Minister: ‘Committed To Policy Of Fairness’

October 25, 2016

“As Minister responsible for the Department of Immigration, we remain committed to a policy of fairness” which is a “policy that guarantees Bermudians are always given priority with respect to any opportunity to fill a position for which they are eminently qualified,” Home Affairs Minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin said this evening.

Rev Tweed’s Work Permit

Saying that “due to issues of privacy we cannot comment on any individual applicant case,” the Minister’s statement did not directly reference any particular case, however it does follow after news that Reverend Nicholas Tweed’s work permit has not been renewed.

St. Paul AME Church expressed their “profound disappointment” at the decision, adding that “the Stewards, Trustee and the entire congregation stand united in support of Rev. Tweed and will support any necessary action to reverse this decision of the Minister.”

Minister’s Statement

Minister Gordon-Pamplin said, “As Minister responsible for the Department of Immigration, we remain committed to a policy of fairness, not favoritism, that ensures the review, evaluation and disposition of each application for a work permit is done in accordance with and in adherence to the highest standards of Bermuda’s laws.

“It is a policy that guarantees Bermudians are always given priority with respect to any opportunity to fill a position for which they are eminently qualified.

“Regardless of the economic, social, or religious status of any non-Bermudian seeking employment in our country, we remain steadfast in adhering to the guiding principles and established rules of our Department in guaranteeing that consistency is applied with respect to each and every law that protects the rights of Bermuda’s workers in securing any employment opportunity in which they are qualified.  That is our number one priority.

“Those are the fundamental tenets of the Department of Immigration’s commitment to putting Bermuda’s workers first, and are principles on which this Government and this agency will not compromise.

“It should be noted that comprehensive changes were made to policy in 2014, and these new changes, which supersede previous policies, are the ones under which the Department operates.

“This policy requires for a position for a work permit to be advertised, or if a waiver from advertising is sought, the waiver fee is remitted and an application made for the dispensation.

“Since we understand the need to allow non-Bermudians seeking employment on our Island to have their voices heard, our door will always be open to hear their cases and objectively evaluate their individual requests.

“However we hopefully respect that they also acknowledge that we will do so with the understanding that our guiding principle will remain steadfast in ensuring that every qualified Bermudian is given priority for each employment opportunity in accordance with existing laws and policies.

“While due to issues of privacy we cannot comment on any individual applicant case, we want to ensure the Bermudian people that regardless of the economic, business or religious status of any non-Bermudian applying for employment, each application for a work permit submitted to the Department of Immigration will be evaluated fairly and without favoritism to provide the highest level of assurance to the Bermudian public that the activities of this Department are always conducted in the best interests of Bermuda’s workers.”

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Comments (105)

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  1. Nonya says:

    Lies lies n more lies !

    • jt says:

      How so?

      • Nonya says:

        FACT: They cherry pick when they want to apply their policies ! Depends much on who the permit is for or what company is applying.

        • jt says:

          Writing “FACT” means nothing. Proof?

          Aside from that, the church might have chosen to:
          A) advertise as lawfully required
          B) applied for a waiver from advertising
          They did neither. What exactly are you protesting about?

          • Nonya says:

            Again this standard is not upheld across the board

            • on de rock says:

              Nonya, it has been applied in every case that I have ever seen. Do you have specific knowledge of instances where it has not?

            • jt says:

              If true (if) and you’re arguing that the standard should be dismissed here because of it, well….

            • Jus' Wonderin' says:

              By Genevieve not having his permit renewed is “behing upheld across the board” lol

          • bok bok says:

            Maybe they chose not to on purpose. There was talk of the congregation shrinking. Just saying.

    • Tranquility says:

      The Minister has lost all credibility. Does she actually believe this drivel?

    • Bill says:

      I’m confused!! Is his job a full time position or part time? I didn’t think he was even paid since he is a Reverend. I thought the church just gave him accommodation, food, etc from the collection pot. Since he is preaching the word of God he shouldn’t need to apply for anything in my mind. I think all Pastors and Reverends should be able to have free Bermuda status as well.

