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Status should be a privilege, not a right

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Government's decision to not contest a legal loophole that paves the way for some PRC holders to apply for Bermudian citizenship was largely backed on the streets of Hamilton yesterday.

However, while most agreed with the move, they also suggested that Status should be viewed as a privilege, not a right, and that applying for citizenship should not automatically mean it was granted.

The decision has been criticised by The People's Campaign, union leaders and by Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda. But that stance found little backing among the people when The Royal Gazette took a quick straw poll in Hamilton.

Hamilton mayor Graeme Outerbridge, 63, of Southampton said: “We should never have stopped granting status and the fact that we did that under the UBP because of political reasons was unfair.

“It should be done on a merit basis, people shouldn't look at it as being race based because it should be done equally fairly, from top to bottom with each person being assessed fairly.

“Going forward we should grant status on outward emigration of Bermudians relocating to live in other countries so whatever that figure is, that's the figure we should go by for granting status.”

Michael Talbot, 44, of Pembroke said “This country's too full of people right now, we already have too many people applying for jobs.”

Russell Robinson, of Warwick said: “Citizenship is a privilege, not a right, so people who have been here for an extended period of time should have the opportunity to apply, but you're applying, not waiting.

“When you apply for something you're hoping to get it, or you're trying to qualify to get it, but if you're waiting for something then you're guaranteed to get it.

“If I applied for citizenship in the US then it's a ten year process. I'd have to hire a lawyer and there's no guarantee that I would get it.

“If you're born here then you should reasonably expect to become a citizen, but if you came here on a work permit and just ended up staying that's no guarantee for citizenship. You can ask to stay, but you shouldn't expect it.”

Amy DaPonte, 26, of Devonshire said: “If you're born in a country and have lived here your whole life then it's your home, you have no other home. What people don't understand is that they're Bermudian born and raised, they're part of the culture.”

Kelly Damasio, 26, of Warwick said: “I'm tired of the PRC issue. It was a PLP initiative which caused the loophole and now they're the ones fighting against it.

“Marc Bean's wife isn't even a Bermudian so I don't know why he's against it.

“PRC holders are able to work in Bermuda, they don't need Bermuda status to work, so no-one's taking jobs from anyone.

“It affects me just as much as everyone else because I'm Bermudian, my parents are not, my sister will never be, and she doesn't know any other country but this one.

“We have law abiding citizens who are PRC holders and can't be Bermudian, and then we have Bermudians who want to kill people and are spoiling their rights.”

Doc Hall, of St George's said: “I've come to the conclusion that the government doesn't know what they're doing, they should be able to solve this thing without a problem.

“The group we have now doesn't seem to know what to do.

“I‘m just fed up with the way things have gone in this country. So, right now, I won't give my opinion.”

Alicia Wanklyn, 31, of Paget said: “More people need to be able to become Bermudian, and more Bermudians need to be able to have a taste of what happens outside of Bermuda.

“Bermuda would implode relying only on 60,000 people. Guest workers, and PRC's, shouldn't be forced to leave the Island.”

Graeme Outerbridge
Russell Robertson
Kelly Damasio

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Published July 25, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated July 24, 2014 at 11:52 pm)

Status should be a privilege, not a right

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