Minister & MP Brown On PRCs, Job Makers Act

February 13, 2017

Shadow Minister of Home Affairs Walton Brown expressed concern that the “Incentive for Job Makers Act is being stretched far beyond its original intended use,” as the “government has roamed far away from supporting international business,” while Minister of Home Affairs Patricia Gordon-Pamplin said the intent of the “Jobmakers Act 2011 was to encourage more investment that would provide more jobs to Bermuda,” and “while international business easily fits into this intent, there is no impediment against local companies applying.”

Mr Brown said, “The PLP is extremely concerned that the Incentive for Job Makers Act is being stretched far beyond its original intended use” as by “allowing the MarketPlace, a six-decades old local grocery store chain, to apply for PRCs for five non-Bermudian executives, the OBA government has roamed far away from supporting international business.”

In response, Minister Gordon-Pamplin said, “The statement rendered by MP Brown is unfortunately both inaccurate and alarmist. The application to which he referred was received on December 22, 2016 and is currently being reviewed. Nothing has been granted.”

Shadow Minister of Home Affairs Walton Brown’s Statement

Mr Brown said, “The PLP is extremely concerned that the Incentive for Job Makers Act is being stretched far beyond its original intended use.

“The law was introduced by the PLP to strengthen the international business sector to provide security to key executives to ensure these businesses continue operating in Bermuda to maintain and expand jobs for Bermudians.

“However, by allowing the MarketPlace, a six-decades old local grocery store chain, to apply for PRCs for five non-Bermudian executives, the OBA government has roamed far away from supporting international business.

“Without a rationale for this extension, the OBA’s granting of PRC’s to these men would be a manipulation of immigration policy reminiscent of the UBP’s controversial 1970s policies.

“The OBA must explain why the Job Makers Act is being exploited to include local grocery stores, where Bermudian jobs have existed for decades.

“If the OBA awards PRCs to these men, their jobs will no longer need to be advertised and thus unavailable to Bermudians living here and Bermudians abroad who may be looking to return home.

“The PLP believes that all businesses, but especially local business such as the Market Place, should be looking to promote Bermudians. If the OBA grants these PRCs, it will continue its pattern of putting the interest of non-Bermudians ahead of Bermudians who may be looking for opportunities for advancement in their country of birth.

Minister of Home Affairs Patricia Gordon-Pamplin’s Statement

In response, Minister Gordon-Pamplin said, “The statement rendered by MP Brown is unfortunately both inaccurate and alarmist. The application to which he referred was received on December 22, 2016 and is currently being reviewed. Nothing has been granted.

“I wish that MP Brown would have contacted myself or the Permanent Secretary before issuing a public statement as it puts the Department in an unfair position of having to respond to matters that are under review and incomplete.

“It is important for the public to understand what is required in order for persons to ultimately apply for a PRC. There are a number of checks that must be done before an application can be finalized. Persons cannot apply for PRCs until the application for concessions has been completed. Exemptions have to be approved for individuals before they can make an application to the Department of Immigration for a PRC.”

“The intent of the original Incentives outlined in the Jobmakers Act 2011 was to encourage more investment that would provide more jobs to Bermuda. While international business easily fits into this intent, there is no impediment against local companies applying for the concessions, it cannot be ignored that there are local businesses that also benefit from foreign investment to support their operations.

“The fact that their ownership can be up to 40% non-Bermudian speaks to this and they may be able to obtain concessions under Section 3B of the Economic Development Act 1968.

“Section 3B [2] states:

“The Minister of Home Affairs may designate a company as a company whose senior executive employees can apply for exemption from Part V of the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956, under section 5 of this Act, where the Minister is satisfied that the company—

  • [a] has at least 10 persons with Bermudian status on its staff;
  • [b] has persons with Bermudian status employed at all levels in the company, subject to the availability of suitably qualified Bermudians;
  • [c] provides entry-level positions for persons with Bermudian status;
  • [d] has programmes in place for developing and promoting persons with Bermudian status; and
  • [e] exercises employment practices which have not regularly required the intervention of labour relations officers of the Department of Workforce Development or the Human Rights Commission.

“However Section 5 of the Economic Development Act 1968 sets a high bar for persons seeking exemptions, such as:

  • The applicant must be a person in a senior executive position in that company;
  • the applicant must be responsible for making decisions that are critical to the continuity of the company in Bermuda;
  • the continued presence of jobs in Bermuda with the company for persons with Bermudian status must be dependent on the applicant remaining in Bermuda

“Subsection 5[5] states: An exemption shall not be granted under subsection [2] in respect of any person, unless the Minister is satisfied that there is no person with Bermudian status in Bermuda with sufficient qualifications and experience available to undertake the work concerned, efficiently.”

Minister Gordon-Pamplin concluded, “For clarity, the government does not ‘allow’ people to make applications. Anyone can make an application if they deem it to be appropriate and in accordance with the overarching legislation.