      • Cow Polly says:

        So you would deprive a Bermudian Pastor or Reverend the opportunity of free accommodation, food, etc in favour of an expat? Hmmmmmm

    • Onion Juice says:

      She was a member of the church, then made open remarks of displeasure about the Pastor in the Senate then left the church and then made the decision not to aprove it.

    • Rusty says:

      So the commissioner of education will be a Bermudian?

  2. Bermuda! says:

    Thank you for standing up for Bermuda and giving Bermudians a shot!

    • Nanny Pat says:

      Wait, people are disliking this comment? So they don’t think we should stand up for Bermudians and give Bermudians a shot? I’m so confused right now. Why did we march on parliament? Why did that lady “starve” herself???

      • Sick of hearing it says:

        Lets be honest with ourselves here, everyone is up in arms because he is a BLACK Non-Bermudian. If he were a WHITE expatriate, it would be a whole other story.

        Rules are rules and they apply to EVERYONE regardless of race, color or creed.

  3. Lets be fair says:

    “At any time, Bermudians should come first in jobs and opportunities in our country and with so many Bermudians out of work we simply cannot accept Bermudians being denied the opportunity to even interview for posts in which they are qualified,” added Mr. Burgess.

    PLP could not of said it any better.

    • Truth says:

      OBA a spin and bloggers at work. Nothing more and nothing less.

      • jt says:

        Advertise or apply for a waiver. Pretty simple stuff.

      • Uhhh whattt? says:

        What? This is a direct quote from Burguess… what’s the spin?

    • John says:

      TWEEDly Dee TWEEDly dum

      • jt says:

        Pretty loud when it’s someone else’s skin in the game. Silent when it’s his.

  4. Lets be fair says:


    Mr. Burgess said, “While we welcome improvements in the area of Workforce Development, reports of otherwise qualified Bermudians being passed over for employment are concerning.”

    • WTH says:

      If that’s what they really wanted and to prove a point, why didn’t they start in the city of Hamilton?!?! Please… when folks are applying for jobs the the person in HR is telling them that they really shouldn’t be telling them, but while they are qualified for the job they aren’t going to get it because they are bringing someone in from overseas and only posted the job because they were legally required to do so, so don’t get your hopes up and the Bermudian actually calls The Department of Immagration and absolutely nothing happens… there’s a problem. So just stop the nonsense and call it what it really is… they’re punishing Rev. Tweed because he irked them and sending are a warning shot to other clergy like him. So what happens when the next foreign clergy does something the government of the day doesn’t like? Its a very slippery slope. And I know someone is going to say that’ll never happen… never say never… there’s a reason that there’s the sayings like “I never saw that happening”.

  5. Widget says:

    The Honorable Minister has a valid point regarding protecting the rights of every Bermudian. After all, why did the BIU surround Session House and block entry to those that run this country. Some people seem to think they can have the tweed and eat it too”

  6. Shag says:

    thank you for explaining the policy, not that it will make any difference to the plp, biu or the ame

  7. Please Stand Up for Expats! says:

    YEAH… PLP and others are now going to stand up for ex-pat rights!!!

    Let our friends and neighbours stay here with us as opposed to sending them on their way!

    Oh – just Rev. Tweed… gee, for a second I was excited.

  8. redamtibi says:

    Yet there are more unemployed Bermudians than any time in recent memory…yes this policy of “fairness” is working out quite well for Bermudians…maybe PGP needs to get out of the public sector and see for herself just how “fair” it is in the private sector…

  9. grain of salt says:

    This was a really arrogant move on the part of the OBA. If it wasn’t arrogant then it was dumb. Surely anybody could have seen the fallout to this. Why didn’t the minister just tell the church that they had to advertise the post, even though they haven’t done so in the last 100 years? They simply want Tweed gone. Speak out against this government and you will feel their wrath. I wonder if they know they need the black vote to win too. SMH

    • mixitup says:

      By the looks of the new Bermuda, they may not even need your vote, especially if all of these ‘residents in waiting’ are handed citizenship… I really don’t think people are paying attention.

      • Jus' Wonderin' says:

        These people have been here 20+ years ya dummy not like they magically shipped them in overnight from some island….oh wait!

