MPs Debating Motion On Immigration Reform

March 7, 2016

[Updated with video + Motion was defeated]

Members of Parliament are debating immigration policies following a Motion of “urgent public importance” brought by Opposition MP Walton Brown in the House of Assembly today [March 7].

Speaking outside the House today, Opposition Leader Marc Bean said, “This morning, the Progressive Labour Party took an extraordinary step in rising to present a Motion in the hope that One Bermuda Alliance would have a change of heart in terms of how they approaching this reform of immigration.

“And so this is our last attempt, last effort, to genuinely seek collaboration via a Joint Select Committee on immigration, and we’re hoping as result of the debate that we’re holding today that you will see a shift in the mindset of the One Bermuda Alliance.”

Update: Audio of Mr Bean’s comments replaced with video:

Mr Brown’s Motion read, “Whereas the public welfare is now challenged by proposed amendments to immigration law and the likelihood for growing and sustained unrest increases daily; and whereas there is a need for an inclusive approach for the betterment of Bermuda on such law; accompanied by the movement away from brinkmanship dispositions; be it resolved that, pursuant to Part IV of the Parliament Act 1957, a Parliamentary Joint Select Committee be appointed to examine the wide range of issues involved in comprehensive immigration reform; to propose for the consideration of Parliament a set of comprehensive immigration reform measures; and to submit its report within six months. Be it further resolved that this report be consulted by Members of the Legislature prior to any Bill being tabled dealing with the subject matter.”

PLP MPs outside the House today:

PLP MPs March 7 2016 (2)

The Motion follows after the announcement of an immigration proposal would allow people ordinarily resident in Bermuda for 15 years to become eligible to apply for permanent residency, and any permanent resident who is ordinarily resident in Bermuda for 20 years becoming eligible to apply for Bermudian status.

Since the announcement was made on February 5th, the topic has remained in the headlines, with five protests held in relation to it over the past month, and petitions being launched on both sides of the topic.

As of this writing, the House of Assembly has adjourned for lunch and is expected to resume this afternoon.

Update 2.30pm: The House is back in session and the debate is back underway

Update 3.20pm: The Speaker just asked MP Rolfe Commissiong to leave the House, which has has done.

Update 5.18pm: The debate continue, and the audio below is of the Premier speaking this afternoon on the Motion and debate

Update 7.23pm: The debate continues [you can listen via radio or] and it is expected today’s session of the House will not end until quite late. MP from both sides are speaking to the Motion.

Update 8.31pm: The Premier is speaking now, and the Speaker said that the Premier will close out the debate…as in it should be ending soon and going to a vote.

Update 9.07pm: The Motion has been defeated by a margin of 18 – 14, with it appearing that the OBA MPs voted against it, while the PLP MPs voted for it

Update 11.01pm: The House is still in session, as MPs have now moved back to the budget debate that was scheduled for today.

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Comments (91)

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  1. Double S says:

    I hear the PLP MPs are now referring to people as ‘diseased cockroaches’ today in the House.

    Always classy you guys are…

    • Uptop says:

      The foreign cockroaches come here taking Bermudian cockroaches jobs and then expect to stay here forever ….

      • The Original Truth™ says:

        He referred to the OBA as cockroaches not anyone from the public.

        On the other hand Patricia Gordon-Pamplin did attack Lynne Winfield’s name which is cowardice and appalling to do as a minister especially when she did in a place where Lynne would not be able to defend herself.

      • aceboy says:

        We are all cockroaches then. We ALL came here from somewhere else.

      • You made me teply says:

        They not taking jobs as they already have jobs they permanent residents which means they don’t need a permit! If Bermudians could do the job they won’t be coming here would they! Foreigners teach us it’s called the Circle of LIFE! #WatYaDumb?

    • Ben says:

      Who exactly did you hear this from?

      • O'Brien says:

        Mr. Roban likened the OBA to disease-bearing cockroaches before being directed by the Speaker to withdraw the remark.

        • Ben says:

          It sounds as if Mr. Roban simply gave in to his anger. Obviously it was a huge mistake, but with the number of experienced trolls the OBA has on their payroll, it’s hard to blame him. Just look at this Comments section.

          • hmmm says:

            You and Roban = no difference.

