UK MP Asks About Territories Taking Refugees

October 24, 2015

During this week’s session of Parliament in the United Kingdom, a Labour MP asked if the UK Government plans to “distribute Syrian refugees amongst the British Overseas Territories [BOTs],” with the Minister of State responding that the BOTs have not been asked to take refugees, and also pointing out that immigration is a responsibility for the BOTs.

UK Shadow Health Minister Andrew Gwynne asked, “To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether his Department plans to distribute Syrian refugees amongst the British Overseas Territories.”

In response,  Minister of State Grant Shapps said, “The Home Office is the lead UK Government department responsible for the handling of Syrian refugees.

“The British Overseas Territories have not been asked to take part in the resettlement of the Syrian refuges into their communities. Immigration policy is a devolved responsibility for the Governments of the British Overseas Territories.

“If requested, it would therefore be for individual Overseas Territories to decide whether they would be willing to assist with the relocating of Syrian refugees in this particular case,” added Minister Shapps.

Bermuda is a British Overseas Territory along with 13 other jurisdictions; Anguilla, the British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, St Helena, Turks and Caicos, Pitcairn Island, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, and the Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus.

An estimated nine million Syrians have fled their homes since the outbreak of civil war in March 2011, taking refuge in neighbouring countries or within Syria itself, according to , a website by the Migration Policy Centre at the European University Institute.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR], over three million have fled to Syria’s immediate neighbours Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, while 6.5 million are internally displaced within Syria.

The Guardian reported that Britain is to respond to the refugee crisis facing Europe by taking 20,000 refugees from the camps on the borders of Syria over the next five years, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced.

Mr Cameron told the House of Commons the UK would “live up to its moral responsibility” towards people forced from their homes by the forces of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, and the Islamic State terror group.

The Prime Minister said the refugees would not immediately be granted full asylum status in the UK, giving them a right to settle, but instead a humanitarian status that will allow them to apply for asylum at the end of five years.

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Comments (76)

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  1. Jr Smith says:

    the western governments (usa, britan, france, germany the main perpetrators ) destabilise Libya & Syria within a year & now they want others to help clean their mess? need to tell mother england to bugger off….

    • So they are gonna bypass over 100 countries to overcrowd an already overcrowded 21 square mile island.

    • Agreed, and tell them don’t even think about Bermuda even considering to be a country to take in these, folk, we have countries far bigger then us that can, and we have enough refugees here already that need to go somewhere else.

      some Just happen to be in our Government at the moment.

      • af87 says:

        You disrespectful person. Please point out the refugees that need to “go” in your opinion.

    • Noway says:

      Is Bermuda a BOT? It is. So take your part. Again: who destabilized Syria the most? US, right? They also will take their part. Any problems with a few dozens of Syrian refugees in Bermuda? No. Ok. Any other questions?

  2. Terry says:

    We have hell to take care of our own.

    Can’t afford even 100 unfortunately of these refugees.

    Sleep tite folks.

    • So what’s the difference between refugees and P.R.C’s.
      100 more refugees or 100 more P.R.C’s is still 100 more people.

      • Terry says:

        “P.R.C.’s live here.
        They contribute.

        What the F_(& was your point again.

        Bring in 200 foreiners and then you will say ….they took my job.

        Were doomed.

        • Hey Fool you made my point for me. We already have refugees here, who live here and contribute. The problem I have is the foreigners are employed and the locals are unemployed and STILL losing their jobs. IF the locals can do the jobs the foreigners can do, send the foreigners back home and let the locals do it, I’m sure the foreigners would feel the same if they were back home in the same position.

    • Noway says:

      These people are refugees. Re-fu-gees, idiot. Fleeing from war, idiot. If you are a human, you will try to help them the way you can. This crisis is global, you have to take your part and stop acting like a spotless paradise island ignoring the world. You actually should be happy for hard working people coming and doing maybe your job instead of you. Bermuda cannot take care of a few dozen of refugees? Are you serious? What about the countries surrounding Syria? They can take a few millions? Time to stop being selfish…

  3. Family Man says:

    There’s room at Gombey House. The owners are always making humanitarian gestures without any expectation of a quid pro quo. (or as he likes to say “quid quo pro”)

    • BLOW IN says:

      you cant look after your own people, yet you want to take in god knows what, that doesnt even speak English, or drink GOSLINGS,

  4. Ryan says:

    As long as they wont be on welfare, I say absolutely. Bermuda’s economic recovery needs all the people it can get, especially given our declining population.

