I want firstly to thank those of you that have been kind enough to send me your thoughts on the issue of ‘Two Bermuda’s’ —   particularly with regard to how we can seek to empower ourselves, and the generations to come. 

We are here to serve Bermuda and to look out for your concerns that you bring to us. So your feedback and information are appreciated beyond measure.

Today I would like to address an issue that has impacted the fabric of our island over the last few years.

We are constantly and increasingly hearing from certain segments of our island that we need to do all that we can to get guest workers into this island. We must welcome them and treat them as equals, or in some persons’ mind treat them as “more than equals” above Bermudians.

The case put forth is that guest workers:

Spend hard-earned  money in the economy;

  Rent houses;

 Purchase vehicles;

 Send their children to schools; 

 Contribute to charities;

 Pay taxes.

This case is entirely true. 

However, what we never hear from this same segment, is that Bermudians also do all of the above. Bermudians are the mainstay of this economy, and have built this island into the place we all call home.

There are those that seem to discard the thousands of Bermudians that have left Bermuda over the last 10 years. Statistics cite hundreds have left Bermuda. The average age being 28 and with a university degree.

Many others are single mothers, who have taken their children to the UK to live. Primarily because the cost of living and lack of fair hiring practices in Bermuda are far too much for them to simply survive.

Each and every one of us knows of at least two Bermudians who now live abroad with no plans to return home. This is indeed not the Bermuda that any of us had envisioned.

My questions to the powers that be are these:

 Are those Bermudians not as important as a guest worker?

 Should we not be doing everything as a community to encourage our fellow Bermudians to return home?

 Or shall we continuously watch a slow exodus of our brothers, sisters, cousins and friends?

To those Bermudians living abroad, we give our assurance that we will be doing everything within our power to create a Bermuda where you have the freedom to return home and participate in the growth and development of our island home.

To any of our fellow Bermudians who are living abroad, or are contemplating moving abroad because you can no longer afford to live here, I implore  you to reach out to us. We value your thoughts and concerns and will do our utmost to secure your place in our island.

To this end we will continue to press our vision for the following:

 Diversification of the economy;

 Fair and equal hiring practices;

 Increased technical education for Bermudians.

In closing, whilst we value the contributions of guest workers to our economy, the fact remains that Bermuda works best when Bermudians are put first. We must increase the faith in ourselves to control our own destiny. 

Michael Weeks is Shadow Minister of Community & Cultural Development.