            • Really Really Bettty says:

              I hope that OBA and all of Bermuda would take heed to the very Significant words of Sir. John Barritt…His words are very important

              If Bernews Permits, I will quote Sir.John Barritt words as written in his article called “Willingness to seek common ground would help us all”…

              Compromise, collaboration and consensus are not four-letter words, as you well know, Mr Editor, but it sure seems like it when it comes to modern-day politics, if you get my drift.

              ‘This can be one of the drawbacks to the Westminster system and how the winning party gets to take all, no matter how close the popular vote. The party in power claims that it was elected to govern — and so it should. Lead, that is. But that doesn’t necessarily mean dictate, and especially when the other half of the electorate didn’t vote for you and sent representatives of the other party to the Legislature. To steamroller ahead and on significant matters without reference to those members of the Opposition, and without reference to those people who put them there, is to do so at electoral peril, regardless of what polls may say.’ – John Barritt.

              This is Powerful message that Political Parities must take heed to, if not the OBA will do it at their own Peril…..and the outcome may not be what we want…

              • Cow Polly says:

                More threats of civil disobedience Bettty? Threatening another one of your 250 person strong rallies?
                When your cause is supported by the thousands and I mean thousands of voters, then you can legitimately quote John Barritt. But of course, with that number behind you you wouldn’t would you?

              • aceboy says:

                Willingness to cooperate does not mean they would let a motion pass that gives complete veto power to the opposition. The person who put this motion forward knew darn well it would never pass. It was not designed to do so. It was designed to stir up the so called “real Bermudians” and call them to action.

        • smh says:

          Is this the same Roban that had to resign his postion as Minister for unethical behavior?

          • Onion says:

            Funny considering Roban’s “bud” history of online commenting.

          • hmmm says:

            Rolf got kicked out of the house this afternoon….

            Wonder what he said

      • Double S says:

        Roban said it in the House and the speaker made him retract it…

        Is that what you support?

        • Ian says:

          Were you chirping up when your premier was on tape referring to Mr Starling as “…a waste of f@cking film”? Or when Fahy proved he is in NO WAY impartial on the very legislation he’s trying to shove down people’s throats when he effectively lumped all who disagree with him into a bucket of “dangerous” people looking to destroy Bermuda. OBA supporters play dumb but they see and know exactly what this government is trying to do. And the justifications they use to sleep better at night is a spectacle to observe. The OBA is a bermudian government with more support from foreigners than from its own people. How backwards is that!

          • Double S says:

            Yeah cause an off the cuff f-word usage caught by a hot mic is the same as likening others as ‘disease carrying cockroaches…’

          • Mercy says:

            Seeing as how foreigners cant vote- that would be real backwards than inna? Clearly they had enough Bermudian support to win an election just 3 short years ago!

            Yea yea I know white people this and black people that! We get it

          • Matthew Sousa says:

            Really last pole showed most Bermudian are in support of this policy. Please due tell what this policy will take from Bermudians.

          • Onion says:

            Now now, let’s not lie. He called the calls for a casino referendum a waste of time.

          • Huh? says:

            People on here need a better education.

            Name me one dangerous crime committed by a foreigner…

            Foreigner can’t vote so how can that be their surport base?

            What are you youselfvas a Bermudian doing to help you country?


      • Double S says:

        My apologies it was the likening of the OBA and its supporters as a’disease carrying-cockroach.’

        • Whimsical says:

          Nope…..That’s not what was said either…… “likening the OBA to a disease-carrying cockroach”, …Direct quote…No mention of OBA supporters….

          • smh says:

            Sorry but that is still a disgusting comment and by insulting the party, they are effectively also insulting it’s supporters. Imagine if this were said about the PLP……oh the indignation!!!

    • Rich says:

      Huh?? Who is calling whom a ‘diseased cockroach’? Are they calling long-term residents cockroaches?

      I’m having hard time believing that even the PLP would say that – they’ve been very good to frame their arguments about process not about people.

      • Real Talk (original) says:

        Opposition MP, Walter Roban began to compare the OBA to cockroaches, however the Speaker of the House made him withdraw the statement.

        Please do not assume.

        • Rich says:

          I’m not assuming a damn thing.

          I’m responding to a comment: “I hear the PLP MPs are now referring to people as ‘diseased cockroaches’ today in the House.”

          The context of the comment suggests to me that a reference was made about people, ie, LTRs. No OBA politicians.

