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Caines petitions UK over Bermuda passports

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Seema Kennedy, a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the British Home Office, meets Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, as he visited London (Photograph supplied).

The Minister of National Security urged a British politician to help bring back the BMU code to Bermudian passports during talks in London, he said yesterday.Wayne Caines attended a series of meetings in the UK capital last week.He met Seema Kennedy, a British MP and Parliamentary Under Secretary at the Home Office, to pursue talks about the passport issues that Bermudians have experienced since the UK Government took over printing.Mr Caines said: “The Home Office minister was keenly interested in resolving the issues and committed to further assisting in the interim to ease the travel issues Bermudians are encountering. “We had the opportunity to strongly make the case for the speedy return of Bermuda’s BMU code to our passports. “Home Office officials will continue to work with our London Office team as we try to expedite this important revision.”The UK Government took over responsibility for printing passports for British Overseas Territories citizens in June 2016 because of security concerns.A new code on the documents has caused problems for some Bermudians travelling through the United States from outside the island.During his visit, Mr Caines attended the annual meeting of the Britain-Bermuda All-Party Parliamentary Group, chaired by MP Sir David Amess.The minister was invited to speak on Bermuda’s resilience after Hurricane Humberto.He was also given the chance to identify how the APPG can support Bermuda in the UK Parliament. Mr Caines said: “This was a unique opportunity as my short time in London coincided with this AGM. “It was important to re-engage with these MPs and peers who have a clear interest in Bermuda and outline for them how they can support our efforts with training and development of the Royal Bermuda Regiment as well as officers of the Bermuda Police Service. “Sir David, as chairman, demonstrated the leadership necessary to further grow Bermuda’s support base in the mother of Parliaments.”Mr Caines also met Overseas Territories director Ben Merrick. He explained: “It’s always useful to meet with Ben and to maximise Bermuda’s continuing constitutional relationship with the UK as led by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.“Our discussion was wide-ranging and included an expression of condolences to the family of the late MP Walton Brown with whom Ben had also met during his time as Bermuda’s Minister of Home Affairs.”Mr Caines added: “This was an incredibly productive series of meetings and we saw advancement on key issues important for Bermudians, in travel, security, as well as overt parliamentary support in various areas related to our economy and our continued efforts on border security.”

Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, with Sir Nicholas Soames, grandson of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill and friend to Bermuda (Photograph supplied). 
Members of the Britain-Bermuda All Party Parliamentary Group with the Minister of National Security. From left: Lord Tope, Sir David Amess, Sir David Crausby, Wayne Caines, Bob Stewart (Photograph supplied).