Petition Launched Calling For Bi-Partisan Reform

March 6, 2016

Another online petition has been launched on the topic of immigration, with this petition calling for “bi-partisan immigration reform” with the petition adding that “rushing this legislation through parliament for purely political reasons is not the correct way to go about this deeply sensitive and historically divisive issue.”

The petition — which was launched yesterday and has 203 signatures as of this writing — says, “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.

Screenshot of a section of the online petition:

Fullscreen capture 06032016 70247 AM

“Immigration reform has long term implications for present and future generations of born Bermudians in regards to the following issues:- Employment, Government and private scholarships, land availability, housing costs, electoral results,” the petition adds.

“Therefore, we are asking for your support in requesting that all Bermudians have a say in any and all forms of immigration reform going forward.”

The immigration proposal – which was announced last month – would see changes including any person who is ordinarily resident in Bermuda for 15 years becoming eligible to apply for permanent residency, and permanent residents ordinarily resident in Bermuda for 20 years becoming eligible to apply for Bermudian status.

The launch of this petition comes hours after a petition was launched supporting the immigration initiative, with petitions now available for supporters of both sides.

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Comments (68)

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  1. WarwickBoy says:

    Those opposed to “rushing this legislation through Parliament” have offered nothing in the way of policy ideas to encourage any reasonable person to oppose what look to be a good set of ideas on the part of the Govt to help address our economic ills.

    How is one supposed to hop on board the train of supporting the Opposition’s desire to have some say if the Opposition won’t even give us a hint of what they’d like to see enacted? It beggars belief. If the Opposition’s policy ideas are so much better than what the Govt is proposing to do, why are they hiding them?

    I am not expecting any revelations from the PLP on this though. They have been steadfast in their refusal to say what they’d like, and their supporters have been steadfast in standing 100% behind a group that will not reveal one iota of what they want Bda to do on this front.

    • IslandTeacher says:

      Agreed, most Bermudians embrace modern Bermuda and refuse to turn back to the familiar pattern of division and denial of Rights. This is Bermuda’s opportunity to increase local economic opportunity, face up to our demographic time bomb and meet our legally binding obligations. Modern Bermuda is much more cohesive than the xenophobic rhetoric of the past. The struggle for economic well-being for all must continue so that we and our children have a future. This is about embracing hope over the despair of division. It’s time for Modern Bermuda to move on.

    • George says:

      You’ve said this so nicely. I was going to say: “bipartisan” immigration reform means no reform, because the opposition would rather kick all the foreigners out and end up as poor as Haiti… but at least we’d all be equally poor.

      • Nanny Pat says:

        It is scary at how true your statement really is. Be careful what you wish for Bermuda! Google images of Haiti for a dose of reality.

        • Jus' Askin' says:

          Google the HISTORY of Haiti and SEE how they got to this point….

        • Ian says:

          That your educated view on this. Dont determine immigration reform via bi-partisan agreement and we’ll end up like Haiti? lol

          You ever stop to think about whats happened in other countries when the masses have reacted to unpopular governance and legislation being forced on them.

          • It's about time! says:

            MASSES???? You’re EFFIN’ delusional!!! A small but vocal minority has erupted and you want to speak of masses?? OVER 70% of the response has been favourable towards the Pathways To Status initiative.

            Don’t worry…we see through your bull***t….

            • Ian says:

              “Small but vocal” lol. You guys have a new mantra every five minutes. Do you actually THINK or is it easier to simply pull from the OBA bag of one liners.

              And theres that 70% again! Your own governments wouldn’t bank on that level of support, hence why they’re pushing this through before the next election genius. The irony is its the OBA supporters that are too daft to see the obvious.

              You think that loss they took during the bye election reflects that 70%?! That loss was by the largest margin in YEARS. If anything the OBA can rely on people like you to be delusional about the reality of how the MASSES on this island feel. And the masses aren’t a bunch of foreigners and 1st generational status holders who expectedly feel there interests come before born and bred Bermudians.

              • George says:

                At some point, the productive, tax-paying foreigners will just leave. They don’t bother with the political debates. They vote with their feet.

                It will be a sad day when it happens, and if the PLP appear poised to win, you’ll see it in 2017. Then Bermuda will have some very unappealing choices: devalue the Bermuda dollar, massive cuts to civil service, or massive tax hikes (which will further chase people away). Or maybe all three.

