non sense but I support this group only on the bases that Bermudians are not being given a fair shake in our country..

    Keep squeezing the middle class and watch as they leave how is going to be left to tax

  25. Bermudian says:

    How much of this BS from Bean,Furbert, both of um,Brown and Tweed do you all think the real Bermuda will put up with?