      • Man what says:

        You mean those children who were born here and their parents who have been members of our society for 20+ years? If you cared so much for Bermudians then I’m sure you agree that Mr. Tweed needs to go for not following immigration protocols and giving Bermudians a chance to apply for his job.

      • Zevon says:

        They are Bermudians. He is not.

    • wahoo says:

      Of course Bermudians want Tweed gone. He is taking up space and we have qualified Bermudians that are better able to pray for us and tell us how to conduct ourselves.

    • Cynical says:

      Perhaps they are not interested in winning popularity contests to win an election, but by doing the right thing by Bermuda. This may well cost them votes (although, in reality, it should gain them votes), but no-one can seriously say that they haven’t done the right thing by applying the same rules for everyone.

      The OBA didn’t create this situation, the AME church did.

    • BdaReally says:

      Here we go. Dividing Bermudians again based on color. This issue is a non Bermudian trying to get his work permit renewed when a Bermudian can possibly do the job not the color of someone’s skin. We keep talking about Bermuda for Beemudians and that is who we should look out for in this work force crisis but yet here you have Bermudians rallying around a work permit holder. Stop contradicting yourselves. Funny how no one stands up when you have broken families were their 18 year old child who was born and raised in this country and never known another is told to leave even though the rest of their family are PRC Holders and remain behind. Stop wearing blinders Bermuda and look at the true issues this country faces. Tweed will be fine. Unlike some of us he can move back to his real home and get another job there.

      • Onion Juice says:

        NO, this issue is about a man who is is exposing the hypocracy this Government has shown and trying to awaken Black Bermudians who have been duped into believing that this Government is looking out for their best interest.
        But his father was chased out of here for the same cause and 50 years later he is facing the same fate against the same ideology.
        Same S!@# different day !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • smh says:

          So rules don’t always apply and sometimes it’s good to hire foreigners

        • sandy says:

          His Father was NOT chased out of Bermuda. He LEFT. GET YOUR FACT RIGHT !!!

  10. John says:

    Like the colonel said “everyone has their favourite foreigner” and Derick Burgees said that “foreigners should stay out of local politics “

    • grain of salt says:

      His father is Bermudian. If you support Pathways to Status then you would agree he should also have his status.

      • BdaReally says:

        Then he should apply to receive his Status if that is correct. If he dosent want to leave this country so why has he never applied? He would avoid all this hassle and at that point be able to get himself involved in political issues which affect my country. So at this point regardless if his mother, father, granny, ect… Is Bermudian he himself is not so in legal terms he is a non- Bermudian and like any other if the work permit is not signed you have to leave.

        • on de rock says:

          He can’t, remember he blocked our government from doing their business in protest of his ability to get status.

        • dan says:

          May I get clarification on this? wasn’t it Rev Tweed and the BIU the fore runners of protest to Pathways to status bill, and if that bill had past would it of given Rev Tweed Bermudian status?

      • Zevon says:

        Oh. Does the BIU and PLP support pathways to status now then? Or is it only when a ‘dear friend’ of Furbert is involved?
        You can’t it both ways.

      • Enough says:

        Yet Tweed led the charge against Pathways to Status….

      • tbt says:

        His father was born in Bermuda. That does not make you a BERMUDIAN when both parents are non Bermudian. This ain’t Merica where it works that way.

        • Sick of hearing it says:

          But his father denounced his citizenship when he was kicked off the island – therefore Tweed has no rights here without a permit.

  11. wondering says:

    i will say it again – th guy needs no permit and the political posturing is B**s***!

    both on Tweed’s part who has also been quet because hs integrity as a MAN of THE LORD is now questionable as well as the fact that HE (ALLEGEDLY) REMAINS LEGALLY MARRIED TO A BERMUDIAN thereby granting him instant immunity to immigration regulations that would make him be reuired to have a work permit for the last time!!

    • wondering says:

      ….and on the part of the OBA guvmint who surely knows that he is married to a bermudian and a permit is a mute point

      • Watcher says:

        My understanding of the immigration policy is that you don’t need a work permit if you are the spouse of a Bermudian, so the fact that he had to have one in the first place makes one wonder if he is still married to the Bermudian. I personally have never seen any signs of them together. Do they live together? And before any of you say that it’s not my business, let me remind you that this situation has been made the business of every resident of Bermuda – Bermudian and non-Bermudian. Also, if his father ran for his life back in the 50′s as is being said, however remained committed to Bermuda why didn’t he ever return? Was an everlasting “hit” put out on him? It seems the rest of the theatre boycott crew managed to survive and have very successful and lives here.