                • Ringmaster says:

                  What people like Ian are missing is this. When Minister Fahy and others held a public meeting to explain Pathways, they were shouted down by a group of about 20 people, including Peggy Burns and the trombone player. At that meeting, the shout was “No Immigration Reform”. Look at the pictures and hear the chant. All the did was to do what they were told. By who? Well the vocal PLP MP is well known.
                  On Friday, those same 20 odd people were joined by more to shout “We want Bipartisan Immigration Reform”. In less than 2 weeks they have gone from No Reform to Bipartisan Reform. Do they know the difference? Do they care or are they likely just following orders?
                  No wonder they have no credibility.

    • Rich says:

      I actually suspect the PLP are secretly happy with this proposal.

      I remember in recent years that when they were Ministers, Zane Desilva and Patrice Minors and others used to talk about our coming demographic crisis. The Dept of Statistics have also warned about this crisis as well for years. Everyone knows what needs to be done. “Pathways” is a rational response to a real crisis.

      The PLP are probably glad that someone is trying to fix the problem and it’s not them. That way, they won’t get the political flack and they can score political points at the same time. If they ever get back into power, they will probably tweak the “Pathways” legislation just to say that they did something without taking too much away from it.

    • Ian says:

      What’s scary is you and those patting your back actually believe the crap coming out of your mouths right now. You do realize your Infallible OBA government formally blocked proposals by the opposition to launch a bi-partisan committee for immigration reform right? No comment on that one huh.

      • Jus' Askin' says:

        They NEVER want to hear the TRUTH ;-)

        • mixitup says:

          They hear what they want to hear and see what they choose to see..

      • rich says:

        You do realize that Waltons motion effectively gave the opposition a power to veto govt proposals?

        I’m sure you also realize that joint select committees have a terrible record when it comes to timely proposals?

      • Longtail says:

        What I remember from the PLP is a little different Ian – more like “We don’t care what you think”…..

      • Its me again says:

        Three times

  2. Franklin Jr says:

    “bi partisan” in PLP speak = “our way our the highway, shut de island DAWN!”

    • Ian says:

      Easy to draw those types of dumb conclusions when all of your friends look like you and have similar backgrounds regarding their connection to this island (if any). You’re not even capable of relating with those who want something AS FAIR as immigration reform that is determined across party lines.

      • Onion says:

        My family is as Bermudian as they get. 400 years of history on the island.

        I support pathways to status unequivocally.

        • Ian says:

          And I’m sure your family also falls into the bucket of bermudians who have supported the intent of these types of immigration policies in the past, during a very dark time in our history. Also guessing the family benefitted from other injustices here too. So you probably want to pump breaks on being the poster child for this latest round of OBA BS.

      • jt says:

        Read Walton’s motion. It’s pretty clear how Walton wants things to proceed.

      • aceboy says:

        And there it is….all about politics.

        The OBA are all about economics, but you dunderheads are simply concerned about political fairness.

  3. Snoopy says:

    Unfortunately, nothing will be accomplished bi-partisanly as the opposition shows no sign of willingness to work together with government on any matter. The daily discourse is purposely deceiving and destructive.

    • Ian says:

      Yeah… because it was the PLP that blocked the PLPs proposed formation of a bi-partisan immigration reform. How is it you cant see how ridiculous you look and sound talking about deceit and unwillingness when the OBA’s track record has been nothing but that on matters related to immigration. You must realize you’re only going to piss off more people with your “gonna play dumb” charade…

      • jt says:

        Bean said no collaboration. Brown’s motion doesn’t even sound like that’s really what they want. Very transparent.

        • Rhonda says:

          and the OBA said we lie……. un-apologetically….so what….

  4. Rich says:

    God forbid that some people should have a say in supporting “Pathways” without another petition popping up within hours.

    The first petition probably went up because some ppl didn’t feel comfortable speaking in favour of the proposal more publicly or openly. In contrast to the Immigration Reform Action Group and their supporters.

  5. ANTI Ignorance says:

    take this petition to use in the toilet next time. Bipartisan my a** more like pro plp only

    • Ian says:

      Funny because this poll actually reflects the sentiments of predominantly BERMUDIANS, which means something believe it or not when the country affected by this is BERMUDA.

      • Family Man says:

        Judging by the comments left on the poll, I would say this poll represents a large segment of very poorly educated people.

