The recent ruling by Chief Justice Ian Kawaley that cleared the way for qualifying PRCs to obtain Bermuda status must be addressed immediately by the OBA using both a bipartisan approach with the PLP and the people of Bermuda. 

While the legal opinion of Chief Justice Ian Kawaley may be proved to be accurate, there must be a recognition that the intent of the 2001 PRC legislation was in no way to be viewed as a method for PRCs to gain status. The spirit of the law must be considered in the context of the wider issue of our legislation.

In order to effectively address this highly sensitive issue, the OBA and PLP must first close this loophole. To allow the granting of status based solely on the discovery of a loophole, is not an effective way to address the concerns of Bermudians.  

Allowing the accidental granting of status to stand will only further serve to divide  Bermuda. 

According to the 2010 Census, Bermuda residents include:

• 1,878 PRCs; 

• 1,237 spouses of PRC holders; 

• 2,960 children of PRCs;

• approximately 7,500 work permit holders.  

As of February 2013, Term Limits were removed, which now creates conditions where many of these guest worker’s could demand PRC status, and ultimately full Bermuda Status.

Basically ,we now have a situation that could potentially allow 13,000 persons to soon demand Bermuda status. This is a clear call for a National Immigration plan and reform of our archaic immigration policies.

Through the collaboration with the PLP and the Bermudian people, the OBA must establish a sustainable National Immigration Plan. 

This National Immigration Plan must take into careful consideration the short-term and long-term economic, social and environmental issues that surround immigration.  

The careful management of population and labour is key for any government but it is even more so for Bermuda, given our limited resources available. This is especially  important as we consider:-

• The OBA’s introduction of the concept of commercial immigration; 

• The recent OBA amendments to the Job Makers’ Act, which reduces the requirements IB executives needed to meet in order to obtain PRC status; 

• The OBA’s Throne Speech promise to create a pathway to status for children of expats who were born in Bermuda;

• The OBA’s removal of term limits and the real possibility of these resulting long-term residents demanding status in the future;  

• The need to stem the flow of Bermudians leaving our shores by protecting opportunities for our people.

Recall this OBA election promise: “We will expand the voter base.”

We now circle back to the salient issue. Does the OBA have the political will to do the right thing and work in collaboration with the PLP, and the people of Bermuda, to establish a fair National Immigration Plan? Or are they simply looking at the possibility of gaining thousands of new OBA voters?

The ball is effectively in their court. Two questions now remain;

• Does the OBA put party above country?  

• Does the OBA put PRC holders above Bermudians?