          I found the comment hard to believe and said as much. I think I was very fair to give PLP MPs the benefit of the doubt.

          As it turns out, I was correct. Perhaps you are the one who should not assume.

      • Whimsical says:

        No…The reference was not made towards long term residents…..Have a read of the article ….

        • Real Talk (original) says:

          I don’t have to read the friggin article… I heard it myself as I was listening to the debate.

          Stop trying to spread misinformation.

        • Rich says:

          I get that now after seeing further comments. However, the article says nothing. As I said earlier, I was responding to a comment: “I hear the PLP MPs are now referring to people as ‘diseased cockroaches’ today in the House.”

          The context of the comment suggests to me that a reference was made about people, ie, LTRs. No OBA politicians.

          The article did not have a reference to cockroaches. When I made my comment, only the OP’s comment was online. I was very skeptical about the claim, as is clear from my comment. I gave the PLP the benefit of the doubt, and as it turns out, I was correct.

    • kim says:

      if trump said it he would have gotten cheers from the croud

    • Onion Juice says:

      Democracy at work.
      Gotta love it

      • jt says:

        Outcome won’t change. Same democracy thingy. Gotta love it.

    • Onion Juice says:

      Men in Black.

  2. archy says:

    It is simply wrong of Mr Brown to state this: Mr Brown’s Motion read, “Whereas the public welfare is now challenged by proposed amendments to immigration law and the likelihood for growing and sustained unrest increases daily;”

    He should be doing his best, as should every MP, to ask for calm, not to stoke fires. it is irresponsible.

    • Whimsical says:

      He’s only speaking the truth which is greatly appreciated….He’s not sugar coating…..Sadly….Whether certain segments refuse to agree or not, it is what it is…..

      • lalalalala says:

        Trouble is the PLP “threaten” the people of Bermuda with unrest or other on regular basis.. (a week or so ago they told the OBA MPs they should hire bodyguards).. This is just more hot air by the PLP..


        • smh says:

          Thug mentality…use force to get your point across

      • archy says:

        It is not the job of an elected MP to stoke the fires. He should be appealing for calm

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        What are the truths he is speaking, so far I have heard mostly opinions from him, and no where have I heard him put forward any suggestions for the immediate solution to the mess that is our immigration. The only suggestion is have heard about is that he had posted somewhere that he believed status should only be granted for those that are eligible if we go independent. Well isn’t that just kicking the can down the road some more?

    • hmmm says:

      For a historian , you’d think he would stick to facts….yet he fails himself and the people of Bermuda by being disingenuous, using wild exaggerations and inaccurate adjectives.

      Makes you realize that any history he has documented must be laden with similar bias.

  3. Do the right thing and think of the people impacted! says:

    People’s lives will be impacted by this.

    This is more than a political issue–its a human issue and our friends, neighbours and fellow Bermudian citizens deserve better than what they have been receiving over the last couple of weeks in the media and via the shouts of the protestors.

    There is a slient majority out here that support the Gvt initiative.

    How must those being driectly impacted feel when they see the chanting and disruption being created–these folks are here already–they contribute and help support Bermuda.

    Let’s support them and do the right thing!!

    • Onion Juice says:

      Good thing those around the world through History were’nt silent.

      • lalalalala says:

        People with the least to say are usually the loudest.. Or as in the Popeyes add… professional loud talker gets the boot!!!

  4. San George says:

    Missing three MP’s. OBA should ram it down your throat. You will all be dead after the OBA has controlled the HoA for another thirty years. You had your chance – whine and moan. All of you get ready to take your licks for decades to come. No mercy!

    Quo Fata Ferunt

    • hmmm says:

      Huh? why would they do that? That wouldn’t be in the best interests.

      You are thinking like a PLP politician too much.

    • lalalalala says:

      San George… This is exactly why he PLP brought this up now.. They knew there was not a snowballs chance in H3ll that things would go their way, Just another excuse to ‘blame’ the OBA…

      As is typical of the PLP opposition (and when they were government for that matter) they cannot argue anything on the facts or numbers so they throw emotion and racism to rally the troops.

      Shame they couldn’t put as much energy into coming up with sensible ideas.

  5. O'Brien says:

    The motion brought by Mr. Brown — which supersedes all other business in the House (including the budget debate) — is so urgent that MPs are now taking a lunch break.