    • sebring says:

      unless they have what employers are seeking they will be on welfare! unless they come with money to Bermuda cannot take a gamble like that at this time to many going hungry and with out ! no jobs for the people that are here and the jobs that are available do not pay as much as what a single mother with 2 kids gets on welfare ! in Bermuda go figure!

      • Bermyluv says:

        Do your research on refugees!majority actually are never on welfare and they open business and very hard working people!

        • sebring says:

          you must be god to know that for sure! lol!
          Bermuda does not have the same opportunities for refugees as the United kingdom , Canada or the us. I hope you are not suggesting that most people on welfare are not hard working.
          my point is Bermuda can not and should not at this point in time even consider taking anybody else in. and further more any of these refugees with money to open up a business in Bermuda would be better investing in the mainland as foot traffic is greater and will give them a fast track to the nationality of the host country.!!!!!!!!

      • Frustrated Bermudian says:

        Bermuda needs english speeking properly trained waitstaff, butchers and chefs.

        • sebring says:

          maybe open up a course at the college on Bermudian slang that will solve the problem.

  5. Real Talk (original) says:

    …”with the Minister of State responding that the BOTs have not been asked to take refugees, and also pointing out that immigration is a responsibility for the BOTs.”

    Too funny. I seem to recall there being an altogether different view when former Premier Ewart Brown decided to take on 4 Uighurs.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      Something along that lines, but with the difference being immigration compared to a case of naturalization. I the case of refugees, it is a matter of what is supposed to be a short term residence/immigration, with them still retaining their citizenship of there home country, in a case like this. I add ‘in a case like this’ as they are refugees fleeing a conflict. Alternative cases might involve actual asylum seekers, where they would be seeking some degree of citizenship due to them actually fleeing their home country for purposes like deflection.
      The Uighurs case is closer to this later example, as they could not return home as their government had an execution order for them; they had effectively had their citizenships revoked by China. So by bringing them here it created a situation by which we became responsible for providing them with some sort of citizenship/naturalization that would give them rights as BOT’s, involving the right to travel as British citizens as they no longer have the rights to travel as Chinese citizens. In the case of the former example, the Syrians would still have their rights to travel as Syrians.
      Additionally, the other issue was that the good Doctor and Colonel engaged in direct negotiations with a foreign government (US) without informing or consent from the Overseas office (in direct violation of our constitution), and that put us, and by extension the British, in direct conflict with another government (China).

    • Taking 4 people when unemployment was not too bad vs taking multiple people with HIGH unemployment and lay-offs inevitable is no comparison.

  6. Zevon says:

    This will show how humanitarian Bermudians are.

  7. mj says:

    We didn’t start any wars, nor were we involved indirectly, Hell to the No! we already got suckered into taking 4 refugee ouighurs who are doing better than a lot of bermudians with their own legislation, how many different laws will be given to various sects of people we allow in our little island.. The refugees need to be distributed to those countries that caused distablization in those areas.

    • Well then says:

      The ouighurs have more rights than Bermuda-born&raised “prc children”.

  8. Well then says:

    Our politicians don’t have the guts give Bermuda born children a paper that grants them the rights to their own country and the “Bermudian” title; let alone take on refugees. Our country needs to focus on our own social and ethical issues before we have to sweep up another country’s mess (no names mentioned). I’ve actually lost hope in politics…

  9. Well then says:

    Those whose started and funded these wars can deal with it on their own terms. It’s not our duty as an overseas territory to deal with other’s issues. Realistically, where the hell would we put refugees on our island when we barely have enough land available for our own people. Was there a time when you had to have some sort of common sense to be a politician?

    • Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

      Grand Atlantic is ready and waiting for occupancy…

    • Terry says:

      Tell that to Florida with the Cubans and Haitians that keep coming.

      Money. Cheap labor.
      It is relevant.

  10. Widget says:

    @Onion Juice. Who got paid for the last lot that came here and why pick on PRC holders?

    • Because the P.R.C’s collaborate with the Anti-Labor and Anti-Union Movement and what’s funny is before they come here they are of Labor and Union persuasion.
      But we all know why.

  11. Vulcan Trash Cleaner says:

    the British Antarctic Territory has lots of room

    • Noway says:

      If you had to leave your home due to a war, would you be happy with the solution you suggested?

  12. Jus' Askin' says:

    This is interesting but yet not surprising ;-)

  13. Zevon says:

    But you were all fine with it when the USA wanted us to take two uigurs. I wonder why?