        Not sure how you can determine nationalities. Care to explain?

        • Ian says:

          Ignorant. Poorly educated. “Just don’t get it.”. Typically the starting point for people like you as it relates to comprehending most bermudians. And you’re thoroughly bred that way. Couple that with the fact you DO have a sense of superiority which again isn’t your fault. So it’s almost impossible for you to even recognize that you’re a modern day bigot because you are a product of deep rooted legacy which has a VERY different make up from that shared by many of the people who see this legislative proposal for what it is. People like you represent the mentality that has become a cliche the world is increasingly looking to stamp out.

      • Mr Sparkle says:

        How do you know the signers are all Bermudians – anyone can sign, anyone can lie… about at honest as your PLP’s empty call for setting up a bipartisan committee….. nothing but background noise.

      • Mr Sparkle says:

        Here is my favorite comment so far:
        I’m signing this because I want you to see my comment. Not because I support your movement. You should be ashamed of yourselves. How would you feel being born and raised somewhere without right to live there in the long term. Canada, US & EU give you the opportunity to get status. Why shouldn`t we. Personally, this is a politically motivated group, who do not care about human rights. Again, shame on you.

  6. Reality Check says:

    Yeah the PLP successfully chased out a healthy slice of the exempt company sector , along with the corresponding Bermudian jobs , over their brilliant term limit scheme . That’s just what we need is those geniuses meddling in immigration reform now !

  7. Chateau le Roof says:

    There is plenty of housing out there on the market, rental and purchase. And it’s mostly Bermudians who own the rentals, and Bermudians who are struggling to sell property because their buyer base is reduced only to Bermudians and PRC holders. With a population in decline, it’s Bermudian homeowners who will suffer in the long term. This is reflected already in the purchase market with sellers sitting on properties they can’t move and reducing prices to be competitive.

  8. Well played says:

    Perfect political play.
    Since the petitions are not properly secure anyone can vote as many times as they like.
    Since the second petition makes this a popularity contest that nobody can afford to lose you must now assume that all signatories are fake and neither petition matters.
    All voices of the public are rendered irrelevant.
    Politics is for politicians. The public should not be involved.

    • jt says:

      YYp. And we’re back to a noisy few that gather in public. So carry on and get it done.

  9. Rhonnda Oliver says:

    I took the time to read through the comments left on the petition and it seems to be a mixture of perspectives.

    There is the expected racial, political responses, but there are also people who seem to be truly concerned that this measure will heavily impact the future for their children and grandchildren.

    It suggests a misunderstanding of what this act will actually do and how many people it will affect. Because there is an expressed fear of opening floodgates and taking away of jobs.

    I’m not certain if the problem is the way the OBA presented the act in the first place, or if there is a traditional belief in trusting a certain sector to speak the truth as they once did.

    Either way, I feel badly for those who truly believe that this act will cause harm to the island and future generations. You shouldn’t have to fear in your own country. I wish there was some way to explain that at the worst, this act will change nothing but give a few people security, and at best will offer more opportunity.

    • Jus' Askin' says:

      How can You not see the impact on Our Future?
      This leaves Us wide open from here on in. It’s a few today, then a few tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, next decade, next century……
      So tell me how this does not impact Our children, grand children, great grand children…..
      People want us to believe it is just a handful today so let it be, but that is not ALL that will be allowed to do so, especially now with No Term Limits.

      WHY DON’T YOU WANT BERMUDIANS TO HAVE SECURITY?!?

      • Rhonnda Oliver says:

        I am Bermudian and I do want Bermudians to have security in their own country, which is why I support Pathways.

        Bermuda’s population is on the decline. There are more people retiring than are coming into the workforce. This means that less people are going to be paying into pension funds, which means that less money is going to be available to our seniors, less money going into the economy, more businesses closing, less jobs, and so on.

        Even if we were to have baby boom today, that would still mean there is 20 plus years before the children would be in a position to help the economy financially and not simply be a draw on an ever decreasing working population.

        We need people, working people, people with money, in Bermuda now. Immigration is the only thing that is going to help the position we’re in and starting with people who have already invested a god portion of their lives to the country is the best way.

        There is only a handful… around 800 I believe, in a position to apply immediately. This means yearly, only a tiny portion of that would come eligible to apply. And remember being eligible doesn’t mean they will apply, or that they’d receive status or PRC, only that they can apply.

