Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bermuda: Update--Decision to Refuse Work Visas Re: Rape, Murder of Canadian Involved Dissent

According to The Latin American Tribune, Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy’s decision to deny a Canadian overseas film crew temporary work permits is now being carried by international media worldwide. 

The news was distributed initially by The Associated Press, who began their report by saying, “Bermuda has denied temporary work permits to a film crew working on a documentary about the unsolved slaying of a teenage Canadian tourist in 1996.”

The filmmakers had planned to travel to Bermuda to film a documentary concerning the rape and murder of  Rebecca Middleton, 17, but the refusal of work visas seemingly has prompted considerable media coverage.

The young Canadian was raped and killed while vacationing on the island, and the handling of the case has been widely criticized both locally and overseas.

COMMENT: In explaining the decision, Home Affairs Minister Fahy said: “After carefully and extensively assessing the matter, we recognized that there would be some potential reputational risks to Bermuda associated with the ultimate airing of this documentary."

Shadow Minister Walter Roban vigorously criticized the government's decision as an “affront to freedom of expression,” and called on the Minister to reverse his decision and grant temporary work permits to the film crew.

Mr. Roban was quoted as saying: “Like most Bermudians, the thought of a potentially reputation-damaging documentary being produced is not a comfortable one. Despite this, we are very concerned at the manner in which these documentary producers have been refused entry into Bermuda while trying to tell this important and tragic story."

It should be emphasized that the 1996 rape and murder remains unsolved after so many years.

Logic would suggest that the Bermudians would welcome the film crew in the interest of identifying the assailant who remains free.

“In their possible haste to avoid negative publicity about this bungled case, the government has potentially created a larger PR problem for Bermuda,” added Mr. Roban.

This report will be updated as new information becomes available.