Information Officer I (Ag.)
Department of Information and Public Relations
Eighty (80) persons received their certificates of naturalisation and can now be registered as British Overseas Territories Citizens (BOTC).
The new citizens 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 officiated by the Governor His Excellency Augustus A. Jaspert earlier today.
Governor Jaspert said it was great pleasure for him to hand over Certificates of Naturalisation to the 80 persons who have made their home in the British Virgin Islands. He said that it also gave him a great deal of personal satisfaction to be part of an event where persons are committing themselves loyally to new ties which will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
The Governor 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, Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie addressed the recipients and reiterated the importance of unity to the development of the British Virgin Islands and the Caribbean as a whole.
Premier Fahie said, “I want to reiterate that unity is strength, and I am a firm believer that the Caribbean has not reached its full potential as yet, because we do not understand that our strength is in each other. I am predicting that the Caribbean will be one of the greatest little nations in the coming future when we learn that we have more things in common than what we have in terms of our differences.”
The event was chaired by the Registrar General Mrs. Stephanie Benn who urged the recipients to take care of their certificates, as replacements are not easily obtainable.
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, Governor Jaspert and Premier Andrew A. Fahie (Photo credit: GIS/ Franklin Skerritt)