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Brown repeats criticism of UK passports

Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs

A fresh attack on Britain’s decision to stop passport printing in Bermuda has been launched by the Minister of Home Affairs.

Walton Brown said that the change, made two years ago, had led to delays and travel confusion for Bermudians travelling to the United States from outside the island because the new passports are coded with the British GBD rather than the former Bermudian BMU. Mr Brown told MPs in the Budget debate on Wednesday night that if the British authorities “were not so obstinate, we would have that code back in place tomorrow”. He said he had met UK officials on a recent trip to London and that they had been “sympathetic” but that “to date there had been no concerted action”.

Mr Brown added that, although security concerns were the original reason for the change, there had been no security issues with Bermudian-issued passports.

The minister spoke after Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, former One Bermuda Alliance home affairs minister, asked what was being done to resolve the problem.

Opposition MP Trevor Moniz also noted a “bizarre” drop in budgeted passport revenues. Mr Brown told the House that money had been budgeted for 2018-19 for the push to secure the right code for island passports.

He added: “There is a remedy to deal with the British. The question is whether or not we have the fortitude.”