In a word, Shadow Home Affairs Minister Walter Roban said the Progressive Labour Party (PLP) is “disappointed” by the defeat of the motion on immigration reform last night.

In a statement released today, Mr Roban said: “We are disappointed that the One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) refused an olive branch extended by the Progressive Labour Party to establish a Joint Select Committee on Bipartisan Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

“In taking this course of action, Premier Michael Dunkley and his fellow OBA Members of Parliament have collectively thumbed their noses to and ignored the wishes of a significant portion of our community. This current government does not represent anything that it was elected under and clearly has lost its way,” said Mr Roban.

“To the public, we, the Progressive Labour Party, continue to stand strong with you, and we urge the public to take every opportunity to show the OBA Government that you reject this proposed legislation. Bermudians must continue to contact their MPs and to make your views known, demanding that they reject the Immigration legislation that was tabled tonight.”

The urgent motion put forward by PLP MP Walton Brown, called for a joint select committee to deal with the contentious issue of immigration and report to Parliament in six months.

Mr Brown warned MPs of “growing and sustained unrest”. Following an extensive debate MPs voted along party lines – 18 OBA MPs voted against the motion, 14 PLP members voted for it.

Calling the issue “fundamentally divisive”, Mr Brown said the country’s stability was at stake. He urged MPs to exercise leadership on an issue that’s “tearing this country apart”.

Premier Michael Dunkley, the last to speak on the issue before the vote said: “We believe in the approach we are taking and we won’t stop listening to the people even if the Opposition wants to threaten action at all times.

“The people of Bermuda — although some may be frustrated, they understand. President JF Kennedy challenges: ‘We cannot negotiate with people who say what is ours is ours and what is yours is negotiable’.”

By Ceola Wilson