In absence of the availability of the actual proposed “Bermuda Immigration [No. 2] Act 2017” one can only speculate as to what is being proposed. We’ll have to wait until it is publicly available to make a more concrete judgement.
However, the optics are plain terrible. Why rush straight to proposing a bill with no prior warning, announcement or “bi-partisan immigration reform” consultation?
Let’s be honest. The PLP have a mandate to fix the loophole regarding discrimination based upon place of origin. That’s wholly understandable and it isn’t a surprise if their aim is to fix it. The problem is if we mess up the approach such that we send a message that we’re promoting discrimination against non-Bermudians. This would be a massive misstep and could be terribly damaging.
Why in the world is this going straight to a bill? Why the rush? There are many 100 day pledges unfulfilled, this wasn’t specifically listed as one nor listed as part of the platform. Why do we urgently need to table a bill on this?
The risk here is massive and I don’t think that should be understated. It doesn’t matter what the underlying intentions are, the problem is that if you don’t manage perceptions it can blow up in your face. This was the OBA’s biggest failing and frankly, the PLP have shown a few times now that they didn’t learn from the OBA’s mistakes.
By contrast – take a moment to review how Col. Burch outlines the mail processing facility situation. The way he’s outlined the problems, how we got here, the options and the reason why an urgent solution was chosen is impressive. That’s an example of how an urgent situation should be handled, and minus a urgent solution, it’s also an example of how non-urgent situation should be handled. Why risk controversy unnecessarily when we’re already in such a fragile position as an island?