      • Auslander says:

        If wifey was indeed Bermudian, Nicky boy would be a spouse of thus not need a work permit.

        I guess she aint Bermudian.

      • bdaboy says:

        “mute point”…lol, brilliance!

    • BdaReally says:

      You obviously do not know the law. Even if you are married to a Bermudian you are not legally entitled to have the right to work and reside here. You still have to seek a Spousal Letter which can be rejected. If he is “allegedly” married to a Bermudian that makes it sound like he may not produced documentation to prove the marriage which also terminates your right to work with a work permit. Read the law not listen to what people believe is the law.

  12. wahoo says:

    You couldn’t script something anywhere near this could you? The PLP/BIU blogger trolls cannot even come up with anything good to say.

  13. mixitup says:

    “As Minister responsible for the Department of Immigration, we remain committed to a policy of fairness” which is a “policy that guarantees Bermudians are always given priority with respect to any opportunity to fill a position for which they are eminently qualified,”

    What a load of crock! Coming from a Gov’t who saw 107 jobs go to non Bermudians all while that same year 257 Bermudians lost theirs…. Yesss Committed to Bermudians!! How does this happen? And don’t give me that eminently qualified crap.. There is a well known ‘variety store’ who I see recently hired a new employee who is non Bermudian, is this the committment she talks about?

  14. somuchless says:

    Plp just advertise the post. It’s that simple. Stop making things complicated.

  15. Having My Say says:

    Just wondering. Does the Department of Immigration receive a list of suitably qualified Bermudian’s who have applied for said employment positions advertised to allow them to personally review whether the Bermudian applicant matches the qualifications, expertise and experience next to the advertised position? This, ideally would be in the best interests of all Bermudians and would ensure that these positions are not purposively written as a work permit renewals in mind.

    • Denis P says:

      The employer is required to submit such a list as part of the application process.

      However, I can personally attest to a case where a qualified applicant for a position in a field very short on Bermudians submitted their application as per the ad as well as via the job board and were not only not even interviewed but given the run around. (by a local company I might add)

      Immigration’s position on this is that the only recourse is to file a formal complaint, optionally anonymous, which doesn’t work so well if the role is specific enough that it is obvious who the complainant is.

      It seems to me that they don’t review the job board applications and don’t keep any sort of list of suitably qualified unemployed individuals to consider for work permit applications

  16. steve says:

    Its not a fair argument cause only one side is bound to professional behavior.The other can say whatever it pleases.

  17. Takbir Karriem Sharrieff says:

    The Government Policy is ,,,,if someone Qualified who is Bermudian or of Bermuda Status applies then the should be given fair access to be interviewed for any job that is vacant.Question……?has anyone applied for Mr Tweed,s job,at A.M.E.Church and been denied Access to be interviewed.Is this another Storm in a Teacup,,,????or someone rocking the Boat too much and upsetting Status Quo.Dont talk that crap to me about Preachers or Pastors being involved with Politics.Martin Luther King was a prime example along with countless others who spoke out loudly against The rights of people being denied their human rights and Freedom Justice and Equality Issues.I stand to be put on record to say Rev Tweed is a Modern Day Martin Luther King.I also say that if he is handled carelessly or dismissively like Martin Luther King.Bermuda will suffer.Peace.

  18. Serious Though says:

    Overall this should never have happened, someone at Immigration dept and EVEN the Minister know how AME policy are, why not a courtesy call to AME and tell them they need to advertise the position before the renewal of thsi work permit, they do it to other parties, what different about this?

    • Memberberries says:

      How about submitting a complete application before the deadline? Ordinary people don’t get courtesy calls when policy changes.
      The AME was either too arrogant, stupid or purposefully set this up for failure.

    • Rhonnda O says:

      My understanding is that the church didn’t apply for the work permit until a day before Rev Tweed’s was up, and that they were contacted regarding issues with the application which the church refused to address.