    Only in Bermuda…

  6. Chaos Theory says:

    Sooooooo NOW you want to have collaboration. I thought Mr Bean said that there would never be any collaboration with the OBA.

    • jt says:

      He knows it wouldn’t really be collaboration you see. No compromise to his principle (principal)?

  7. Islandgirl says:

    I think that this is very important and should be debated!! We cannot allow any Government to force anything on the people without full understanding on how it will have an impact on future generations. There is also an educational opportuntity for the community at large.

    • Terry says:

      and it all started at a little town hall meeting called by Government to inform the people…………………………..

      Kool Aide all around………………………………………

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      They tried information sessions, guess who screwed that up for the people?

  8. Starting Point says:

    Great picture of diversity by the PLP…….remind us again why this group feels they represent Bermuda?

  9. Mercy says:

    Picture says it all! Doesn’t get much LESS diverse than that group right there! Give me a break.

  10. Truth is killin' me... says:

    Proverbs 26:4

  11. FAHR says:

    To Starting Point

    I’ll tell you why this group represents Bermuda cause when ever magazines, pamphlets etc display bermudians and what it is like to be a bermudian- who do they show – the same people of colour

    Never seen a philly , chinese white etc. being the friendly face of a BERMUDIAN.

    White are shown enjoying Bermuda

    • Noncents says:

      @ FAHR

      whats your point? Comparing a Government party to magazine ads? Doesnt make sense.

      The point that Starting Point is making is that Bermuda is a diverse population made up of a multitude of different races. The PLP membership is not reflective of that assortment of different people. Not even close.

      Try and keep up.

    • Come Correct says:

      They look so friendly, look at all the smiles.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      Only when you are looking at old magazines, I have seen far more diversity representing Bermuda lately, than ever before… in tourism, in business, in social…

  12. cromwell says:

    Government has called for the debate to close on the motion as a matter of urgent public business dealing with the PLP concerns of immigration. Will this PLP procedural strategy work?

  13. Unbelievable says:

    Hey OBA….pay attention….the reason Marc Bean is still PLP leader is cuz they’re betting on the party imploding so they can snatch the Govt from you.

    Like I said, PAY ATTENTION!

    • hmmm says:

      Yep everyone knows Bean won’t be the leader of the PLP at the next election…you’d have to be a bit simple to believe he would.

      They are using him to stir up hate and will then put in someone more tolerant (seemingly) to try and steal it.

      PLP are great manipulators…Just remember being a manipulator is not a great thing.

      • Jus' Askin' says:

        OBA are Great Dictators…Just remember being a Dictator is not a great thing ;-)

        • Build a Better Bermuda says:

          It’s like you forgot that those 14 years existed, that Mr. Bean has just exorcized any who oppose his own rule from importance in the party.

      • Strike fund says:

        Someone more tolerant than Bean?

        Trump for Premier!

  14. jt says:

    Red card for Rolfe. They’ll all march out soon.

  15. lalalalala says:

    Bye Rolf…. hope the speaker censures you!!

  16. Lois Frederick says:

    Certainly doesn’t help the opposition’s chances of winning the motion.

  17. Long Bay Trading Co. says:

    Only in Bermuda can folk throw out into the public arena name calling, character assinations, manufactured claims of doom and unrest and crisis (CURB and Lynn W INCLUDED) WITHOUT A SHRED OF EVIDENCE to back up what is spewing out of their mouths. How does this happen and more importantly, how does it keep on happening with no END. Just because Brown thinks there is a crises does not make it so yet he has been ALLOWED to bring todays planned Parliament legislation to a complete stop. last Friday’s GROUP OF 30 PEOPLE APPARENTLY representing the people of Bermuda, is another example in point. How is it that 30 people can stand in the road and disrupt or stop thousands getting to where they need to be on a major road leading into the city – WITH THE POLICY STANDING BY? Have we all lost our collective minds or forgotten things like libel, road traffic laws, Laws of the Land, an ELECTED GOVERNMENT, that evidence must be shown before the house legislation process is brought to a halt on one person’s opinion that we are in (manufactored) “Crisis”, and on and on and on…… A VERY VOCAL AND HUGELY MISINFORMED MINORITY is overtaking and highjacking this country at so many levels and when are we, the SILENT MAJORITY going to say ENOUGH !! OBA it is time to get some or grow some &&*%$ whatevers and GET CRACKING once and for all and GET ON WITH THE PEOPLE’s BUSINESS as you were elcted to do so.

