FDM platform release: immigration reform promised
People who live in Bermuda for seven years would get Bermudian status or citizenship under a Free Democratic Movement government.
The FDM pledged sweeping immigration reform in an attempt to increase the number of people with a stake in the future of Bermuda, as it unveiled its General Election platform last night.
It said Bermudian status or citizenship would be given to:
• People born in Bermuda who reside continuously for seven years
• People who arrive in Bermuda before the age of 18 and reside continuously for seven years
• People over 18 who live and pay taxes continuously for seven years
• Spouses of Bermudians who remain married for seven years
• Spouses of Bermudians who become parents to children born in Bermuda
• Children born outside of Bermuda to a Bermudian parent
The FDM said in its platform: “The injustices imposed upon someone who is born in Bermuda, yet somehow doesn’t belong, or someone who marries a Bermudian, builds a family and a life here and still doesn’t belong, are outright wrong. These scenarios need to be abolished for good.”
It added: “There are numerous reasons why we need to have more people with a stake in the future of Bermuda and our people.
“The cold, hard fact is that we do not have enough regularly resident Bermudians to sustain the lifestyle to which we have become accustomed and that most of us desire.
“Everyone hurts when there are fewer people: production and consumption drop, less money is spent, and as a result, there are fewer jobs and fewer opportunities for Bermudians.
“We will continue on a downward spiral of fewer opportunities and less room for economic growth until a comprehensive approach to immigration reform is implemented.
“There are a few thousand non-Bermudian persons who have been living and working among us for years. We know and love them — they live among us, often even with us. We work, play, suffer and prosper together. They should have a stake in Bermuda’s collective future.”
The FDM also proposes scaling down the size and role of government to “suit the needs of Bermuda”.
Some activities will be outsourced to existing employees on a contractual basis, and some workers will be encouraged to leave the government for the private sector.
The FDM said: “The focus will start with public works and parks maintenance.
“These departments should reorganise to transition existing staff towards outsourced contracts. This will enable the same staff to continue their work, not as employees, but as business owners.
“These contractors will also be free to compete in the private sector, providing them with more income-generating opportunities as a tangible alternative to the ingrained practice of moonlighting.”
It said this would lead to better and more efficient management of projects.
The FDM said: “The results will be evident when compared to the lower overhead costs when private businesses are contracted to do the work. Success with outsourcing in these areas should build support for expanding contract work in other areas of government.
“The FDM accepts the fact that this is a form of wealth redistribution and it is a necessary action to lower cost to provide a source of economic empowerment for government workers.”
It also proposes salary deductions of up to 40 per cent for the Premier and all government ministers, and said a “5 per cent adjustment” would be made for all other government employees. These cost savings would be used entirely for tax cuts for at least two years.
• To read the platform in full, visit fdmbermuda.com
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