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Ousted home affairs minister voices 'some regret'

New responsibilities: Michael Fahy, who takes over transport, tourism and municipalities

Former home affairs minister Michael Fahy told The Royal Gazette he took no relief in handing over responsibility for immigration, once described as the “third rail” of Bermudian politics.

“I say that obviously with some sense of regret, in that we were not able to achieve all that we set out to achieve,” Senator Fahy added, in reference to the stalling of the Pathways to Status initiative that had been originally presented as a much-needed means of putting Bermuda’s outdated immigration regime in order.

Mr Fahy said he was confident that the new minister, Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, would be able to “continue with what we were not able to achieve”.

“Throughout my time, immigration has obviously been tumultuous,” he said. “But throughout, it has been my mission to make changes for the benefit of all Bermudians. Some have not seen it that way, and that’s unfortunate, but in the long term, those changes that have been made will be seen to be in the right direction. Already some of what we have done has tremendously assisted in bringing about an economic turnaround in Bermuda.”

Along with responsibility for the municipalities, Mr Fahy retains the parish councils from Home Affairs.

Taking on tourism, he said gaming legislation would be a high priority, as well as the new economic incentive legislation that would replace the old hotel concessions. Banning tinted visors was a high priority in taking on transport, but another “third rail” lies in store for Mr Fahy with the airport redevelopment project — a major initiative of the OBA Government that he said needed to be addressed soon.

The new minister added that the island had “a real opportunity with the shipping and aircraft registry to expand our economic base”.

His next order of business, Mr Fahy said, would be to “do the rounds and meet with the department and staff — one of the things I did in Home Affairs was hold regular staff meetings”.

Asked about those who had demanded that he leave Cabinet, Mr Fahy told The Royal Gazette: “Everyone is entitled to their opinion. The Premier has continued to express confidence in what I can bring to the table. I’m happy that this confidence has continued to be expressed, and I will continue to bring us forward.”