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Tweed seeks judicial review over permit

Extended stay: the Reverend Nicholas Tweed is seeking a judicial review over his work-permit refusal

The Reverend Nicholas Tweed and the Council of AME Churches have applied for judicial review in respect of both the pastor’s work permit as well as his right to reside in Bermuda.

According to their lawyer, Delroy Duncan of Trott and Duncan, the court granted leave to seek various orders against decisions made by the Minister of Home Affairs Patricia Gordon-Pamplin and a stay preventing the minister from requiring Mr Tweed to settle his affairs and leave the island by today.

In yesterday’s hearing, Chief Justice Ian Kawaley granted leave for judicial review. No date has been confirmed for the substantive hearing.

Mr Duncan said the grounds on which the review was sought were: “Bias, perceived and actual, on the part of the minister; procedural impropriety in that the minister said the matter was being handled by the Immigration Board but continued to interfere in the process; procedural impropriety because the minister never considered nor did she give Rev Tweed an opportunity to be heard regarding permission to reside and remain in Bermuda; and Rev Tweed also separately claims the minister acted in breach of the Human Rights Act 1981 and the Bermuda Constitution order 1968.”

According to Mr Duncan, Mr Tweed will be permitted to reside on the island until the outcome of the review but he must refrain from working. “He does not have a work permit,” he said.

In response to yesterday’s court ruling, Ms Gordon-Pamplin said: “As I stated in my press conference of January 6, ‘the next step in the appeals process is to seek a judicial review’.

“The AME Church and Rev Tweed have availed themselves of this option, and as such, it should now be left to the courts to review the matter and make a ruling.”

The Bermuda Government rejected Mr Tweed’s attempt to renew his work permit because his position was not made available to Bermudians via advertising, as is legally mandated, while his eventual application was said to be incomplete and contained inaccuracies.

St Paul AME Church said the move showed “total disrespect and disregard” for the Church and declared that the congregation stands united in support of Mr Tweed.