Today should be an interesting day.
I understand there is a demonstration being held today at the House of Assembly for 1230hrs to protest the way the Uighur detainees have been brought to Bermuda. The organisers of this demonstration have been at pains to stress that they are not against the Uighurs, but are protesting the way in which the decision was made.
In reaction to this, a counter-demonstration is being organised for the same time, but instead gathering at the Cabinet Office. This demonstration is being billed as supporting the decision to bring the Uighurs here.
This blog takes the position that it encourages active and critical participation in Bermuda’s politics, and to that degree I hope that there is a good turn-out for today’s demonstrations, as such activity is to the credit of our democracy. I look forward to reading about how it all turns out.
This blog is, without hesitation, in the support of those who are critical of how this decision was made. I feel that the decision was made not on humanitarian grounds and that describing it as such is a red herring and emotionally manipulative deflection. I believe that the way this was done was contrary to the Constitution, and unneccessarily so. For one thing, Dr. Brown and the Party at that, could have prevented much local backlash, and strengthened the argument for greater Bermudian powers, by putting this idea to the Party, Parliament and people, and appealed to the Governor to allow it. There still would have been opposition, and it is probable that the UK would have refused permission. However, Dr. Brown would have scored a moral victory of sorts, instead of the political own goal it seems to have achieved instead.
I understand that the Premier and Senator Burch are arguing that they have acted within the remit of the Immigration Act, but, not being a lawyer, I have trouble stomaching that argument, when I see the process and the issue being strongly within the realm of foreign affairs and outside the remit of the delegated authority that Bermuda does have for discussing economic issues with other countries.
Now that the Uighurs are here they should stay, but the way the decision was done needs protested. I am aware that there are some who are expressing racist, xenophobic and anti-islamic prejudice towards the Uighurs. It is likely they will also be joining the demonstration against the decision. That is unfortunate, and needs confronted. For one thing, they are two separate issues, despite the attempts of some to polarise the issue in such black and white terms.
Either way, everyone have fun, be careful, confront ignorance and generally exercise your democratic rights, either for or against the decision.