Do your own research to verify facts
Immigration, work permits and Bermuda status generated tremendous upheaval on the island this week.
But what do you know about the law, the defining pieces of our Constitution for democratic society?
It pays to out the real facts and that is something you can do yourself by researching.
Why is it important? Because then you can decide for yourself how you feel about any situation, be it voting, political, investment decisions or relationships.
This is your right in a free society and it will help you to make decisions that you are comfortable with.
Democracy thrives within a solid framework of laws and principles, designed, legislated and embodied into a country’s constitution.
This is for the good of the country, the integrity of its economy, the protection of its residents, the conduct of its governing bodies and judiciary, and most importantly of all, for the safeguarding of the rights of the individual to self-determination.
Making individual decisions requires factual data that addresses all facets of an issue.
Real facts backed up by credible verifiable data are the most important asset in any decision dialogue. Real facts may not be what your friends say, or second-hand information, or what is found exaggerated on social media or in some press reports. Neither are they what hyped politicians, or anyone with a self-interested bias, states as fact.
In a 1984 advertisement for the Wendy’s burger chain of restaurants, a wise and incredibly perceptive elderly lady said: “Where’s the beef?”
She was not fooled by the exaggerated definition of purported “terrific hamburgers.”
Today, exaggeration is worse than ever. We receive a unrelenting barrage of information from social media sites, and a storm of narrative from radio, television, tweets, and other sources.
In all this, what is important is knowing what the real facts are — what is true.
To achieve that, you should research issues yourself. Always, make an independent accurate assessment of any supposed actual fact told to you even if you consider the conveyor of the information trustworthy. Your independent verification allows you to completely disregard second-hand facts, fake news, biased half-truths, misinformation and in some cases, downright lies.
How can you, a Bermuda resident, locate, understand and use laws made for us?
The good news is it is easier today that it was back in 1999 when I attempted, at a low cost, to access a compilation of Bermuda’s laws.
Back then, Bermuda laws were mostly available in wizened volumes in local law libraries, or spending tedious hours scrolling through government register offices, and such like, with very little correlation between various kinds of legislation.
That has all changed, thanks to access to the internet and the inception of Bermuda Laws online — under the purview of the The Ministry Of Legal Affairs & The Attorney-General’s Chambers. You’ll find the site at http://www.bermudalaws.bm/SitePages/Home.aspx
This website is free to peruse. A number of other sites also contain links to Bermuda laws and articles relative to various aspects. The Bermuda Government upgraded its website, although it is not as easy to navigate. The link is
Bermuda Online, authored by Keith Forbes, does a fabulous job explaining any and all concepts regarding Bermuda laws in easy to understand layman’s language. You can find it at http://www.bermuda-online.org/legal.htm
Various law firms have contributed extensively detailed numerous white papers on facets of Bermuda laws — all available on their websites.
How does it all work? Let’s take a look at how to research two serious issues from this week, Bermuda status and immigration.
Bermuda Online has a lengthy explanation of the evolution of these Acts and amendments at http://www.bermuda-online.org/citizenship.htm
The Bermuda Government-mandated Acts concerned include: Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956, Bermudian Status Register Act 1992, the Bermudian Status By Birth Or Grant Register Amendment Act 1993 and its commencement day notice the same year.
Also consult the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Amendment Act from 1993, 1994, 2000, 2002 and 2007.
From these titles, you can wander over to the Bermuda laws online at http://www.bermuda-online.org/citizenship.htm. All legislative Acts, both annual and consolidated are there, listed alphabetically and available for download in pdf format to read and review later.
A good place to start is the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956.
Don’t forget to read all of the amendments, particularly the ones from 2007 onwards.
For an easier read, access Conyers Dill & Pearman publication, Bermuda Status and Permanent Residents’ Certificates — 2013, which can be found at https://www.conyersdill.com/publication-files/Pub_BDA_Bermuda_Status_and_PRC-0.pdf
In truth, everyone should read these Acts. They represent the ruling authorities of our country, are all relevant to our government, its conduct of the country’s business, and to our lives as well. You will be surprised — this is truth of law in action.
Now you know where to look and what to look for. The rest is up to you. Exercise your right to know, use your freedom of access to the truth in our laws.
During this year I will write more on our Constitution and how our laws work.
Martha Harris Myron CPA CFP JSM: Masters of Law — international tax and financial services. Pondstraddler Life, financial perspectives for Bermuda islanders with multinational families and international connections on the Great Atlantic Pond. Contact: email@example.com
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