Progressive Labour Party Senate Leader Marc Daniels has called for the resignation of Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy as Opposition Senators vowed to boycott the Budget debate in the Upper House.
This after Senator Fahy issued a public apology for the Pathways to Status Bill withdrawn by the One Bermuda Alliance Government in the Lower House yesterday.
Conceding that he had misjudged the level of concerns of many Bermudians and the five-day protest demonstration that ensued he said: “There are many here in Bermuda that feel that they have been excluded, not just from the way the Bill was to be proceeded, but I believe it’s a wider issue than just immigration.”
But Senator Daniels in response said the Opposition will not participate in the Senate Budget debate as a result of the way the One Bermuda Alliance handled the Pathways to Status Bill and the many related issues attached to it. Essentially he said the Minister’s apology was not enough and he called for Senator Fahy’s resignation.
On the Senate Budget debate boycott, Senator Daniels asked: “What are we really achieving right now when the real work that needs to be done, as we have seen, is here in this country, is taking steps to work towards what is best for each and every Bermudian?
“Where is the focus and effort to make sure our Bermudians who seek opportunity overseas have a place in their country, can play a part in their country and contribute to their success? All I have seen is silence and contempt and disrespect from this government. How can we come to this table and actually pretend as if we are going to accomplish anything?
“This Budget and debating the Budget over the next week is not going to alleviate the pain, anger and hurt. There’s nothing that’s been stated that makes me feel that as a result of this Budget that I’m on a pathway to recovery or financial independence,” he added.
Later during the Motion to Adjourn Senator Daniels said: “We have an opportunity for us to try and work together, but we can’t work together in some fictitious, fake sense or pushing things under the carpet and pretending things are okay when they are not.”
Meanwhile, the Senate debate on the Budget is expected to continue through to Thursday evening.
• Full Statement by Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy:
“There are obviously people in this community that continue to hurt. That has been shown to be the case in the last couple of weeks.
“There are many here in Bermuda that feel that they have been excluded, not just from the way the Bill was to be proceeded, but I believe it’s a wider issue than just immigration.
“I hear a raft of issues: lack of opportunity in entry level international business, a feeling that children of Bermudians will not be given opportunity in the future. We have people in Bermuda who are long-term unemployed.
“This government is charged with tackling that issue. It remains my view that this government can do better communicating its plan for success.
“Despite what some may say that the government doesn’t listen, and this ministry doesn’t understand the community, I beg to differ.
“Where this government has fallen down is not communicating why some of the decisions have been made.
“When this government came into office, we were dealing with something that was very badly broken. I make no apology for doing everything we can to address that.
“What I do apologise for is that the way we go about things has not been as good as it could have been.
“It’s hurtful when people make accusations that we are not interested in Bermudians, and I say that as a father of three Bermudian children. I take it very personally for them not to have the opportunity for success in this country.
“I want people to understand in Bermuda that, as far as I’m able, no matter where I am, we will continue and I will push to make sure we move in a direction to help everyone.
“We will try to do our very best to bring along these individuals who feel they have not had an opportunity.”
By Ceola Wilson