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BERMUDA DELEGATION EXPLORES THE AZORES

Following yesterday’s Memorandum of Understanding signing between the Governments of Bermuda and the Azores, Premier Michael Dunkley and the Bermuda delegation engaged in a full slate of activities to see the cultural and natural landmarks of the Island and to learn about the Azores’ business and technology sectors.

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BORN, RAISED AND EDUCATED IN BERMUDA...BUT CANNOT CALL IT HOME

Dear friends and fellow members of the Bermuda community,

I have never been the type of person to express political thoughts through Facebook or any other forms of social media but with what has been occurring in this community as of late, I can no longer hold back the views and emotions that I have had for many years now.

Did you know that I am only able to reside in Bermuda due to the fact that I attend Bermuda College? Every six months, I must apply in order be a resident and to be able to travel freely in and out of Bermuda. Without proof of me studying at Bermuda College, I wouldn’t be able to do these things and would be kicked out of the country. I graduate in two months...

My mother and father have been in Bermuda for 25 and 26 years respectfully. I was born in Bermuda, raised in Bermuda, and attended St. Johns Pre-School, Northlands Primary, Dellwood Middle and CedarBridge Academy. The opportunity to apply for a Permanent Resident Certificate (PRC) was presented to my father, but through a different and quite unfortunate circumstance.

As some may or may not know, this law was enacted in 2002 but in order to become a Permanent Resident of Bermuda, a cutoff date was established and had to be met. The cutoff date that was created was of July 31, 1989, and in order to become a PRC holder, one had to arrive in Bermuda before that date.

My father arrived here in December of 1989 and missed it by four months. As this was his case, his only option was to apply for PRC under Section 31B and was only able to remain in Bermuda and attain it on the behalf of his brother who attained PRC under Section 31A, as he has been here since 1981. When in this predicament under Section 31B, one is no longer able to pass this PRC down to their spouse or children and that is exactly where my difficult predicament comes into play.

Although I was born here, raised here and lived in Bermuda for my entire life, there is still that setback where I was born to Non-Bermudian parents. Although this may be the case and is thoroughly understood, it remains unjust for me to not be able to apply for PRC, Bermudian Status or at least be deemed as a Bermudian.

When confronted with different situations in high school, such as the time to apply for scholarships and universities, my only option was to abstain. After being an honor student throughout all four years of high school, after being accepted into Brock University, and after graduating as Vice President of the National Honors Society where I took part in many different actions and volunteer work within the community, my only option was to attend Bermuda College due to financial reasons and also in order to remain in Bermuda.

As stated, this in fact is the only way that I am able to reside in Bermuda. If not at Bermuda College and without proof that I am a full-time student there, I have no right to reside in Bermuda. But the question is, where will I go? I am scheduled to graduate in two months time and the question still remains, where will I go?

Bermuda is my home and Bermuda has always been my home. I want it to remain this way for the rest of my life. If given the chance to do this and if given the chance to finally be accepted by the community as a fellow Bermudian, which I am sure that I deserve just as much as every other Bermudian, I know with all of my heart that it will be more than worth it.

This will not only benefit me and my future family, but would also benefit the island of Bermuda. If the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Amendment 2016 is passed, I am sure that this opportunity would enable me and many others who are in similar predicaments to contribute towards this society with regards to many economical and social aspects.

These individuals have been here for 15 years, 20 years and more. These are individuals that have contributed to this society in many different ways. These are individuals that have dedicated more than half and if not their entire lives to this community. What makes them different? What makes them not as important or accepted when all that is trying to be accomplished is a being able to live a happy lifestyle?

I strongly believe that a comprehensive change should be made simply because of the fact that this isn’t thousands and thousands of individuals that are being talked about. As established, it is a very small minority within the public that would be able to apply.

Jobs will not be taken away from Bermudians as these individuals already have jobs. If anything, job opportunities would be created with this amendment as they would now have the chance of owning property and owning their own business. These individuals have been here for 20 or more years. These are not newly introduced people that are coming into Bermuda.

This is only a part of my story and struggle that I have experienced over the years. These are merely my views and opinions on this particular matter as all I am trying to do is bring not only peace and happiness to this society, but also understanding as I believe that looking at an issue from a different perspective or getting to know what it may be like in the shoes of another can make a difference.

If you have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to make them with a respectful approach as I am more than happy to respond.

Kevin Pacheco

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