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One rule for all

Bending rules: the Reverend Nicholas Tweed’s work permit was submitted one day before its expiry, when it should be submitted at times three months before its expiry

The Reverend Nicholas Tweed’s work permit was submitted one day before its expiry, when it should be submitted at times three months before its expiry.

Also, the work permit was not advertised as is required by law.

When the Department of Immigration requested several pieces of documentation to support the application, the AME Church refused.

When a work permit is refused, the minister in the letter can indicate that no reason needs to be given why the work permit was denied.

A person who is in Bermuda on a work permit, who would like to do charitable volunteer work, must obtain the permission from the Department of Immigration. Therefore, Mr Tweed acted outside of his work permit when he started a charity known as the People’s Campaign.

If the Department of Immigration does not stand firm on its decision to refuse the work permit, any other work permit-holder has the right to challenge a work-permit refusal, as this would have set the precedent. One set of rules cannot be used for one person and not apply to another. Mr Tweed is not any different than any other work permit-holder.

Also, the AME Church has to abide by the rules and procedures laid out by the Department of Immigration for permit renewal. It is not above the law.

The very thing Mr Tweed fought for on the Hill, which was immigration reform regarding putting Bermudians first, is exactly what happened with his work-permit refusal. The Department of Immigration put Bermudians first and rejected a work permit.

The Bermuda Industrial Union’s function in Bermuda is to fight for the right of Bermudian workers and not work permit-holders, which is what Mr Tweed is.

There has also been the argument that Mr Tweed should be able to remain in Bermuda because of his Bermudian connection. We must remember that Mr Tweed came to Bermuda as a work permit-holder and was not born in Bermuda.

If this qualifies him to remain in Bermuda, then we need to explain to all the other people who have been born in Bermuda and lived in Bermuda all their lives and are then told they cannot remain in Bermuda because they are not Bermudian. They have more of a right to be in Bermuda than Mr Tweed.

The present One Bermuda Alliance government needs to take a serious look at its position on this matter because if it reverses its decision, it will be seen as weaker than what is already perceived by the public and the party’s supporters may not even vote in the next election. Which will be what happened to the Progressive Labour Party when the OBA won the election.

•Quinton Edness was a Cabinet minister in the former United Bermuda Party government