House proceedings got underway with a terse statement by Speaker of the House Randolph Horton on Friday.

In a stern warning that protests like the one that occurred in the public gallery last week will not be tolerated, he said this chamber is for debate – not protest demonstrations.

“While I know Members know this, inside these Chambers, demonstrations of any sort are not permitted,” said Mr Horton.

“Our rules are clear on this, as well as the governing legislation of the Parliament Act 1957, which provides that any member of the public who willfully disturbs the House of Legislature while in session commits an offense against that Act which is punishable by the courts.

“Secondly, members of the public shall also be assured that I have spoken with the police, who are responsible for the security here at the House of Assembly, to ensure that there is better control.

“And finally, and most importantly, I take this opportunity to put the public on notice that any attempt at future disruptions inside the House of Assembly will not be tolerated.

“These chambers are the place for debate and not of the demonstrations. The place for demonstration is – as it always has been – outside our building and these Chambers.”

Last Friday protestors in the public gallery rose to their feet and chanted: “No to OBA immigration reform.”

Pathways to Status includes any person who is ordinarily resident in Bermuda for 15 years becoming eligible to apply for permanent residency, and any permanent resident who is ordinarily resident in Bermuda for 20 years becoming eligible to apply for Bermudian status.

By Ceola Wilson

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