  18. steve says:

    Well Fahy invited ALL PUBLIC for a meeting and it was shut down. He invited questions and did TV broadcast and a few op-eds and has been available as possible. The party that screaming Bi partisan reform condone the below action…at least I never heard a word of criticism from the party(and I was listening as best i could)

  19. Serious Though says:

    Speaker trying to save OBA face on this,buying time to regroup.. #round2

  20. Sunfish says:

    its seems to me the PLP have nothing on this issue hence the noise making. See through PLP BS people.

  21. Sabrina says:

    Mr Brown does not want to grant these people status (they are a threat to Bermudians and are not needed here anyway). Here is a radical thought. We all read about how much these ex pats give to Bermuda by way of charity and community cleanups etc. Why do they not STOP all donations to Bermudian charities for a period of 6 months. Let us see if they provide any benefits to being in Bermuda. In the meantime, I am sure that Mr Brown and his supporters will be more than willing to make up the loss, if there is any.

    • Common Sense says:

      Wow. Just wow.

    • BdaReally says:

      Are you serious? Lol you honestly believe that Mr. Brown is going into his own pocket and supporters to try to match the amount of money these companies give to charities. There isn’t even any point in responding to someone who truly dosent understand economics. WOW is right.

  22. Pete says:

    The new rogue PLP have lost their way case closed pray for them

    • filobedo21 says:

      I think you are correct Pete, all of Bermuda should ahve been listening to this debate to hear the awful veiled threats by some PLP MPs. I think they have shot themselves in the foot once more.

      • The Original Truth™ says:

        I listened to the debate and they were not making veiled threats. There wasn’t anything hidden in their outright message of caution. They weren’t even saying no to pathways instead they were asking for a bipartisan consultation on it. Without bipartisan talks there’s no way to a midpoint which turns a democracy into a dictatorship. They were cautioning OBAs way to dictatorship and what the possible outcome could be. No one likes dictators and it usually ends up not so good for them. The problem with dictators is that they don’t listen too well to cautions. Do you really think Bermuda will be a happy country if those who flout work permit laws not only keep doing so but also get rewarded by having their permit workers become PRCs?

        • Im confused says:

          Did the PLP ever consider bipartisan consultation throughout their time in office??… NO CHANCE! And who exactly is flouting work permit laws; was it not the PLP who reissued the work permits time and time again for these families that now (potentially) under the new legislation will have the option to apply for status?!

  23. ANTI Ignorance says:

    go away plp you have NO credibilityl

  24. Lualaba says:

    So if Walton had pushed something forward on same sex marriage this may have been interesting.. But come on a waste of a day in Parliament

  25. BdaReally says:

    What I don’t understand is how people keep saying they are doing this to get the people who receive Bermudian status to vote for them. Do they not realize the time it will take for these people to receive their Bermudian Status? People who have recently applied for Bermudian Status have been waiting for over a year and more and still not received their documents. Immigration does not have the manpower to process all these applications and you think that it’s going to go any faster with all these new applications. Even if this goes through the PRC holders will not receive their Bermudian Status before the next election so please come up with another excuse as to why OBA is pushing this new law. Maybe they just believe it is the right thing to do? Here is a point since everyone is so worried about jobs fight for Government to hire more people in immigration to process these applications. There you go more jobs!

  26. Unbelievable says:

    Marc Bean is implying that people are going to riot within 48 hours if the OBA doesn’t withdraw the bill.

    This is your leader, PLP voters.

  27. Bermudian says:

    Clearly by looking at the picture the PLP are split once again! The only one crawling back to Bean is WB ! Talk about a yoyo/flipflop!!

  28. Navin Pooty Tang Johnson says:

    this is nothing more than a PLP party tactic for an election campaign…there is no civil unrest other than the few rabid followers..Most right thinking people agree with the OBA on this issue and the PLP now realize they have made a huge mistake alienating PRC’s and others who would obtain status under the proposal…what immigrant who receives status would ever vote for the PLP when Mr. Bean says yesterday that they would fight to undue this law if they get elected…..trying to create a controversy that is not there..

  29. aceboy says:

    The last thing we need is for Government to hire any more people. Move people from other departments maybe…..but NOT new hires.