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No shame in wanting to put your people first

Minister of Immigration for Bermuda, Hon. Wayne M. Caines. Photo: Provided
By Thomas C. Famous

It is always interesting, sadly interesting, to see or hear people call Bermudians “Xenophobic” or “Protectionist”, simply because they wish to ensure the best for themselves, their families and their fellow Bermudians.

A recent article in the Royal Gazette on May 28th titled: “Bermudians-first immigration mantra repeated” spoke about the current government's efforts to reform immigration in order to bring balance, with a primacy on Bermudians.

Immigration Minister Hon. Wayne Caines stated the following: “All reform must centre around the premise of Bermudians having a place of primacy in their homeland...we believe any and all immigration reform should increase opportunities for Bermudians.”

Like clockwork, the following statements appeared in the comment sections: “It feels like it can (maybe already has) turn into a case of cutting off one's nose to spite one's face,” Kim Smith. 

“Apart from broadening the tax, pension and healthcare load we seriously need to increase the gene pool given the level of intellect and in-breeding of many of us Bermudians. I point no fingers !!” Jet Black

The narrative that is seemingly being painted, is that it is wrong to want to put Bermudians first in their own country and that only in Bermuda, does the government look to put their people first.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

In our fellow overseas territory of the Virgin Islands the Premier Hon. Andrew Fahie (pronounced Foy) has recently made the following statement:

“We have some new investment programmes coming and we are going to welcome investors. But we also made something clear today in Cabinet that it ain’t going to be the old-time investing. 

“They have to make sure — and we have to make sure through Labour reform and Immigration reform — that the senior posts when you come to invest, your company going to have our people in those senior posts.”

“So once you come, we are going to give you some incentives, but you are going to give us some major things too.”

Is he wrong for wishing to ensure his qualified Virgin Islanders are fully employed?

Again like clockwork the comments almost mirror what we see in Bermuda, “Great way to get money flowing into the BVI – not!

So let me just get this straight, you want investors to put their money up and oh, by the way, give everyone in the BVI a senior business position for which they have no experience, sounds ludicrous. What happens when money stops flowing in, you still going to demand that senior position. You guys sound like liberal Americans.” Michael 

“And what are these qualified persons doing now? Counting paper clips and surfing the internet in a GOVT job does not really suggest that a person is qualified to be a manager in the private sector!”

One could easily be forgiven if they thought these negative bloggers on BVI websites are the same persons blogging on Bermudian websites.

Arguably, in order to have a stable economy based on financial services, both Bermuda and the BVI have to be inviting to investors and their requisite staff. The recent Economic Substance Acts speak to opening the doors for increased physical presence of qualified staff on island.

Equally, qualified locals must feel and be welcomed into these entities. 

Let us not forget that there are plenty of other industries that Bermudians are facing the short end of the stick when it comes to attaining jobs. Hence, the dire need for well thought out Comprehensive Immigration reform.

Beginning this month, hundreds, if not thousands of students, of all hues, in both Bermuda and the Virgin Islands will be graduating from universities from around the world. This is the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice by both the students and their families.

The logical expectation is that those qualified students should seek and find employment in their own countries. It will be incredulous for anyone to state that these persons should simply wait at the back of the line for employment in their respective countries.

3 Responses to “No shame in wanting to put your people first”

  • 1 (05/06/2019, 21:31) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
    Good read
  • Expat (06/06/2019, 22:32) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Immigration is an issue all over the world. While some countries do not want to shut the doors all together, they must put measures in place to ensure that the number of imported labour entering their country does not leave their own citizens unemployed. No country can allows unchecked importation of labour . How can you import workers everyday for all manner of work and have high unemployment amongst your local population. The Virgin Islands has been at a point for a long time now, where their citizen who have completed tertiary education abroad feel they have no reason to return to their homeland.
  • FamilyNFriendsFirstRight (09/06/2019, 18:37) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    If you can't expect to do well and have first preference in your own home where the hell else. Its like leaving your doors open allowing a stranger to take a seat at your table and proceed to eat before you and your family even take a seat ...Who does that!!!!

    Investors invest because they see an opportunity, but this opportunity should be mutually beneficial!!!!

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