Plans by Government to hold another public meeting to discuss the recently announced Pathways to Status immigration initiative hang in the balance, after protestors chanting “No to immigration reform” shut down the first meeting.

In a packed Cathedral Hall Home Affairs Minister took the podium last night and was met with loud chants by protestors who rose up and chanted for at least 20 minutes before the meeting was called off.

The Public Information Session was hosted by Senator Fahy and Attorney-General and Minister of Legal Affairs Trevor Moniz.

The new initiative, announced the day after the OBAs defeat in the Devonshire North Central bye-election, details plans to amend the law. Changes include any person who is ordinarily resident in Bermuda for 15 years becoming eligible to apply for permanent residency. Any permanent resident who is ordinarily resident in Bermuda for 20 years becoming eligible to
apply for Bermudian status.

The Minister and other MPs were escorted out of the building by police after the meeting was called off amid loud cheers from the crowd gathered.

Prior to the meeting yesterday, the Minister was quoted urging the community to “come with an open mind, as to really analyzing why this really should be done, rather than relying on rhetoric that has been amped up in many sectors of this community”.

“That in my view represents a very significant minority of individuals who are not either wanting to listen or perhaps just need to get the facts and the data,” he said.

“We are preparing to do that this evening and put some humanity to this, through sharing with the community testimonials of some of the people that would be affected by such a change.”

His hopes were dashed within minutes of attempts to address the audience when the protest broke out and drowned out the Minister.

No date has been set for another meeting yet.

By Ceola Wilson

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