  14. Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

    Once again Bermuda will make a BIG mistake…its not about humanitarian efforts…research the consequences other LARGE countries are experiencing with this situation…nothing but trouble…

  15. Smh says:

    Wow…my people are cold and selfish. These people have fled their war torn coutnries and are living in desperation. Our population is declining so it would actually be in our best interest to help. Where are all those Christains now?

    • Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

      The Christians are too busy fleeing from persecution themselves…

    • Terry says:

      They “fled” because their own were killing each other.


      • Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

        You’re missing the real point T…those that have faith and truly believe in God are under attack by…you guess who…those that don’t believe.Christians are being ridiculed for what they believe therefore I’m asking the true Christian to leave the judgment to HIM…and to continue on their path to everlasting life…you can only save yourself so don’t get distracted by the Devils works trying to save his minions.

    • frank says:

      let England take them in

      • af87 says:

        Yes! And england can also take the thousands of gang banging bermudian young men, who have no hope of a life here without constant threat. And the singlwe mothers who want to claim every benefit known to man in the UK. Seems a fair deal?!

    • BLOW IN says:

      YES to get out of serving their country, thugs and gangsters is what you get, THERES ENOUGH LOCAL TALENT TO FILL THIS POSITION

  16. joe says:

    How silly. We are far too selfish to do anything like this.

  17. liz says:

    These people will required to be on welfare where ever they will be established, since this is the case for those accommodated in the European countries. Bermuda already has many Bermudians families on welfare due to the import of the 3rd class expat workers.
    This would affect the economy and create at clash in our culture. If we stop renewing our expat workers’ contracts and decide to take these assyrians, I’ll say OK at least we are exchanging workers not over populating the island.

    • Strike fund says:

      I would be interested to know your criteria for classifying expats.
      What makes a 1st class one (is this possible)?
      Are 2nd class ones over a certain height?

  18. Erica says:

    Have any of you even watched the video….seen the pain. While Christians are busy signing petitions against love fellow humans are living in hell. Helping one family would better than doing nothing. One family would not truly harm us. Some of these comments are so cold hearted. I just hope that we never know the pain these families are living.

    • Jeanne says:

      I totally agree. We need to have a sense of humanity and give people hope. In Canada, there are three different venues of bringing in refugees. One is a blended sponsorship between the government and a community group, normally lead by a church (for more info, go to ). if we, as Bermudians, could step up and help even just one or two families, it wouldn’t harm our community. They may even bring assets to this country. Currently, children living in refugee camps are being encouraged or forced to join armies, and many of them are doing because they have nothing to lose. How’s that going to help society and the future?? These armies, full of youth, are just going to continue to grow. I would rather these children be given an opportunity to become educated so that they become productive members of society. Let’s start thinking about the bigger picture and our future as a human race.

    • Terry says:

      Define “family”.
      911 come to mind?

    • mj says:

      @Erica–In case you haven’t notice there is devastation all around the WORLD!!!Some from Natural disaster and others from man-made, In a small island less than size of Manhattan, we should not be obligated to take on the responsibility of Wars we didn’t cause, nothing to do with humanitarinism more to do with common sense… If a mother is having a hard time feeding three children she will not be allowed to adopt any more!

  19. Triangle Drifter says:

    We are already one of the most densely populated places on Earth.

    Interesting to see who is howling ” no way” but they are OK with Bermuda gangsters trotting off to England & living off the English taxpayer.

    • sebring says:

      last I Checked we belong to England !not the other way around so nothing wrong going home!

  20. Jeanne says:

    I’m assuming – and hoping – that it is a lack of knowledge re the plight of the refugees that these heartless and inhumane comments are being made. I strongly recommend watching the video attached in the article, reading the Humans in New York blog or simply googling anything related to the plight of the refugees. How fortunate we are to be living in a country where you don’t need to witness the horror of your children being stolen, your father being blown to pieces, your house being burned to the ground, or your brother being lashed 12 times in front of a crowd for shaving his beard. Or maybe you can imagine what it would be like to be tortured with electric currents by a rebel army who ‘think’ you can provide them with information that you actually don’t have (and no, you cannot!). Do you think those experiences might cause you to grab your children and risk their lives by attempting to cross the sea in an overcrowded boat with no life jackets and no assurance of finding safety on the other side? And that’s if you’re lucky enough to make it to shore. Perhaps if you see the photo of the little drowned boy that washed up on a Greek island, it will trigger some sense of humanity within you. Because that’s the reality, folks! Their reality. And how lucky you are – we are – that’s it not our reality. If it were, wouldn’t you hope someone would be there to help???

