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Furbert accused of ‘misleading information’

Chris Furbert, BIU president, speaks at yesterday's Labour Day gathering in Union Square (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Home affairs minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin has defended her right to access immigration files following allegations made by union leader Chris Furbert.

During yesterday’s Labour Day speech, Bermuda Industrial Union president Mr Furbert claimed someone “very dear to us” was facing work permit difficulties, and that “a minister has taken a file from the Chief Immigration Officer” which “should be concerning to everyone”.

Responding today, Mrs Gordon-Pamplin questioned why Mr Furbert, who has fought vigorously for Bermudians to come first for jobs, would now be advocating on behalf of a work-permit holder.

She also accused Mr Furbert of “incorrect and misleading information”.

“As minister responsible for immigration, this Government indeed looks out for Bermudians and it concerns me that Chris Furbert would issue incorrect and misleading information to his audience regarding the responsibility for or the status of any work permit application,” she stated.

The minister said Section 61 of the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act gives her full authority to issue work permits, adding that responsibility is usually delegated to the board, unless the minister’s input is required.

She continued: “Therefore, it is entirely appropriate for me to have access to any file where the minister is needed to resolve a particular issue.

“I do not keep any files in my possession once my input is given, and any further information that may be required is sought by the technical officers.

“While it would be inappropriate to comment on any specific case, what is interesting is that Mr Furbert would be advocating for a work-permit holder in one breath while asking for government to ensure that Bermudians are considered first and foremost for employment in their own country.

“To do this on Labour Day raises questions as to his ulterior motive.”