Audio: Senator Dwayne Robinson On Emigration

February 15, 2024 | 0 Comments

We have a population crisis in Bermuda and the island should aim to gather data of Bermudians overseas, OBA Senator Dwayne Robinson said in the Senate.

Senator Robinson said, “As we know in Bermuda, we have a very serious population crisis, and it’s not something that has just happened overnight. It’s not laid at the feet of the particular administration right now, it’s been something that’s tracked back and been progressing for a long time.

“But I believe we need to be the generation that puts a stop to it, and actually gets up and tries to mitigate this crisis. I think it needs to stay at the forefront of our minds, because it affects everything from entrepreneurship to the local economy.

“The point that I would like to focus on regarding this as we all have heard numerous people speak on the population crisis and what has caused it, but the part that I would like to focus on today is emigration.

“For us to have an 8,000 person hole in our working population, and with Britain’s 2021 census saying that it’s 5,821 usual residents of England that were born in Bermuda is something that I think should trigger us to want to do more robust research, more robust polling of our people who are leaving and, you know, those who are at risk of leaving as well.

“I think we need to be more robust in our tracking of Bermudians who are departing, and see if we can get some more communication and more connection with the diaspora that is overseas, because we’ve seen them come to our aid in previous occasions with someone like Dr. Carika Weldon who came back during Covid, who was overseas and had expertise that could help the island.

“I feel like it was something that was a departure form that used to be done. I’m not sure if that is still done, so correct me if I’m wrong if it is, but the more data we can collect on our people who are overseas and working with our overseas partners and direct jurisdictions to figure out how many Bermudians are in Canada, are in the UK, are in America, and see if we could cater our repatriation efforts to them, because we don’t really know why they left.

“This is an issue that’s talked about frequently in the community, people moving away, people up and going to England, whole families moving away, but we don’t really have the specifics as to why people have moved. We’re assuming…and I think it would help if we knew how many of our people were overseas, what percentage of them are students, what percentage of them are retirees, and that would help us cater our repatriation efforts.

“It’s just little things that Government could be doing in this space, to not only look to reform immigration, to bring other people outside of Bermuda back, but also focus on emigration so that we know where our people are, and where we can draw from that resource.

“To me, this transcends politics or any particular party. It’s the future of our island, it’s the future of our children,” the Senator added. “To the Government’s credit, they have accepted that we have a population crisis. It’s no way we can address that if we aren’t even sure how many people are leaving, or what amount of people are leaving and how frequently they’re going. So for me, I just would call on just us to put together a robust framework as an island.

“I just wanted to highlight that because in my opinion if we continue to politicize it, if we continue to dig our heels in the sand and watch as we have watched for several generations, this problem persists, I believe that we may reach a point, as the Minister of Economy and Labour has already stated, of unsustainability in our island. And that’s something that I know all of us would hope to prevent, even if we do have ideological differences.”

The text above does not represent all the Senator’s comments, he also spoke about other correlated matters such as housing, it is an extract of part of them, for his full comments, please listen to the audio below.

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