LETTER: Gemma Handy clears up misconceptions and inaccuracies surrounding reports of her immigration status and renewal of work permit


Letter to the editor,


I wish to clarify a few misconceptions and inaccuracies surrounding reports of my immigration status and application for a renewal of my work permit.


Firstly, I started the renewal application process before my previous permit expired. Collating certain documents to accompany it took several weeks – plus additional time when I went to submit it and was told of new rules requiring additional documentation. By the time it was officially handed over to the Labour Department, it had indeed expired for the reasons above. For the duration of the process, I have been in constant dialogue with the department and twice updated time extensions in my passport to allow me to remain in the country.


The day I was informed I could not work until the renewal had been approved, I left the office and did not return. (Due diligence had clearly been undertaken previously when my original permit was processed and rules on working while one is being renewed remain ambiguous depending on who you speak to.)


Not once did I request ‘special treatment’. I abided by the mandate to stay home – unpaid. I called the Labour Department a few times to check on progress. I was consistently told it was being processed and wasn’t ready yet. (The minister has been misinformed that I was told permits were being laminated in bulk; whoever was told this, it wasn’t me.)


Not once did I request anyone’s assistance. It wasn’t a secret that I was at home waiting for my permit to be renewed. The fact that some people thought this was suspicious is purely their view, not mine – and I am not going to speculate as to why they would reach this conclusion. I also have no reason to believe that anyone suggesting such is connected to my employer; not a single person at Observer has communicated anything of the sort to me.


To anyone who asked me about it personally, I gave the same response: I told them I had every confidence it would be approved. I was informed yesterday that it was ready for collection; it took three months to process which appears to be standard.


Not once did I suggest there was any attempt to silence the press. There are far easier and subtler ways to attempt to silence journalists than something so overt.


I have the greatest respect for the laws of this land which has been my home for many years and of which my parents have been proud citizens.


Frankly, I am still a little aghast my personal business became the subject of news reports – twice. So it is with great reluctance I feel I need to respond. As so often in life, the truth is way more banal.


Finally, thank you to everyone who has spoken out in support of my work. Journalism – everywhere in the world – is tough slog, poorly paid and generally thankless. As I have told everyone I have ever helped train, we do it because we are driven by something bigger than us. For that, you are very much appreciated.


Gemma Handy

Also Read:

Gemma Handy’s work permit has been approved says Labour Minister

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  1. Wasnt it the same jokey paper that you work for provide traction in the first place for your “personal business” to be the subject of news report?
    By the way why arent you working at a mainstream media outfit in the UK like the BBC, Guardian or even The Sun?

  2. That is a much better photo of her. Wayyy less scary-looking. If ´´Journalism is poorly paid´´ then imagine how the Observer employees who were let go must feel knowing that Gemmas was kept on instead of them who were hired BEFORE Gemma.

  3. HMMMMMM:So because someone was hire after another. That person who came into the workplace last. Must be the first to be let go. What world do you live in? Have you ever managed any businesses. Perhaps if you did. You thought processes would be different. What if she has those attributes. The Company is looking for.

  4. Fact: she was late with her application. That is on her. It is not the immigration department fault that she was late with her necessary paperwork.

  5. When I had to bring in expacts it is I that had to arrange for the workpermit for them. What I learned here is that she is here by her parents who she says are citizens of this country. Therefore I assume she never came here on wokpermit. She was here aparently on a tourist visa and went looking for a job. Again the Labour department therefore should have never issued the first workpermit. But I gues the skin color mattered in this case.

    • Precisely why you should never assume. She came here on a work permit over a decade ago

      • If so then that certainly was not for the same employer. And the law is you have to leave and apply from overseas before your can change from one employer to another. All I see here is breaches of our workpermit policy. And to me the skin color has lots to do about that.

  6. Folks, Gemma is not a just come. She worked with Observer Media Group as the overall Editor when Winston Derick was still alive and in charge. And she did have the proper work permit at the time. Stop giving the impression that she is a just come.
    Ken Richards

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