The Reverend Nicholas Tweed was greeted with a resounding round of applause after he won his legal challenge against the decision by Home Affairs Minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin not to renew his work permit.
The decision was handed down on Monday by Chief Justice Ian Kawaley, who also ruled that Rev Tween must now go through the work permit process again, and that his application must be considered by the Immigration Board and not the Minister.
He also attached the costs of this case to the Crown, which means that taxpayers will bear the costs to be paid out of the public purse.
Rev Tweed was later inundated with calls during a live interview on the Sherri Simmons talk show. “This is a momentary victory in a battle of a war that is not over,” he said.
“To the officers and members of St Paul AME, who have been deprived from the pulpit, I want to say thank you. To the union colleagues and to members of the public we want to say thank you. To all of the people who came out to support I say thank you, and a special thank you to lawyer Delroy Duncan whose legal acumen brought us to this.
“Enough information has come out now that people can see clearly what they could not see before. I hope all of the people in Government now own what they did,” he added.
“I hope that our people have been paying attention because for the past four year our Black leaders have been systematically targeted.” He concluded with an appeal urging Bermudians to vote in the next General Election.
Among the many congratulatory phone calls during the live interview was an email sent in by former Premier Dr Ewart Brown who wrote: “I have already sent my personal congratulatory message to Rev Tweed but I also wanted to say to Bermudians that today’s decision provides fuel for all of us who are engaged in battles with those in charge.
“Rev Tweed has shown us that we must fight to the very end because as my late mother used to say, ‘right is right and wrong is no man’s right’.”
While lawyers representing the Government maintained that the Minister’s decision was fair, Rev Tweed’s lawyers claimed that her decision was influenced by a “visceral negative attitude”.
Rev Tweed was accompanied by a host of supporters in a packed courtroom filled with church members, union leaders and several Progressive Labour Party MPs including Opposition Leader David Burt.
After meeting with church officials at St Paul AME, Rev Tweed said they will take legal advice on how the church will proceed with the work permit process.
- Bermuda Real File Photo