The Ministry of Home Affairs would neither confirm or deny whether in fact recent raids by Immigration Officers, including the home of Independent MP Shawn Crockwell, turned up an illegal worker working without a work permit.
In a statement released on Wednesday, a spokesperson told Bermuda Real: “This matter is under investigation and the Ministry of Home Affairs will not provide any further comment.”
The Ministry also maintained that there was “no ministerial influence or interference” with regard to the Department of Immigration’s raid on Mr Crockwell’s home.
The former One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) MP resigned from the ruling part last Friday. Speaking on the Motion to Adjourn, he claimed the OBA was targeting both his business and personal life.
A spokesperson said the department proceeded “in the normal course of its operations” the same as it does for “many investigations”, “one of which was raised as a matter of concern by MP Shawn Crockwell in the House of Assembly on July 1st”.
The Ministry statement also confirmed that Mr Crockwell’s home was the fourth of four properties raided in connection with an ongoing investigation.
On that note, the spokesperson said: “The Ministry of Home Affairs can confirm that in this instance, over the course of several weeks, the DOI received multiple complaints from an anonymous complainant about a person who was allegedly working illegally, without a work permit.
“As such, the DOI acted in accordance with its normal investigation protocols, one of which is to act on information which is reasonable and where it appears there may be a case to answer.”
Since Mr Crockwell’s resignation last week, it was also reported that the investigation was launched, as a result of information alleging that a domestic worker was working in four homes, who reportedly did not have a work permit.
“The Department takes its investigations very seriously, as it has a responsibility to the people of Bermuda to protect the borders from illegal workers,” the spokesperson said.
“It was alleged that this individual was undertaking cleaning duties at various residences. And, since the DOI has, in the past, caught persons on the spot working illegally in Bermuda, Immigration Officers visited four residences the island on different dates and at varying times of the day. MP Crockwell’s residence was the fourth residence visited during this investigation.
“The powers to enter and search residences are in accordance with the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956, Section 67. This reference was shared with MP Crockwell during his line of questioning of the Officers. And when Immigration Officers spoke with MP Crockwell they also advised him that he was not the subject or focus of the investigation.
The statement concluded: “While we deeply regret any misunderstandings that may have occurred as to the motives behind this investigation, we can confirm that the actions of the officers were in response to the complaint and that there was no Ministerial influence or interference in this matter.”
By Ceola Wilson