Editorial: A coming together

POSTED: 10/27/11 12:17 PM

Concerns expressed in parliament about whether the minister of labor can grant a work permit to someone who was residing here illegally has been answered by the fact that people who got residence permits under the Brooks Tower Accord program will be allowed to renew those permits and continue in their employment. This is the sentiment we get from a joint statement issued by the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor. Actually it might be better stated that in lieu of delivering the answer the two ministers have pressed ahead and further muddied the waters about this whole situation.
What we hope is that the legal advisors in both ministries have deeply researched the matter and are not leading the minister’s down a wrong path. We especially expect the fact that the Minister of Justice is a lawyer by profession will mean that he’s also opened the law books and taken note of the spirit and letter of the law that was quoted by Independent Member of Parliament Frans Richardson.
Another thing we’d like to raise now that the ministers have done something together is to ask about the plans to revamp the immigration system and merge the residence and work permits. Is that still on table or do the two ministers believe that they’ve brought the administration in their departments close enough together in the Brooks Tower Advisory Committee that the necessary checks and balances are in place? Maybe the committee should be maintained with a name and task change that allows it to provide advice on synchronizing the process of issuing both the residence and work permits.

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