      The late application made the news, and one would have thought that alone would have been enough for the church to confirm they’d done everything properly. Guess not.

  19. Having My Say says:

    With all due respect to Rev. Tweed, and especially with his long ties to Bermuda with his family history, I have to wonder what the Department of Immigration is doing outside of this isolated situation to vet work permit renewals and ensure that suitable Bermudian applicants are not overseen when they meet the necessary criteria requirements posted in job advertisements.

  20. Concerned Family Man says:

    This is actually a question for the constitution. I am convinced the work permit issue violates the constitutional rights of the congregation (made up mostly by Bermudians)(and maybe Rev. Tweed’s as well) that government won’t interfere with their religious expression, which in case of the AME is that the Holy Spirit is speaking through the the district Bishop when a call is given to a pastor. The constitution, especially the fundamental rights in it, overrule any other law the constitution says. Now government/state tries to rule through its immigration administration directly into expression of religion of a whole church by interfering in the church affairs against the constitution they were sworn in by. While many, especially those critical of church, may not understand the gravity of such interference, it can only be compared with what dictators do/did when interfering with other expressions of freedom, like interfering with the free press in Turkey, or Nazi Gestapo methods, Communist KGB or Stasi. I strongly disagree with some things Rev. Tweed said and did, but that is not up to the state to judge. If his congregation or Bishop would want to end his call according to their own rules and regulations, that would be one thing. In actual fact no congregation or church should have to ask Government for approval who they find fit to serve as pastor, priest or Bishop. Every denomination has its own ecclesiological model how its clergy is called to serve. The process of calling a clergy (no matter whether through congregational vote, Bishop’s sending, Pope’s decision, council decision or what else) is an act of expressing that denomination’s believes, it is considered to be an expression of the work of the Holy Spirit that works through inner calling(within the pastor’s heart) and outer calling (how a call is confirmed within the church). I can only advise the AME church, maybe in conjunction with other churches, to take this matter to the highest courts on constitutional reasons. I understand that Bermudians may have in every other field privilege if qualified, and I am Bermudian myself, but when it comes to the expression of religion, there are higher values at stake. I also know that some churches have tried to use immigration to “get rid of: a pastor some id not like, but it is the wrong way.

  21. Having My Say says:

    Just wondering. Does the Department of Immigration receive a list of suitably qualified Bermudian’s who have applied for said employment positions advertised to allow them to personally review whether the Bermudian applicant matches the qualifications, expertise and experience next to the advertised position? This would ideally be in the best interests of all Bermudians and would ensure that these positions are not purposively written as a work permit renewals in mind.

    • HR says:

      Yes – they do. It is part of the complete work permit application. Hence the need to advertise.

  22. Ray Ray says:

    my people didn’t quite get what they bargained for.
    Voted for the new OBA, and ended up with the refurbished UBP, and the A$$ whooping is far from over.
    Reminds me so much of buying a box of cracker jacks, in hope of a half decent prize. Hope you have all learned your lessons by voting them into a position to flog you yet one more time.

    • mixitup says:

      lol – I tell my Family members who were foolish enough to put these people back in the drivers seat the same thing all the time…If you haven’t learned in 400 years you will never learn.

      • Goose says:

        If you keep one foot in the past you will never step from the present to the future.

    • Just the Tip says:

      So if you feel that the OBA has flogged you (which they havent) what did the PLP do?

  23. Pastor Syl says:

    It is made clear that the Dept. of Immigration notified the AME that they had a legal requirement to advertise the position (note: advertise, not necessarily hire whoever applied), and also made suggestions to the AME so they could correct other discrepancies in their permit application. The AME refused to comply. Now, what does that say? Did the AME think they should be above the law? Did they think they should be afforded special privileges? Given that the application they filed went in only one day before Rev. Tweed’s permit expired, when the requirement is that it be received at Immigration 3 MONTHs prior to expiration, what does that say about the AME’s desire to keep Rev. Tweed? Or alternatively, perhaps this was a set-up engineered to give the people an excuse to get angry. What is the truth? I note particularly that the changes to Immigration law went through in 2014, long before the People’s Campaign became active and the sit-in on the Hill took place, so the government cannot be accused of changing the law to target Rev. Tweed.

