Fahy: Term limits were ‘a job killer’
Debate over the termination of term limits dominated yesterday’s Senate session.
Government’s leader in the Upper House, Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy, said term limits would be recognised as “a job killer for Bermuda”.
Senator Fahy said he “will not back down” on Throne Speech promises, even unpopular ones.
People who were “angry about term limits” are people who are “without jobs — they are looking for someone to place the blame on”, Sen Fahy said.
“I have got broad shoulders — I can take it,” he added.
However, he continued: “Just because we do not have the name ‘labour’ in our Party does not mean we don’t understand the issues facing Bermudians.”
Sen Fahy said he was sure the Cayman Islands would follow the Island’s suit at the next Election on their own term limit policies.
Telling the Senate that Bermuda’s work permit policy also needs to be strengthened, he said penalties would be aimed at local employers who break the rules.
“I’m convinced that if there is a successful prosecution of an employer guilty of lying to the Department of Immigration about their attempts to hire Bermudians, I bet that practice will come to an end pretty fast,” he said.
His Opposition counterpart Diallo Rabain cautioned that “some sectors in our community still get the distinct impression” that the One Bermuda Alliance put the concerns of non-Bermudian work permit holders above the worries of locals.
Senator Rabain said that some had felt “sneered at and admonished by asking questions that they should know the answer to” when it came to questioning the scrapping of term limits.
Sen Rabain said he also found it “ironic” that the cover of the OBA’s Throne Speech depicted a stretch of Tucker’s Town.
Noting its troubled past as an place where locals had been dispossessed, he said: “This is an area that has caused much pain for a certain segment of our society”.
Among the proposals Sen Rabain put forward was for a national lottery for the express purpose of reviving the Island’s workmen’s and community clubs, which traditionally rely on bar sales to fund their activities.
Sen Rabain said the Progressive Labour Party in Opposition would “support the supportable, challenge when necessary and lead when required”.
Independent Senator James Jardine said he’d counted more than 60 initiatives in the latest Throne Speech.
Focusing on the Island’s economic challenges, he urged quick action on job creation — but when it came to relaxing rules on property purchases for Bermudians married to non-Bermudians, Sen Jardine said he’d hoped to see “a reduction or outright elimination” of licences required by holders of Permanent Resident Certificates.
Telling the Upper House that her frame of reference was the corporate world, OBA Senator Lynne Woolridge voiced guarded support for life skills and parenting training for certain recipients of Financial Assistance.
“Not everyone on Financial Assistance can be tarred with the ‘bad parenting’ brush,” she said.
Nonetheless, Sen Woolridge added: “We currently have a generation lacking in many of these skills.”
And OBA Senator Jeff Baron elicited laughter around the table when he shot back at Sen Rabain’s reference to the scene on the front of the Throne Speech.
“He asked if there was a subliminal massage on our cover,” Sen Baron said. “I looked at the picture on the cover to the Reply and saw a sinking ship.”