Bermuda status appeals rejected
Two people who claimed Bermuda status had their appeals dismissed by Supreme Court.
Luis Corria and Carly McQueen both made separate applications for status, but were refused by the Minister of Home Affairs and the Immigration Appeal Tribunal.
Both argued that the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act only required that they had enjoyed Bermuda status “at any time” in the previous ten years.
But the Attorney-General’s Chambers argued that the law required them to have enjoyed the status throughout the ten-year period.
Chief Justice Ian Kawaley, in a written judgment issued last week, said the dispute was based on the specific wording of the legislation.
Immigration law says that a person can apply for status if they are a Commonwealth citizen, have lived on the island for ten years before the application and have a “qualified Bermuda connection”.
Peter Sanderson, representing the applicants, told the court there was an “inconsistency” in the Act because a section used the phrase “at any time”.
But Phil Perinchief, from the Attorney-General’s Chambers, told the court the Act’s wording was “plain as a pikestaff”.
The judgment said: “There is an ambiguity, Mr Sanderson argued, and that ambiguity ought to be resolved in favour of the appellants and in conformity with their international treaty rights.”
But it added: “Mr Sanderson’s argument, rigorously scrutinised, entailed inviting the court to prefer an overly loose and liberal construction of the statutory language over the natural and ordinary meaning of the words in their context.”
Mr Justice Kawaley found against the applicants on the grounds that the legislation was clear.
He wrote: “The language of the relevant statutory words in their context is far too clear for their natural and ordinary meaning to be displaced by abstract speculation.”
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