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Favouritism and sentimental feelings clouding our judgment

Tensions rise: Reverend Nicholas Tweed has stirred up public feeling over the refusal of his work permit

Dear Sir,

I thought is was the inviolate right and responsibility of any country on the planet when it comes to immigration policies of any description, and when it pertains to their borders and who is granted entry at the gate, where it applies to foreigners.

This, of course, would apply to the grant of work permits or the outright refusal of the same, and this would apply equally to every applicant without exception. If there is any change or waiving of the rules, it would be at the discretion of the home affairs minister, Chief Immigration Officer and the board to decide what is in the best interest of Bermuda and her people.

If we decide to set a precedent because a renewal permit-holder is “dear to us”, this would be open to abuse or outright corruption, as we all have our favourite foreigner who deserves special consideration.

The issue now facing us is a very important one, with undue pressure being applied on behalf of a single work-permit renewal that is being touted as in some way imbued with divine injunction. Clearly, it is not.

Being a church man and a committed Christian for many decades, I have witnessed changes to work permits for foreign clergy over the years and the various denominations comply with the rules with no public protest to bring pressure to bear in a favourable outcome. The Government of Bermuda should adhere strictly to the rules and not be swayed by public pressure from various groups for a work-permit renewal.

In the same way, it should not be influenced by public pressure for refusal.

The elected government must do the job it was elected to do and not worry about being re-elected. It must do what it deems is right and proper for all Bermudians going forward. It is expected for our immigration policies to be reasonable and fair without agenda and any tyranny attached whatsoever, but the interests and expectations of qualified Bermudians must come first, notwithstanding the earnest desire of a foreign work-permit renewal application to be granted.

In the past, we fought for these principles with stout energy and fervour, but now we give in to favouritism, sentimental feelings and, dare I say, political bias, which are being allowed to cloud our better judgment.