Uighurs are only four of 9,932 non-Bermudian workers

Posted by on Nov 7, 2010 in Opinion | 2 comments

By LaVerne Furbert, The Workers Voice

IN my opinion those Bermudians, including the “Shadow Minister for Everything” are way off-base when they complain that the Government is doing nothing to help Bermudians find employment.

LaVerne Furbert

I feel it is incumbent on me to set the record straight for those many Bermudians, and some non-Bermudians, regarding the Uighurs.

We’ve heard Bermudians, and some non-Bermudians talking non-stop on talk radio about the Uighurs, complaining that these four men are taking jobs from Bermudians.

The fact of the matter is that according to the 2009 Employment Survey results, there were a total of 39,520 jobs in Bermuda.  9,932 of those jobs were filled by non-Bermudians.

Bermudians should be questioning where those 9,932 non-Bermudians are working and from whence they came.

We know where the Uighurs came from before entering Bermuda, but do we know where the other 9,932 non-Bermudians came from before entering Bermuda?

I also hear Bermudians complaining that the Government is doing nothing to help them to secure employment. This is another lie. The Government, through the Department of Labour, offers an employment service.

At that department, Bermudians are assisted with the preparation of a resumè and the development of skills required to participate in a successful interview.

Bermuda Wired File image courtesy Fox News

Additionally, the Minister of Labour, Col. Burch has closed certain categories of employment to non-Bermudians, including cleaners and landscape gardeners.

However, as I see it, the owners of such companies would rather hire non-Bermudians, in particular those from Portugal and the Azores to fill those positions rather than Bermudians.

The other thing that Col. Burch has done to assist Bermudians, is to require employers to contact the BIU to see if we have on file any Bermudians looking for employment.

But the problem is that many of those Bermudians who are presently unemployed do not have the advertised skills that the employer requires.

Just today, an employer contacted the BIU looking for a “Skilled Landscape Gardener”.

Senator Michael Dunkley (U.B.P.)

According to the employer, “the successful applicant must have a recognized qualification or at least three years experience in soft and hard landscape installations.

In addition, the applicant should be able to supervise a crew on the job site, must be fit, energetic and not afraid to work hard.”

The employer has reminded would-be be applicants that his company has a drug free policy.

I believe that few of the unemployed Bermudians, in particular, those who register with the BIU have the required skills asked for by that particular employer.

The fact of the matter is, most landscape companies ask for the same skills, and most, if not all, have drug free policies.

The “Shadow Minister for Everything” , who is also the Opposition Leader in the Senate was quoted in The Royal Gazette on October 14th in three separate articles as the Shadow Minister of Tourism, the Shadow Minister of Labour and Immigration and the Shadow Minister of Public Safety, describing the Uighurs as “pawns of other people”.

I wonder what people the “Shadow Minister for Everything” was talking about. One thing is for certain, rather than his leader, Kim Swan, worrying about the leadership contest within the PLP, he should be worrying about his own leadership position.

It wouldn’t surprise me if the UBP changed its constitution to allow a senator to be the leader of their party.

When I heard that the Uighurs had been given jobs in the private sector, I wondered if the “Shadow Minister for Everything” had become a humanitarian as well, and had employed them.

Had he done so he would no longer need to ask “what is going to happen to them as a result of their Port Royal jobs being terminated?”

If Senator Dunkley has hired the Uighurs we know that they will be well taken care of not exploited as so many other migrant workers are.

Everyone in Bermuda should know that the situation with the Uighurs is unique and anyone who criticizes the company that has employed them or the government for assisting these four stateless men should be ashamed of themselves.

Bermudians should know that if the Uighurs are working, although this fact will not make them Bermudians or voters, it will make them taxpayers just as every worker in Bermuda is a taxpayer, whether they are Bermudian or non-Bermudian.

In my opinion it is time for those Bermudians who are unemployed and are lacking the required skills to fill the numerous jobs that are available, to get the required skills.

It is interesting that of the 1,700 Bermudians who are unemployed, that is, according to the Department of Statistics, 905 are persons between the ages of 16 and 24.

When I see those figures, it is evident that the majority of the unemployed Bermudians are unskilled, especially in light of the fact that the school leaving age is now 18.

I believe that it is time for Bermudians to rethink their animosity towards the Uighurs and replace that feeling with gratitude.

We should all remember the hymn “If I can help someone along the way, then my living will not be in vain.” Bermuda has helped four men along the way.

*Pick up your copy of The Workers Voice at People’s Pharmacy, the B.I.U. gas station, B.I.U. headquarters, or other fine stores.


  1. LaVerne always puts up a good defense and I see her point here.

    We dont talk about the other workers who are foreigners who are taking the jobs.

    • You mean Senator Furbert?

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