Opposition Leader Marlon Penn is denying claims that members of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition are against the controversial ‘regularization’ programme because they dislike expatriates.
Penn said those claims came from the Andrew Fahie administration — the initiators of the programme.
He further said the rhetoric was designed to distract residents from the regularisation amendments that government plans to make to local Immigration laws next Monday.
Confusion and community segregation
The Opposition legislator argued that the regularisation initiative has created “confusion”, which has caused residents to develop a false perception of segregation within the territory.
“The BVI is made up of over 100 nationalities. Persons have been coming to the BVI for plenty of years making the BVI their home … Do not allow persons — non-Belongers, Belongers, residents — to allow you to create that division for their (the government’s) own personal political gain. [Do not believe claims] that, somehow, we — the members of the Opposition — do not like non-nationals, somehow we don’t want to give them their rights. That’s nonsense,” Penn said while speaking at a community meeting with members of the Opposition in East End on Thursday.
“We want to have a process that’s clear and fair, we need clarity in terms of what we are doing going forward.”
He continued: “Something like Immigration, which is normally a contentious topic, is something that you need more proper discussions. We normally would have formal meetings in the House where we would go through the details to make sure that there is proper engagement with the public after the first reading of the amendment. That never happened, as we all know, it came forward as a first, second, and third reading,” Penn stated.
In recent weeks, Premier Fahie postponed his ‘Road to Regularization’ programme. But to the surprise of a number of residents, amendments to the law that supports the programme has reappeared on the latest order paper of the House of Assembly.
The final readings for those amendments are scheduled for Monday’s June 3 sitting of the House.
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