        The floodgate scenario just doesn’t exist. So long as our department of immigration and Bermudians themselves stay honest and keep one another honest, it just can’t happen.

        I hear the fear people express that they’ll take jobs away from Bermudians, but for anyone who’s been working the last 20 years at least, you have to recognise that jobs left when the expats did. Not just their jobs, but jobs in other businesses as well. Maybe it doesn’t seem logical, I mean, how can having more people mean having more jobs, but that’s how it works.

        All the protesting that is being done about bipartisan discussion is fine. It would be nice to see it happen, but we have an adversarial political system. And even if they did sit down and discuss, how long do you think it would take for them to come to decisions?

        We need help now. Not tomorrow. Today.

        Protesting against allowing this small group of devoted people to have the opportunity to have status is such a waste. Let it happen.

        Put the energy into something that will help the future generations.

        Education. Discipline. Morality. Humanity.
        This is where our attention and energy should be.
        These are the things that will benefit Bermuda and the upcoming generations.

        • Rhonda says:

          Bermudians, mostly Black Bermudians are emigrating, or not reproducing themselves..and are being replaced by White Europeans….

          that is just a fact…
          Fahy said race to him doesn’t matter… and on the surface that sounds noble… underneath the surface it is genocide.

          I oppose this pathway until such time that we get a real handle on unemployment..

          I am hearing from friend of 50 to 100 people applying for one job opening…

          and the OBA plan is to make more Bermudians to skew the stats…. move PFC over to the Bermudian column since they already have jobs and statically earn 20% more than Bermudian…. by the pen here you go more Bermudian jobs and higher wages…

          while in reality there are still 4k people searching for jobs….

          the immigration act has to have a sunset clause…

          during good periods the immigration can be liberal during down times immigration has to pull back..

          immigration is a privilege not a right….

          • Rhonnda Oliver says:

            It would be foolish of me to debate the reality of Bermudians leaving Bermuda.

            It was something that became a trend six or seven years ago. I don’t really understand why it’s only now that people are talking so much about it. People started making ‘exit strategies’ and they were telling their children who were away in school to stay there if they could. People had lost hope, were scared of the possible future for Bermuda. And, as you’ve pointed out, most of these were black Bermudians.

            I don’t fault people for leaving. There are limited opportunities in Bermuda. People want better opportunities for their children, and themselves. It does, however, make me sad.

            It also makes me wonder how the heck they can afford to emigrate. But that’s a whole other thoughtline.

            Like you, I also know of positions where close to 200 people have applied. There’s no question of the reality we’re presently in that there aren’t enough jobs for everyone who needs one.

            But here’re the questions, how do you think we’re supposed to get a handle on unemployment? Where do you think the jobs are going to come from?

            There seems to be this believe that if we toss out all the non-Bermudians, Bermudians can take those jobs and the problem ends.

            It is, to put it bluntly, ignorant to think this way.

            Every expat here came on a work permit. A work permit for which the employer had to jump through hoops and pay money they’d rather not pay to get.

            Why? Because there wasn’t a Bermudian qualified or willing for the job.

            If you honestly believe that companies are paying off Government to let expats in so they don’t have to hire Bermudians, you’re buying into the us vs them mindset. And I’d like you to stop and think who was in power when these people came to Bermuda.

            One issue that might change this would be for us to have a minimum wage. Mind you, I only say, might.

            But when you believe this us vs them mindset, please stop to consider that you’re accusing other Bermudians, black and white, both employers and civil servants of choosing money over integrity.

            Now, let’s go back again to the hard question for those in opposition of this, and many other things, where do you think the jobs are going to come from?

            We need people. We need people with money. Money creates money, creates jobs, and so on. Those unemployed people out there are not going to find work unless something changes, and Pathways is the first step.

            Fahy is correct, race doesn’t matter in this, it can’t. You can’t go out there and say ‘hey, rich black people who want to live in Bermuda this way’ any more than you can reverse.

            All Government can do is make Bermuda welcoming, showcase us to the world, and who comes, comes. And as long as the money is legal, we can’t afford to be picky.

        • Jus' Askin' says:

          Please let us be Honest.
          A Guest worker’s intention when they arrived here was not to Make Bermuda Better but to make Money.

          The idea that in 15-20 years a guest worker has held a job and a Bermudian was not able to fill that position, should really ALARM YOU.

