The PLP's Walter Roban. *File photo
The PLP's Walter Roban. *File photo

SUNDAY, JANUARY 6: The PLP has demanded more clarity from the Government over its proposed move to suspend Term Limits for two years.

In Friday’s Bermuda Sun, the Minister for Home Affairs Michael Fahy said these plans, which are designed to help kick-start international business, would not reduce job opportunities for Bermudians.

He added that streamlining the work permit process was also a priority and he would be going to Cabinet with his recommendations on the subject within weeks.

However, the opposition party has urged the Minister and the OBA to provide the public with more details.

In statement on behalf of Walter Roban, Shadow Minister for Home Affairs, and Senator Marc Daniels, the PLP said: “The Progressive Labour Party (PLP) once again calls on this particular Minister to move beyond the “bullet-point approach” of his Party’s recent election platform and provide clarity on their policies going forward.

“The Bermudian public is so far no better informed as to how the OBA plans will improve our current economic challenges. More attention should be focused on ensuring Bermudians secure work as the top priority for the Minister and the new Government; rather just policy announcements and focusing on opening Bermuda up for new business with a view to creating a ‘trickle-down’ effect.

“We are concerned about the OBA’s pledge for a two-year Term Limit suspension without making clear what measures will be put into place to ensure the protection and equal opportunity for Bermudians.

“The Minister cites that ‘Term Limits are not about protecting Bermudian jobs because more often than not when the term limit expires the guest worker is simply replaced by another guest worker'.

“While this is often true, the Minister should have acknowledged the true purpose of Term Limits was to not only reduce the number of individuals who may seek to lay claim to rights to remain on the island indefinitely, but also to encourage businesses over time to look within the local talent market to replace such permit holders, whether it be through additional educational training or greater work experience, in order to supplement a local workforce.

“The Minister’s comments appear somewhat disingenuous at face value, as they leave the impression that Term Limits have no place in Bermudian society for the protection of Bermudian people. This is not spin or fear mongering, but fact.

"Term Limits were created in 2001 during the incline of our economic prosperity. They were created in consultation with our International Business Industry partners, in order to remove the legitimate expectation upon arrival of work-permit holders to permanent residency in Bermuda after working here for a number of years.

“We therefore consider it necessary to query what safeguards will the new government establish during the 2-Year suspension period as an alternative to term limits?"

The statement added: “The new government is not only responsible for protecting jobs but they made an election pledge to create 2000 jobs over the next  five years.

“We believe that getting Bermudians back to work should be at the top priority for any administration in our current economic climate. The government needs to immediately outline a comprehensive Jobs Plan for Bermuda, detailing what steps they are going to take to ensure that jobs are created, or at least 400 jobs in 2013 alone to fit in line with their target goals.”