Who are you kidding?

Bermuda's Permanent Secretary for Immigration and Labour, Robert Horton, was in the Cayman's a couple of weeks ago and spoke on a local radio show about Bermuda's term limits policy:

Although the Cayman Islands and Bermuda have rollover policies for expatriate workers in place, the Permanent Secretary for the Bermuda Ministry of Labour and Immigration, Robert K. Horton, stated on a local radio talk show, that Bermuda’s policy is not about preserving jobs for native Bermudians.

Speaking on Cayman Crosstalk on Rooster 101.9 FM a fortnight ago, he said the policy was intended to control Bermuda’s population, because there is a shortage of land problem and there was nowhere else to build except up.

We can go through this over and over, but what does churning non-Bermudian positions have to do with keeping the population down? Government is simply issuing a new permit to fill the post but to a different person. Population control? Nonsense. Preventing future claims on Bermuda citizenship? Maybe. Pandering to a xenophobic political wing? Yep.

Mr. Horton delivers another zinger:

“The issue is enormously controversial at the time the new government came to power,” said Mr Horton.

But he was careful to note that once it enunciated there was general consensus and agreement and that it had a social respect and a healing effect.

“It doesn’t mean there aren’t strong opinions on each side of the argument. But there is general acceptance,” he added.

General acceptance? Social respect and a healing effect?

Who's Mr. Horton kidding? The policy is by no means generally accepted and I'd be interested to know what it has healed, other than relations between Bermuda's anti-foreigner nationalists and the PLP, a relationship which was becoming strained due to an explosion in foreign workers since 1998 when the PLP came to power.

The current Labour Minister says it's about citizenship, former Labour Minister Terry Lister said at the last election that it was about Bermudianisation and now says it's about racism. Make up your minds.

Mr. Horton's efforts to make Bermuda's policy sound reasonable and uncontroversial are admirable, but they're not based in reality.

Cayman Net News follows up with an editorial.

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