          I do not like this
          O ppress
          B ermudians
          A genda

          • Rhonnda Oliver says:

            Yes, it alarms me. It should alarm you as well.

            Why are there no qualified Bermudians applying for the positions when they come up for renewal?

            This is where we need to broaden our education. This is where we need to set up a minimum wage. This is where we need to make certain immigration laws are being enforced.

            As for your belief that the OBA wants to oppress Bermudians. I want to ask you why would they want to do that.

            Logically, a government should want the country to prosper, if it prospers those in government get more money, not the other way around. Why the heck oppress the local population? You need them successful, you need them happy, you need them with money, you need them able to pay taxes.

            Oh, and if that’s how you view the OBA, how do you view the PLP, who were the ones in office during the majority of that 15 to 20 years.

  10. Jus' Askin' says:

    Still SAD that the ONLY thing(s) that are mentioned quite often is Money and Bermuda will end up poor :-(

    We built it up before and We can do it again ;-)

  11. Triangle Drifter says:

    Be reasonable. See it the Oppositions way.

    Trouble is, the Opposition does not have a way. If they do they are keeping it a secret & telling the easily led to trust them. Mostly they are are not saying a word.

    Just the noise of slogans & opposition without suggestions.

    • Ian says:

      Triangle, save what I am telling you here, I think most people stopped taking your prejudice and bigotry fueled opinions seriously a LOOOONG time ago.

      • Smh says:

        And what you’re speaking about is the issue entitlement.

  12. Tom Cooke says:

    It would be nice to see a policy statement from the shadow Imagration minister… instead of all these demonstrations.. which is a right.. sure.. but let’s see and hear from the PLP..you can’t just say you want full bipartisanship. .. without a policy…

  13. steve says:

    i was wondering

    did the former government offer bipartisan participation…in any decision? just wondering, i cant remember everything.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      I don’t remember either. I do remember something about “We don’t care what you think”.

      Funny how karma comes back to bite you.

  14. Trisha says:

    203 already signed, I though with those who wanted their status, the number would be more perhaps because only those working legally would dare to sign their names down. Immigration has to keep on truck of those who stay and work without permission.

  15. Mind-boggling says:

    Perhaps the OBA should just call the PLP’s bluff on this and ask them to sit down and voice their actual real objections and propositions in a public forum. Then people can judge whether they really want to address the issue or not.

    If the PLP’s only real objection is their assumptions regarding how people will vote perhaps they should reflect on why new citizens who are not bound by Bermudas history may not vote for them. If they are truly a labour party, they should appeal to workers regardless of their colour. Maybe they need to work more on the ” Progressive Labour” mandate and less on just “party”-centric.

  16. voltage says:

    You lost me at bi-partisan – that is what our legislature is for and politicians who act responsibly beyond their party affiliation. In the absence of that… we need Community engagement, Community participation and Community conversations.

    Our system is polarized by design and default. We must go beyond party politics and directly to our Bermuda community on this and many other issues.

    The OBA is currently being forced to communicate better, earlier, with feeling and that will help their service commitment to all of Bermuda.

  17. 235 says:

    December 2017 can’t come soon enough!

    • Mr Sparkle says:

      So the OBA can be re-elected – YES!

      • Ringmaster says:

        Does it really matter who wins in 2017? The most important winners should be Bermudians and I doubt if they will win whichever party wins the election. The financial state of Bermuda was sealed by 2012. It is not escapable.

  18. Navin Pooty Tang Johnson says:

    Bipartisan does not mean shouting down the people who you meeting..it means giving them the chance to speak….perhaps the people who are writing the signs should put the meaning on the back of the signs

  19. Triangle Drifter says:

    Watch for a surge in voting tomorrow morning.

  20. opposition desire bi partisan….

    their way bankrupt bda…both monetarily and morally…

    so please….step aside and let OBA set things straight please…

    you have had your way and that way didn’t Ballance the economy…

    this is a tried …tested…and PROVEN way!

    it is not new….you lot don’t like it because it works.

  21. also…in case you hadn’t noticed…bi partisan would mean a co op or cooperative conglomarative approach….and in case…you hadn’t noticed….you are anything but…cooperative…at any level but inherent greed…

  22. Seriously says:

    The petition currently has 717 signatures, wow, that really demonstrates a majority!! NOT. lol

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      And the pro pathways petition is well over 2000. What a minoirity! Must be PLP math.