‘Unwarranted, Unjustified Attempt At Intervention’

March 2, 2019

“Be it resolved that this Honourable House rejects the unwarranted and unjustified attempt at intervention into Bermuda’s domestic affairs and calls on the UK Government to reject the Report and its retrograde recommendations.”

This is from a notice of a Motion to given in the House of Assembly by Premier David Burt which follows after the suggestion from a British Parliament Committee that all UK citizens who reside here should be allowed to vote and hold elected office in Bermuda.

The Committee also suggested Britain should order all Overseas Territories [OTs] to legalise same-sex marriage, and urged the UK Government to lay out a timetable as it pertains to the plan for the UK to order all OTs to make their beneficial ownership registers public.

Order-of-Business-Monday-March-4-2019.pdf - Google Chrome 322019 95037 AM

The report was from the British Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee inquiry, which conducted an inquiry late last year, with the Committee recently releasing their findings.

It suggested the UK order all OTs to legalise same-sex marriage and also suggested that all “resident UK and British Overseas Territory citizens” should be allowed to vote and hold elected office, which would be a substantial change, as currently only Bermudians can vote.

“We do not accept that there is any justification to deny legally-resident British Overseas Territory and UK citizens the right to vote and to hold elected office,” the report said, adding that the FCO should “set a deadline for phasing out discriminatory elements of belongership.”

The Order of Business [PDF] for Monday’s session in Parliament states that Premier Burt will give notice of the following Motion, “Whereas the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee has issued a report on the UK and its Overseas Territories and whereas this report represents an attempt to erode the Constitutional rights of Bermudians and is a retrograde approach to relations between the UK and Bermuda.

“Be it resolved that this Honourable House rejects the unwarranted and unjustified attempt at intervention into Bermuda’s domestic affairs and calls on the UK Government to reject the Report and its retrograde recommendations with respect to Bermuda and the Overseas Territories.”

After the report was initially released a few days ago, Premier David Burt said, “The right to vote is perhaps the most highly valued right in a democracy. To suggest that non-Bermudians should have the right to determine the direction of our country via the ballot box ignores the history of voting rights in Bermuda and is a tone-deaf recommendation which we will strenuously resist.”

The Motion appears likely to receive bipartisan support, as Opposition Leader Craig Cannonier previously said he agrees with the comments by Premier Burt and the “OBA will support efforts to resist this imposition” as “Bermuda’s future should be dictated by Bermudians.”

These recommendations are from a Committee and are not the stated position of the British Government, so will not necessarily become law.

This report comes as Britain is embroiled in making their final preparations to exit the European Union, which is scheduled to occur at the end of this month, and is seeking to incorporate the Overseas Territories as they build what they term a “Global Britain.” with their report stating that “the people of the Overseas Territories are deeply proud of their British heritage and continue to feel a strong sense of loyalty to the Crown.”

The 48 page report from the Committee on OTs and a Global Britain follows below [PDF here]:

click here banner British Overseas Territories

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Comments (39)

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  1. rodney smith says:

    Stand Up Bermuda . Now Listen to me . smile . The Brits own Bermuda and can change the way things are done here over night . So , “WAKE UP . ” It sounds good to talk tough , but what does it really mean if in the end a mandate comes down from above demanding just what we ought to do . 5 years residence in Bermuda will give a person the right to apply for status and the right to vote and hold political office .The rules of the wider world are coming home to Bermuda . Any change in immigration laws benefits foreigners .How can we create a NEW BERMUDA that would include foreigners ? Are we about to take that big step ? Oh , I forgot to say ,” Mother May I . “

    • Kimberley Smith says:

      Hopefully we can have a more mature discussion about these matters and not this type of rhetoric which, while it does achieve the (desired) result of getting people riled up, really doesn’t move us forward in any meaningful way.

      • Onion Juice says:

        Same Colonistic ideology that disrupted and ruined Indigenous Cultures, even though Bermuda did not have Indigenous People, those of African Descent have always been subject to unjust and now immoral Colonialistic beliefs.

        • wahoo says:

          How so?

          • Onion Juice says:

            Slavery was and racism is unjust, and same sex relationship is not Cultural African practice, thats why ALL the African Countries dont support it but South Africa, go figure.
            Like I said, Historically where Eurocentric Colonialism ideology invaded Indigenous Cultures, caused chaos, and some were wiped out.

