Information Officer I (Ag.)
Department of Information and Public Relations
Eighty (80) persons received their Certificates of Naturalisation today March 26.
The new citizens who can now be registered as British Overseas Territory’s citizens (BOTC) recited the Oath of Allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen, as well as a Pledge of Loyalty to the British Virgin Islands at a ceremony held at Government House.
The ceremony was officiated by His Excellency the Governor Augustus J.U Jaspert who stated that it was a great pleasure for him to hand over Certificates of Naturalisation to the 80 persons who have made the British Virgin Islands their home.
Governor Jaspert said, “Today is your day, marking a key milestone in your quest for British Citizenship. Many of you will have harboured this ambition for years. I hope and imagine that all of you are feeling a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction in attaining this citizenship status, conferring as it does the right to carry a BVI passport and to register as a British Citizen for a full British passport.”
Governor Jaspert also stressed the importance of the commitment to the BVI now reinforced with the acquisition of nationality.
He added, “All of you will of course already have demonstrated a commitment to the British Virgin Islands over many years in diverse and varied fields of activity, reflecting the BVI’s own rich and developing community. You might think it unnecessary for the Governor to encourage you to maintain that commitment and, with nationality secured, not to lose sight of the responsibilities we all share not merely to our families but to the wider interests of society.”
Meanwhile, Acting Premier, Dr. the Honourable Natalio Wheatley delivered remarks on behalf of Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew Fahie.
Honourable Natalio Wheatley congratulated the recipients on their new citizenship and reminded them of the privileges, benefits, opportunities and responsibilities. “It is your responsibility to defend the Virgin Islands figuratively and even perhaps literally,” he added.
The event was chaired by the Registrar General, Mrs. Stephanie Benn who urged the recipients to take proper care of their certificates.
Naturalisation is a process under the British Nationality Act of 1981 and the Virgin Islands Constitution Order of 2007 by which persons can become citizens of the Virgin Islands. Naturalised citizens become British Overseas Territory Citizens and as such they may obtain a Virgin Islands passport and are eligible for a United States visa waiver; they can register and vote in elections in the Virgin Islands; and apply to register as a British Citizen of the United Kingdom.
Photo 1: 80 Recipients, His Excellency the Governor Augustus J.U Jaspert; Acting Premier, Dr. The Honourable Natalio Wheatley; Minister of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration Honourable Vincent Wheatley; Junior Minister of Tourism, Honourable Shereen Flax-Charles; Minister of Transportation, Works and Utilities, Honourable Kye Rymer; Permanent Secretary in the Deputy Governor’s Office, Mrs. Carolyn Stoutt Igwe (Photo credit: GIS/ Ronnielle Frazer)