Immigration has long been a heated and contentious topic. One side of the political spectrum believes immigration policies have been weaponised to prop up white oligarchs, while the other side believes our immigration policies are not liberal enough and that we have been stifled by xenophobia.
Whether you fall into either category or find yourself in the middle, we can all agree on one thing. Immigration must be reformed, and the policy must benefit Bermudians above all else. Minister Hayward’s recent epiphany regarding immigration reform is welcomed. Though the irony is not lost on me, that this very Minister stood with the People’s campaign to vehemently fight against immigration reform five years ago under the OBA.
I believe we all know the story of the OBA’s attempt at immigration reform in 2016, that if passed would have assisted with improving the state of our Government finances and economy. I will not tell you the legislation was perfect or that the OBA handled the roll out to the community perfectly. The electorate sent us a clear message of displeasure, as is their democratic right.
Now we have arrived at a similar crossroads. The OBA as Bermuda’s loyal opposition, will not repeat the mistakes of the then PLP opposition. We will support the Government in its efforts to bring about comprehensive immigration reform to benefit our island home. We will provide measured criticism and look out for our fellow Bermudians best interest by putting forward legislative amendments when needed.
We will not disrupt town halls, spread misinformation, and spread general discontent around their upcoming immigration reform efforts. I look forward to the policies to be put forward by our current Government. However, immigration reform is not a stand alone fix to our woes.
We require job growth and reduction of Government expenditure. All which the PLP has promised, so let us get on with the progress. The OBA is willing to assist where we are required, so the only barrier to progress would be the PLP themselves.