“The Department only has control over the outcome of applications and all applications in this particular category to which MP Brown refers will be processed and decisions rendered according to their merit.”

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Comments (33)

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  1. somuchless says:

    The plp has been stretched beyond intended use.

    • sonso says:

      I hope so man, for Bermudas sake.

      All the PLP seems capable of doing nowadays is making damn noise, And, 99% of the time it is over NOTHING, this story being case in point! In this blurt from Walton, he and his cohorts once again put the cart before the horse! If only the PLP acted as much as they talked, particularly about collaboration and transparency! My bet is Walton got a call from a pissed of PLP supporter who has the inside scoop regarding Marketplace and Walton felt the need to run to the press and whine like a little child to their moma!

      • I hope they bring in all the people they can and legalize same sex marriage so you fools can see what sitting back and doing nothing will get you. Debauchery in a paridise Island with a strong dollar is their main objective and you fools cant see it.

    • Cotty O says:

      The real beauty of all of this is that individual Bermudians are realizing the nonsense he/she is being fed by self serving well paid hypocrits and starting to stand up for their “own” beliefs…..
      I was so happy to see the men and women kept the ferry and bus service going…….it is such tribute to these people……it’s all about building opportunities……we all really need to ignore the negativity espoused by desperate high profile individuals…..thinking for yourself and coming to your own conclusions is gaining ground……people are become so more understanding of their opposite race…….it’s all good!

  2. mixitup says:

    The exact reason comprehensive immigration reform MUST happen, far too many loop holes that put Bermudians at a disadvantage.. So Marketplace over the years brings in foreign execs. I assume because their were no ‘qualified’ Bermudians.. these folks stay on after 3 years, then 4, then 5 with no real effort to find that ‘qualified’ Bermudian because they don’t exist right? Then you apply for PRC for these execs through a loophole… I trust that Bermudians are watching what is happening in this country!! Protect Bermudians opportunities in their country, hold to account those companies who after 5-6 years have still not found that ‘qualified’ Bermudian..

    • sonso says:

      Can you please enlighten us on what a “qualified” Bermudian is?

      • So Tired says:

        You should know. That’s the term always used to thwart Bermudian employment

  3. San George says:

    Give PRC to everyone who wants to live here – we need taxpayers.

    • And Trump is thinking de opposite.

      • Keeping it real says:

        Trump don’t need them.like we do if they all leave we will be up the creek.i guess u could fish an farm

        • The Original Truth™ says:

          If they all leave we’d be up a creek but we would do a lot better if the percentage that are here because of prejudice and greedy employers were made to leave.

      • The Original Truth™ says:

        Because Trump knows that open immigration policies are the downfall of a country. He has seen it happen to America and heard it from the people who voted for him.

    • The Original Truth™ says:

      When there’s more people than jobs in a country tax rates increase to support the unemployed. Hence the reason 70 million in taxes goes to financial assistance per year. I guess your not satisfied with the amount of taxes the government takes and would like to give them more. Increased population does not grow an economy increased education does and is what we lack. There are third world countries that have a better economic growth pattern than us just because they invested the little they had in their own university.

      I bet you can’t give me one example of a country where foreign population growth has benefited them and not caused an increase in poverty.

      You can’t give a hand up to others until you’ve pulled yourself up first.

      • serengeti says:

        ” bet you can’t give me one example of a country where foreign population growth has benefited them and not caused an increase in poverty.”

        The USA. Canada.

        “There are third world countries that have a better economic growth pattern than us just because they invested the little they had in their own university.”

        Oh really. Name three or four of them for us.

        • The Original Truth™ says:

          46.7 million people live below the poverty line in USA and 4.9 million in Canada. Canadians spend $84 billion annually in taxes that go to financial assistance. The poverty rate has rose to this much in both countries over the years despite open immigration policies. You can’t bring new people into a country without providing jobs for those already there. This is why Trump was elected. Trump may sound like anti immigration to those who support it but to those who have lost their jobs and sunken into poverty due to open immigration Trump sounds like the best thing since sliced bread.

          Brazil, Russia, India and Philippines four countries considered third world that have had more economic growth than Bermuda not because of open immigration but through increased education opportunities.

  4. Terry says:

    Mr. Brown just needs to shut up.
    He has to keep the fires burning and the people confused.
    If he got paid in cash he would b!%@h and moan that it was all in $1 bills.

    Look folks, I am doing something.

    Get a job at a clinic their gonna need help soon

  5. Chris Famous says:

    “the continued presence of jobs in Bermuda with the company for persons with Bermudian status must be dependent on the applicant remaining in Bermuda”

    Well right here there is a red flag as if these persons do not get PRC MP will not shut down.

  6. trump supporter says:

    Hey Mr,Brown, Care to divulge on the Uighurs!

    • Say Whaat? says:

      Go live with Trump!