    • sebring says:

      by there own people and you want to bring that home for future generations.

    • Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

      That video is a prime example of mind conditioning by the main stream media…The last video I saw was the refugees complained about not getting enough “sex” in the camps…”Internet” too slow…”food” not quite what they like. Now if you were running from war torn and death staring you in your face…would you complain..? Also don’t forget that ISIS or ISIL, is amongst those trying to enter all countries around the globe posing as helpless refugees to plant their roots and recruit others.

  21. AteVanessa says:

    I think if Bermuda takes these refugees, they should also allow refugees from the Philippines cause we have war also we are poor :)

    • Jeanne says:

      This conversation is about “refugees” (from war torn countries) not immigrants – and not just Syrians. For example, a family of 10 from South Sudan, who have been living in the Dadaab Refugee Camp in eastern Kenya for the past 15 years, will soon have a new home and a new life in a small community in Canada (see Can you imagine being born into a refugee camp and living in a tent, for that long? I commend the people of Barrington, NS, for coming together to change people’s lives.

  22. Just a matter of time says:

    Where were the West’s hospitable voices during Africa’s refugee (and I say that term loosely) upheavals in the past from famine to genocide to war torn atrocities? Remember the UN refused to label the Rwandan massacre a genocide in 1994 which was the key word needed opening up global help and support. Those people were not even allowed to flee out of Africa. Now these Syrians are escaping similar atrocities. Is it inhuman to send them back and keep them in their countries? Hypocrisy at its best. Give me a break.

    • Strike fund says:

      I think the refugees are the ones that need the break.

  23. Just a matter of time says:

    @TD. These ‘gangsters’ have UK and EU passports do they not? Which means freedom of choice to travel entering the UK legally. It doesn’t matter what the back story is. The Syrian crisis is totally different. Just another pathetic swipe at Bermudians.

  24. Better understanding says:

    Me,me, me, me, me is all i’m reading in response to an article about people who have no where to live or bring up their children and who are coming from a war torn country. Many articles written about our own in other countries doing well and being praised by bloggers, but when someone else wants to live or come to Bermuda and live or even just some help, they are put down. Very one sided and very selfish. Happy to receive but not to give !!!!! Lets just hope we don’t need help from another country one day and they close the doors on us, then you will have something to blog about.

    • sebring says:

      unless we go independent we are British first then Bermudian..

    • mj says:

      I think you need to gain a better understanding, those countries in devastation have never offered to assist us or others during their time of need, many people throughout the years have “boasted against the natural branches” especially during oppressive conditions and still do today whenever locals are in need there is ridicule from the “grafted” in of our community.The videos and pictures we are shown are for the reason of appealing to the emotion of others because the countries that started the mess want to close their borders, when this refugee situation should have been thought out before the war took place as is alwyas the case there are casualties or survivor refugees..Thiis is nothing new and Bermuda has taken its share of paying for a debt she never owed.Let common sense and knowledge prevail.

  25. Just let these poor people know we are a 26 mile island one and a half miles at its’widest point…with fiftyfive thousand people jammed together….please make sure that if you do come….not to eat raw peanuts,cabbage,cole slaw franks and beans,black rum together….unless it is fairly breazy….in all fairness…it wouldn’t be right for them not to know this…

    • BLOW IN says:

      surely the reef will stop them from landing, OR WILL B.A fly them in , that should be fun to watch

  26. Just a matter of time says:

    @Strike fund. You totally missed my point. Tends to happen with geopolitical hypocrisies. Take it up 30K feet and see the wider picture.

  27. Darrell says:

    If these people loved their country they would fight! 9 million people, how many young men could fight out of that number? At least a million. Instead of fleeing join the military and fight the enemy to save your country! If somebody was attacking Bermuda, I sure as hell would fight!

  28. The Ridiculist says:

    Where is the Humanitarian act for local unemployed Bermudians? Where is the Humanitarian act for mistreatment of black people? where is humanitarian act for mistreatment of immigrants? Where is the Humanitarian act for equal pay? Where is the Governments Humantarian act for Bermudians being Bermudians? Where is Bermuda’s Humantarian Act to feed the Hungry? Seems like we missed the Humantarian act completely in BERMUDA. Sorry Humantarian Act does not live here in Bermuda.

  29. aceboy says:

    So we can accept 4 Uighurs from a prison in Cuba but not these people?

    And we call ourselves humanitarians?

  30. BLOW IN says:

    ST KILDA is the place to send them its offshore and they wont annoy the rest of us,