MP Leah Scott: “You Need To Reassess This”

March 15, 2016

[Updated with OBA response] An internal email from OBA MP Leah Scott — which we have confirmed is authentic — is making the rounds after being ‘leaked’, with Ms Scott telling some of her colleagues that “you need to stop dismissing the concerns of the PLP as simple noise making” and they need to “step back and reassess this” as what they are doing is “cutting right to the heart of Bermudian people.”

The email, which was addressed to the Premier and three other members of Cabinet and is being widely shared via email and social media, said, “These are challenging times, and often times, what we think is the “right thing to do” may very well be the right thing to do, but it is not right at this time.

Leah Scott March 15 2016

“I have watched all of the emails over the past few days from various people encouraging the Government to keep pressing forward with Pathways for Status, lauding that it is the right thing to do. I have read the stories and justifications. There are several issues that concern me.

“1. The “right thing to do” really is no justification for Pathways to Status. In my opinion, our messaging should be:

  • “1.1 There are anomalies within families that need to be corrected. Pathways will address that.
  • “1.2 There are people here who were born here, or have been here their entire life, who know no other home but Bermuda and have no other home to go to. Pathways will address that.
  • “1.3 The remaining PRC holders who fall outside of 1.1 and/or 1.2 should be granted status on a staggered basis. Yes – it is a quota – but can be done in a palatable way, and I have some ideas as to how it can be done.

2. From what I have heard, the PLP and their supporters are not against Pathways to Status. What they are against is the process and their fears are 1] we are creating an en masse OBA voting block, and 2] we are jeopardising future job security for our children. I have said repeatedly that if we were ten years back and the economy was awash with cash, people were working, and houses were rented, Pathways would not be an issue. But we are here in an economy that is barely recovering and the country is in turmoil. People don’t have jobs, those who do have jobs, don’t have job security. People can’t pay their bills, can’t pay rent, are losing their houses. So everything that we do that seems to be “anti” Bermudian is magnified.

3. 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. Please give me a good argument to dissuade me of this.

4. You need to stop dismissing the concerns of the PLP as simple noise making. The gatherings are only going to get larger and more contentious, and your continued ignorance of the cries of the people is nothing but pure arrogance.

“You need to step back and reassess this. Not only do we need comprehensive immigration reform, but we need to reform immigration comprehensively. We have to start listening to the people and stop thinking that you have all the answers and the way that you do things is right or is the only way. Based on the law of averages, you cannot always be right and you don’t always do things right.

“Granted, I don’t know all of the things that have gone on behind the scenes in terms of collaboration. But i have had several people, including some of my constituents, contact me and ask me why the OBA isn’t listening, and what will it take to make them listen.

“We are public servants – we are elected to serve the people. Minister Fahy is not elected; however, 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. Are you prepared to let one man’s desire to promote his agenda be the driving force behind bringing this island to its knees?

“This is one of those issues that you can’t dismiss as folly. What you are doing is cutting right to the heart of Bermudian people. Both sides agree that there should be a pathway. Both sides agree that there are long term residents who should be granted status.

“However, a consensus has not been reached as to how those grants should be processed, and the people of this country have not been provided with any level of comfort as to how this Government intends to protect our Bermudian children.

“I am not saying that inciting people to civil disobedience is the right thing to do. Communication is always the answer and communication is not just talking, it is Listening.

“Desperate people do desperate things, and when people have nothing to lose, they will do anything, because they have Nothing to lose.

“I implore you to take this in the spirit that it is given. It is not my intention to be offensive in anyway. I am speaking what is on my heart and sharing what I have been hearing over the past few weeks and months. We have to get it right with the people.”

Update 3.31pm: Printouts of Ms Scott’s email are being distributed at the protest at the House

Leah scott email (2)

Leah scott email (1)

Update 6.18pm: OBA Chair, Lynne Woolridge said, “Minister Fahy has been Home Affairs Minister with responsibility for Immigration since the election of 2012.

“He has been appointed by two Premiers and is dedicated to bringing order and rational reform to his ministry and, more specifically, Bermuda’s Immigration policy. His aim has been to make policy work more effectively for the collective benefit of the Island and all Bermudians.

“Immigration is a hot button issue around the world and Bermuda is no exception, as the past few weeks have demonstrated. Clearly, some of the decisions taken by Cabinet are controversial, but they have also been right for Bermuda’s well-being and instrumental in helping to bring about the economic recovery all Bermudians need.

“We can appreciate that Minister Fahy’s decisive approach to public issues disturbs some in the community, but he, like his Cabinet colleagues, is doing all he can as quickly as he can to create conditions that will provide the jobs and opportunity Bermudians need now.

“Ms Scott’s email is an example of the free and sometimes intense discussions the party conducts in fulfilling its commitments to providing the people of Bermuda with a strong, secure and prosperous future.”

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