Second District Representative Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull is calling on residents to stage another protest against what is increasingly becoming government’s controversial amendments to the Immigration and Passport Act.
Turnbull made the call during a community meeting held by members of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition in East End/Long Look on Thursday.
He called for the protest to happen on Monday, June 3 when the second and third readings for the amendments are expected to be in the House of Assembly. Notably, legislations require three readings before they can pass in the House.
“I am going to invite each and every one of you in the public [and] those of you online to come to the House of Assembly … because your voices must be heard,” Turnbull said while referring to the amendments which are being made so government can ‘legally’ proceed to regularise select expatriate residents.
The second term legislator said he believes the Premier Andrew Fahie administration has a ‘hidden agenda’ for what he (Turnbull) believes to be rushed attempts to make the amendments.
“There is something behind these amendments that I need the answers to,” Turnbull said.
“The truth is, the Cabinet and the legislation that exist in accordance with
Amendments will affect BVI for generations
Turnbull further said he believes the amendments will have a negative impact on the territory for generations.
“They are five amendments [to the Immigration and Passport Act] which will change the very way we operate in this territory that affects our social, our educational, our economic development; everything,” he said.
Turnbull also said he believes the recent public meetings held by the Premier on the regularisation process was a mere exercise to appease residents and not necessarily to address their concerns. He said government was ‘hearing’ those concerns but not ‘listening’.
“There have been various comments from you the public stating your displeasure in how this thing is done and I think that they (the government) are ‘hearing’. There’s been a meeting at the college, there has been one in Jost Van Dyke, there’s been one in Virgin Gorda … I am only saying ‘hearing’ because it’s back on the [House’s] order paper for Monday for the second and third reading,” Turnbull said.
The Second District Representative said it would not be wise of any government to follow through on what he described as a flawed and unclear process; especially after hearing the uproar and dissent from members of the public.
He further challenged the Premier and his government stating: “If you are willing to risk 5,400 [persons] for 15,000, go ahead.”
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