Mr Famous, you are using false arguments to mislead voters
Perhaps the only thing surprising about Christopher Famous's selective quoting of One Bermuda Alliance MP Leah Scott's leaked e-mail is that he took two weeks to do it. But true to form, last week he used the parts that support the Progressive Labour Party's position while ignoring those that dismiss the PLP's position:
“It is completely dishonest for Minister Fahy to say that our Bermudian children and future generations will not be affected by this legislation. The reality is that there are PRC holders who have children. They will be granted status and their children will become Bermudian. The reality is that the majority of PRCs are white. The majority of PRCs will be fairly well connected. Accordingly, it is those Bermudians who will get the jobs, thereby displacing our Bermudian children.” — Leah Scott
I wasn't entirely sure about the rules regarding permanent resident's certificate holders, and what I learnt is that there are two types. Class 31A PRCs must have been ordinarily resident in Bermuda before July 31, 1989, been resident for 20 years and been of 40 years of age or greater at the time of their application.
Class 31B PRCs have obtained permanent residency through their connection to someone who has status or is a 31A PRC. Note, though, 31B PRCs cannot pass PRC rights on to their children. Given this, the significant change in employment would not be for children of 31As, but for children of 31Bs and for those who would newly qualify under Pathways' 15-year minimum requirement.
Ms Scott's comments gave me pause because they bring into question the ethics of PRCs and paints them as persons who will first and foremost give new opportunities to their friends and families.
There is some historical validity in this belief, but rather than question how bad things are now, I entertained the worst-case scenario where every PRC child is white, is looking to work in the higher-paid job sectors and is connected to wealthy people who will give them jobs instead of Bermudian children. Unfortunately, our limited population data makes it difficult to determine how many children of 31B PRCs Bermuda actually has.
However, we can make some reasonable deductions from the data we do have. According to the Bermuda Employment Survey 2014, the total working population was 33,475, and of this only 2.5 per cent, or 838, were PRC holders. We can also drill down farther into the higher-paying industries such as international business and find that only 3 per cent, or 117, of those jobs are held by PRCs.
Contrary to Ms Scott's statement, our data does not show that the majority of PRCs are working in high-paying industries, but in fact are spread pretty broadly across white-collar and blue-collar industries. This is not to say that advantages do not exist or that there aren't disparities, but it is to say that Ms Scott's comment was more of an alarmist exaggeration than actual reality.
The same could not be said about Mr Famous because, unlike Ms Scott, he has spent the past year and a half trying to convince voters that the OBA is executing some kind of gentrification master plan.
To provide additional proof of his conspiracy theory, he opted to selectively report job categories with the highest percentage of PRC employment. And, although he scratches around the surface with a few questions about why the majority of waiters are non-Bermudian, deliberately he avoided any questions that might call the PLP's 14 years into question.
Over on Bernews.com, his intent to malign the OBA was a great deal more specious. Three of his statements, in particular, deserve special mention:
1, “Approximately 2,000 Bermudians have lost jobs since the OBA abolished term limits.”
Actually, between 1999 and 2012, Bermudians lost 3,585 jobs. The vague insinuation that Bermudians have lost jobs to PRCs or expatriates because term limits were abolished is therefore incredibly dishonest.
2, “Over the last two years there has been a net gain of 200 jobs in IB up from 3,700-3,900. Most of these jobs have gone to non-Bermudians.”
Actually, the latest employment survey shows a gain of 169 jobs, of which 50 per cent went to Bermudians. It appears that Mr Famous was more interested in dismissing that the international business sector reported jobs growth for the first time in six years.
3, “Under the proposal presented by the OBA, over the next 15 years 9,000 jobs could move out of immigration control and born Bermudians would forever be blocked from these posts.”
Actually, those 9,000 workers would have to go through multiple work-permit renewals over 15 years to qualify for a PRC. Never mind that people emigrate, change jobs, retire and pass away, with an existing total of 838 PRCs, it is utterly absurd to suggest that Bermudians would forever be blocked from those posts.
Mr Famous's columns here and on Bernews.com demonstrate that he's trying to use false arguments to convince voters that the sky is falling. But despite his best attempts, selectively quoting Ms Scott doesn't make his false arguments any more convincing. It just makes the PLP appear more dishonest.
• To reach out to Bryant Trew, e-mail bryanttrew.com,
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