OBA steps up calls for scrapping of TA forms
Calls for Travel Authorisation (TA) forms to be scrapped have been stepped up by the Opposition.
Michael Dunkley, the shadow health minister, said the measure was a deterrent for people seeking to come to the island.
The One Bermuda Alliance MP raised the issue as the Government pushed for emergency measures aimed at dealing with the Covid-19 crisis to be extended beyond May 30 until July 29.
He told MPs: “If we are trying to live with Covid, obviously, we must try to get back to a more normal lifestyle.
“And if that is the case, having a public health emergency extension order ongoing from a year and a half ago for another two months sends the wrong message.
“The border controls that we have at the present time are not doing the job.
“What is so important about the Travel Authorisation form that other measures of control can’t do much more effectively and without as much aggravation to people from all walks of life?
“I believe that the TA has served its time.”
He added: “It has had a chequered past. And many of these people who complain about the Travel Authorisation form wonder if the only reason why we still have it is because of the $40 fee, and Government need for the money, or for the contract that calls for the money to be paid.
“It cannot be about the money. It is unacceptable to be about the money.
“We are stuck paying the fee, we are stuck paying out to a third party vendor, and we are stuck with this cumbersome form.
“The TA, as it is now, needs to go.”
Kim Wilson, the Health Minister, said that the Government still needed to impose “extraordinary measures” in order to “prevent, suppress and control” Covid 19.
Walter Roban, Home Affairs Minister said: “It has to do with us continuing a minimal level of management around a pandemic that is still with us.
“You get rid of the TA, the pandemic is still here.”
Separately, the House of Assembly approved more flexible working times for officials carrying-out civil marriages.