      • rodney smith says:

        Coffee not hot this morning Kim ?

  2. Question says:

    Does Burt understand this is not UK government policy? He is acting hysterical.

    • mixitup says:

      ‘He is acting hysterical.’

      While the Cayman Premier stated that he’ll lead the charge to Independence?

      Stop being dramatic..

      • wahoo says:

        Seems that the corporations could make a similar statement.

      • Question says:

        It’s Burt that is being dramatic. Hasn’t he got important things to do? Like setting up the next google in a science hub?,

    • Retro says:

      Burt’s reaction is not at all hysterical . You are right that it is just a recommendation but it reeks of political manipulation. Just look at the sheer insensitivity of calling it Global Britain. I guess thats better then calling it Empire 2.0 but, boy oh boy, that is a howler of misjudgment.

    • sandgrownan says:

      That’s the great orator Burt to you..lol…

  3. Proven says:

    One has to admire the British – they take care of the their own! You have to give them credit whether the recommendation is imposed or not; they are the kind of people you want representing your interest. Take note 25.

  4. La says:

    Let them limeys come in!! Maybe they can polish up this place a bit.

    • mixitup says:

      ‘Maybe they can polish up this place a bit.’

      I would think they would have started at home first.

    • Paul says:

      I agree let the Limeys come in, anythiing is better than we have now.

  5. Onion Peels says:

    Silly me, I thought it was the Corporations of Hamilton and St. George’s objecting to the PLP’s unwarranted and unjustified attempt at grabbing the Corporations assets.

    Pot, have you met Kettle?

  6. St.George's Passport and Immigration Control says:

    the days of the plp will soon be over,the Brits are coming.

    • Paul says:

      People are so disgusted with what is going on in the PLP. We all need to pay attention and have a say in the tax proposls they are shoving down our throats..people we need to take a stand and the sooner the better.

  7. J Austen says:

    My first reaction was roughly the same as the Premier’s and the Opposition Leader. Since then, I’ve stopped to think about this some more:

    Bermuda has only and always thrived when our doors have been open. For the past dozen plus years, we have become such a shuttered, paranoid society that even large numbers of Bermudians are leaving – and interestingly large numbers of young, educated black ones who not only see limited opportunities here but are largely bored out of their skulls with all our collective baggage and carry on. It is this mindset that has to change and a good start would be by making this a welcoming and embracing country rather than the presen one which seems to operate on begrudgery and ancient grudges. Come on politicians of both parties, this is actually an opportunity to lead and turn over a new leaf.

  8. Chauncey says:

    Unwarranted, Unjustified Attempt At Intervention’

    I thought this news item was going to do about PLP trying to take over the Corporation of Hamilton and St George’s!

  9. B4Premier says:

    “unwarranted and unjustified attempt at intervention into Bermuda’s domestic affairs and calls on the UK Government to reject the Report and its retrograde recommendations.”

    You mean like what you are doing with the municipalities? Unjustified intervening, right? Retrograde recommendations, right?

  10. Joe Bloggs says:

    Grandstanding on both sides. The British government has NOT adopted the report and our Premier is railing against a non-policy to deflect attention from things that really. Politics or poly-tricks?

  11. J J says:

    If we sorted out our immigration reform so that it complied with international norms the British would have no argument.

    As a British Overseas Territory the UK is responsible for ensuring we meet our human rights obligations.

    If you do not like the rules of the club, you leave the club.

    David Burt or any other elected member does not have the right to deprive one set of BOT citizens of their rights. The game is up and the days of riding rough shod over peoples rights is coming to an end.

  12. Overboard Hope says:

    It’s not on.

  13. Britain has everyright as resident yo vote already…I simply don’t understand why PLP feel otherwise.
    They are Sovereign nation we are British territory.

  14. Grateful says:

    I hope this does get bi-partisan support. The nerve of a British Committee to even contemplate this. Forgot their history. “no taxation without representation” ring any bells?!?

    • Chauncey says:

      Yeah right. Just wait until the first time you want Britain to come to our your aid when we have a Cat 5 storm. Don’t expect CARICOM to come to our aid.

