The genesis of term limits
January 23, 2013
The statement in the January 22 issue of
The Royal Gazette by Senator Michael Fahy, Minister of Home Affairs is noted. That statement implied that the term limit policy may be eliminated from use under the current government. It is acknowledged that the government included the possibility of this action in their proposals during the election period, but it is of use for us to recall the concerns on which the term limit policy is based. It would be essential that these concerns are addressed in any policy that is developed to replace the current policy.
Many persons appear to believe that historical realities are irrelevant today, however I can recall that the then-existing immigration policy was strongly opposed by (ET) Bob Richards (father of the current Finance Minister) during the 1950s when he was an independent Member of Colonial Parliament (MCP) and again in the 1960s when he was an MCP in the ruling United Bermuda Party (UBP). The reason for his opposition was related to the apparent preferential employment of European immigrants by local organisations. This preferential employment was viewed as potentially disturbing to the balance within the community to the advantage of the white power structure; especially as and when these immigrants were granted Bermuda status; accompanied by political power.
As the political situation in Bermuda evolved, the granting of Bermuda status ceased except in the case of marriage and a few other limited circumstances. However in the 1990s the Bermuda Government was informed, by the United Kingdom I believe, that it could not allow persons to be continually employed locally for extended periods of time and then refuse to grant them security through Bermuda status. To my understanding that was the genesis of the concept of term limits. It is noteworthy that the imbalance in the ethnic origin of immigrants continues today, as noted in my letter to the editor of January 4, 2013 — ratio of white immigrants to black immigrants is three to one. The government must decide whether the above statistics are of any concern or relevancy to them today.