    • The Original Truth™ says:

      The handful of Uighurs does not compare to the thousands of permit workers that are allow to stay year after year. All the Uigurs wanted was their wives and children to join them. There’s a large group of permit workers who wont be satisfied until their whole overpopulated country joins them. At least we can say we did our small part to allow a handful of refugees escape atrocities. This is the only good will we have ever shown to refugees so your point is a non topic.

      I don’t even know why you would call yourself a trump supporter when Trump is against open immigration policies. The major reason he was elected was that he promised Jobs to Americans who lost their jobs to foreigners because of the liberal’s open immigration orders.

  7. Joe Bloggs says:

    Dear Walton,

    If there is any misuse of the Act, it is because there have been “loopholes” in it since 2011, when it was enacted. You cannot properly blame the OBA for the Marketplace exploiting those “loopholes”.

    There have been no amendments to the Incentives for Job Makers Act 2011, so it has not been “extended” beyond its original scope.

    The Department of Immigration does not “allow” people to make applications for anything. People make applications. The Department determines whether the application meets the criteria and, if it does, whether there is some other reason it should be refused. Obviously, if the application does not meet the relevant criteria, it is refused.

    If you win the next election, I would be happy to be a consultant to you and explain such things.

  8. Silence Do Good says:

    Wait a minute….

    Let me get this straight?

    The PLP created the PRC status, then they create the Job Makers Act all the while leaving a loop hole in the legislation that would allow PRCs to gain status through the UK’s BOTC, hence turning expats (specifically rich anglo saxons) into Bermudians. Is this not the same group of foreigners the PLP and their voter base are constantly complaining about as turning Bermudians into second class citizens in their own country?

    MP Brown has some explaining to do regarding 14 years of PLP immigration policies that not only open the door but laid out the red carpet for the majority to be rich foreigners. If that is the case then Bermudian businesses should not be disadvantaged from creating more PRCs to Bermudians as well.

    It seems the kettle is calling the pot black on this one.

  9. Inquiring Minds says:

    What I need to know is whether these PRCs will be contributing to America’s Truck in any way, and for that matter, whether America’s Truck will indeed be as good for Bermuda as everyone says it will. America’s Truck is really dividing the island!!!!

  10. property owner says:

    Ok so all workers who have been mistreated take your complaints to the Labour department then they can prevent the company getting PRC simple

  11. Walter B says:

    OBA listen up:

    I’m not a strong fan of the PLP but, I truly believe MP Brown has a very good point with regard to a local super market applying for PRC status for its so called “Key Staff”.

    You mean to tell me there are no fellow Bermudians that can do this type of work?????

    Just my view:

    • the real Terry says:

      Walter B I take your point but it would be interesting to know how many “qualified” Bermudians have been fired for dishonesty or poor time keeping over the past 20 or 30 years from the Marketplace. I would be willing to bet it runs into the hundreds. My feeling is that if they could find someone qualified locally they would take him in a heartbeat. Why wouldn’t they. Just think of the expense and paperwork they have to go through to get a non Bermudian, $1200.00 a year work permit fee is just the beginning.

      • The Original Truth™ says:

        Your post reeks of implied prejudice against Bermudians. The mindset of you and others like you is the source of this issue.

        Plus you are ignorant. The cost of a work permit per year is not $1200 it’s $874. Even if it was $1200 that equates to a cost of $0 if an employee pays a permit worker $100 less a month than a Bermudian.

  12. Up D hill says:

    The OBA is the only way forward , THE Americas Cup is the biggest sporting event ever held in Bermuda! New Airport (jobs) new hotels coming on line and IB strong again and the alternative to all this is the PLP? PLEASE, there is no alternative!! Proof positive is Walton Brown’s ridiculous noise today!!!!!

  13. Need Peace says:

    Here we go again! watch her put her foot in her mouth again! If MarketPlace wants to play hardball, there are many ways to skin a cat!!!

  14. sid says:

    The PLP is no longer a labour party. It has become a far-right, anti-immigrant party.

  15. A Little Wisdom says:

    I do believe that Walton has a point. What is so special about Market Place that it has to keep these 5 employees here forever. Do the other supermarkets have or need senior foreign executives that run them? Do these have Bermudians successfully running them? Yes, there may be foreign investment but, that does not mean that there aren’t Bermudians who can do the job as well or better.
    Markret Place does have Bermudians at most, if not all levels of employment. So, it is providing many jobs for locals. However, this should not be a premise for giving PRC to long time employees who could or should have been replaced by ensuring that a Bermudian(s) was trained up to the required level.
    What it is doing may be within the law as it stands, but, is it necessary or good for Bermuda? Also, like other legislation that was enacted by the PLP, loopholes were left and loose ends were left dangling.

  16. Alvin Williams says:

    This should be a lesson for a future PLP government see what being fair has gotten us. The OBA government wasted no time in manipulating a good faith policy design to be fair and they have turn it around to help their foreign friends and their politicians have no hesitation in springing to and backing their policy decisions which go against the interests of Bermudians.