      • Ringmaster says:

        @ Grateful. You are actually supporting the point being made by the UK Committee with “no taxation without representation”. This is exactly what they are saying. PRC holders and long term residents pay tax but have no vote. It needs to change.

      • wahoo says:

        We already have a Cat 5 social problem that we ship off to the UK. There are so called Bermudians living off the welfare system and causing significant problems to the police and courts there. I would hazard a guess that OJ and Grateful know some of these leaches.

      • PBanks says:

        What nonsense. So you think independent nations or other foreign territories won’t get an offer of assistance from the UK after a catastrophe? Literally the worst suggestion, not to mention a disrespectful swipe at CARICOM.

        • Come Correct says:

          You realize there’s a UK vessel that spends hurricane season down in the islands loaded with relief supplies right? How many ships in the CARICOM fleet?

          Everyone these days seems so sensitive but completely negligent to reality.

    • JJ says:

      That is the whole point. You nailed it. Lots of Bermuda born British Overseas Territories Citizens pays taxes and have no representation. I thank you for your support for representation for those paying taxes.

    • Question says:

      I agree. Anyone who lives here and pays taxes should be able to vote. Like you said, no taxation without representation.

  15. Tania Stafford says:

    Interestingly, the BOT citizens were not permitted to vote in the Brexit referendum which has enormous implications or those same people ….

    • JJ says:

      British Overseas Territory Citizens in the UK and at British overseas military bases including British Forces Cyprus who registered to vote in the UK were allowed to vote. Gibraltararians also got to vote. I think all of the BOTs should have been able to vote. That said, British Overseas Territory Citizens born in Bermuda without status are not able to register to vote in Bermuda.

    • Question says:

      If they were living in the UK they were allowed to vote.

  16. Trent Miller says:

    Critical points raised in the recent Foreign Affairs Committee report which some in the media/press and locally elected politicians/leaders are either ignoring or not giving enough coverage too, perhaps because the “hot-button” issues in the report are overshadowing and drowning it out? It’s a pity because contained in this report is a significant issue that BOT governments’ should be very concerned about the issue and get behind it. They should utilize their own legal departments in mounting a vigorous campaign to get it resolved. It’s not that they have not been made aware of it; they have several times in writing. They [BOT elected leaders, AG’s & Governors,] have to date, not had the common courtesy to even reply to our letters. Disappointing to put it mildly. Having their support is critical, and they of all people should be in the driving seat leading the charge! Their mute responses are astonishing:

    It mentions the present day & historical unfair & unequal treatment of its people. The denial of British [OT] citizenship right’s to children, now adults of descent, born abroad, outside of marriage. While the same category of children, now adults, with mainland UK fathers, got give a retrospective right to register for their father’s nationality under Sec 65 Immigration Act 2014. The same category of children, now adults of BOT descent, were intentionally left out due there being “No time to consult” the territories before the implementation of these amendments (per Home Office Minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach and Lord Ahmad). The same historical discrimination does not apply to BOT mothers, or anyone born to a father or mother after 1 July 2016

    Page 3 (Summary): “the UK Government needs to ensure that those who should be able to claim British Overseas Territories citizenship can do so.”

    Paragraph 4, Pages 58: “The issue of citizenship by descent stems from an anomaly in the British Nationality Act, which means that fathers with British Overseas Territories Citizenship cannot pass it on to children born outside the OTs between 1948 and 2006 if they were not married to the child’s mother at the time of birth. In May 2018, the Joint Committee on Human Rights described this anomaly as an unacceptable form of discrimination, while Montserrat’s representative, Janice Panton, said it “has caused a lot of anguish among some parents.” Lord Ahmad is not able to indicate when the matter would be resolved. He said that “discussions are ongoing across Government on this.”

    Paragraph 4, Point 60: “The Government should urgently address concerns in the OTs about the issue of citizenship by descent and anomalies in the British Nationality Act that have taken too long to resolve.”

    The people of the OTs have a right to be fully informed and engaged on the issue. We hope this post will raise the conversation and get people to demand their OT Elected leaders & Governors have a hand in fixing this demeaning and hurtful piece of legislation which places our flesh & blood at a disadvantage.