    • Say Whaat? says:

      Please stop. Was the AME church made aware that you could pay a fee not to advertise?!? We were told yesterday it’s because they didn’t advertise the position. No where did it say that the AME church refused to pay for the waiver. I didn’t even know that you could pay a wavier to not advertise positions!

      You are so pro the OBA regardless of what they stand for you would even talk against another church. Disappointed in you pastor Sylvia!

      • Rhonnda O says:

        If you are an employer it is your responsibility to know the laws that apply to your business. If you don’t, it is no one’s fault but your own.

        There are only three reasons why this issue has come about and they all fall on the doorstep of those responsible for applying for the work permit renewal.

        Arrogance, incompetence or intent.

        Pick one.

  24. bluwater says:

    So transparent. The AME filed at the last minute and bungled it. Now they want to hide behind the politics without a thought for the consequences. I guess there’s some sheep who will go for it. No wonder no one goes to church anymore.

    AME- admit you made a mistake and go forward with respect for the law.

  25. Hey says:

    The AME church and Rev. Tweed knew full well that there is a Bermudian that would apply should the post be advertised.
    Does the AME Bishop presume that Rev.Tweed can hold his position for as long as he wants?

  26. All distorted says:

    Maybe the AME made the mistake on purpose❤️

  27. Takbir Karriem Sharrieff says:

    Pastor Syl………….are you looking for a job????Perhaps you need to apply and see how far,you will get…you are Bermudian I believe.You would make some interesting,,,,, f

    • Say Whaat? says:

      She don’t want that job. The congregation has too much PLP supporters for her taste.

  28. JUNK YARD DOG says:


    If they were playing the game fair they would have income tax on the books then the wealthy and big business would get a chance to pay their fair share, the”40 thieves” have been getting away with it for well over half a century.

    Pre – paid Import duties / taxes are an unfair tax .

    Taxes on consumer items should be paid at the point of sale like other countries do.

    The government needs cut waste ,cut its cloth,and spend less on motor vehicles , useless projects. Bermuda roads are THIRD WORLD heavy vehicles, containers, trucks a buses are responsible.

    Living in debt is a recipe for disaster !

    What have you go to show for it ?

    They must think that we are all stupid.

  29. Rhonda says:

    Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) was a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.

    Niemöller is perhaps best remembered for the quotation:

    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

  30. Rhonda says:

    A religious group choosing their Leader has traditionally been out of the hands of Govt..and rightfully should be…

    A religious leader has nothing to do with Bermudianization….

    Just like IB’s excutivive team is out of the hands of govt. and should be..

  31. LaVerne Furbert says:

    Surely if the Minister is “committed to a policy of fairness that guarantees Bermudians are always given priority with respect to any opportunity to fill a position for which they are eminently qualified”, a Bermudian would have been hired as the Commissioner of Education. And, I know the next CEO at the Bermuda Tourism Authority will be a Bermudian. And certainly there are hundreds of Bermudians who can make sandwiches.

    • bluwater says:

      Yes, who knows, right? Maybe Rev Tweed’s successor will be a Bermudian as well?

    • sandgrownan says:

      Even by your standards, that’s pretty disingenuous. You can do much better.

  32. watching says:

    If Minister Pamplin was so committed to fairness, then there would be a Bermudian Commissioner of Education, there would be more Bermudians in senior IB roles, rather than guest workers continually getting their permits automatically rolled over, and there would be more Bermudians employed in the hospitality sector.
    Unfortunately, Min Pamplin is more interested in settling scores and setting the stage for the next election, and doing the bidding of others.

  33. Starting Point says:

    Seems simple, does the Catholic bishop follow the same process, anglican, other churches etc. If they all advertise their non Bermudian pastor jobs and hire a Bermudian if one is qualified then the AME should be no different.

    If the policy has been ignored for years by multiple governments and now the OBA wants to enforce it, they should bring all the faith groups in, highlight the previous issue with the policy, inform the groups that the policy will be enforced starting one year from the time of the meeting to allow the groups to put their own internal policies in place.

    Why does our civil service seem to be so basic in terms of their business process?

  34. Vaughn T says: