September 21, 2020

PLP: Richards way off base on Cayman term limits


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Public Relations Officer for the Progressive Labour Party Curtis Williams fired back yesterday on the Shadow Minister of Finance’s call for the lifting of term limits in Bermuda.

One Bermuda Alliance MP ET Bob Richards on Monday suggested Bermuda would do well to follow the lead set by the Cayman Islands on the issue of term limits.

Mr Williams in response released the findings of a “comprehensive study” conducted by the Term Limit Review Committee in the Cayman Islands.

Mr Williams added that the 113-page report was released “on the same day” The Royal Gazette “published an unchallenged statement from Bob Richards once again lauding the Cayman Islands” and noted that the OBA’s “only idea for the Bermuda economy was not one of the four reasons for their islands’ recent loss of business”.

Quoting the Cayman Compass report, Mr Williams said: “The seven-year term limit policy on foreign workers’ residence was not one of the top four factors limiting business growth in the Cayman Islands, a survey completed by a subgroup of the government’s Term Limit Review Committee reported last week.

“Rather, the cost of doing business was rated as the top limiting factor among the 97 responses from local businesses received in the committee’s survey conducted in late 2011.”

He continued: “The second greatest concern regarding limited growth was the state of the world economy, followed by the reputation of the Cayman Islands and then the cost of obtaining work permits for non-Caymanian employees.

“The Term Limit Review Committee’s overall report did not recommend abolishing the term limit, often referred to as the ‘rollover policy’, altogether.”

Mr Williams charged that the OBA’s only idea for the Bermuda economy “is to implement something that a Cayman study rejected”.

“The OBA offer a lot of attacks and bluster, but only offers unworkable and unrealistic and recycled UBP plans.” said Mr Williams.

He went on to say that the Cayman report recommends “continued support of a fixed-term policy which will require a legitimate break in stay for long term residents who are unable to qualify for the right to permanently reside under the criteria in place at the time.

“This will mitigate the risk of such persons becoming a long-term economic or social burden on the Cayman Islands,” he said.

“The report also laid to waste the OBA’s ridiculous argument that the Bermuda Government and not the global recession is primarily responsible for the loss of business in Bermuda.

“The Bermuda Government’s actions are not a major impact on Cayman’s economy and economies around the world,” said Mr Williams.

He added: “In 2007, the number of foreign workers peaked at 24,730. In 2011 the number of foreign workers was 19,927

“The Cayman Islands have rejected Bob Richards’ bad idea of ending Term Limits; and soon the Bermudian voter will also have their chance to reject the OBA plan for Bermudians.”

When contacted by the Royal Gazette, Senator David Burt, the Junior Minister of Finance said: “The main point is that Bob Richards has been selling term limits as the answer to Bermuda’s problems and the country that he always references, has issued a report that recommends keeping term limits in the Cayman Islands.”

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