By Colene A. Penn [GIS]
Fifty-two persons received their certificates of naturalisation and are now British Overseas Territories Citizens.
His Excellency the Governor Mr. John S. Duncan, OBE presided over the Naturalisation Ceremony today at Government House and distributed the certificates to the new citizens. He congratulated them on “marking a key milestone in their quest for British Citizenship”.
Governor Duncan said, “To my mind this is a highly enriching process from which you as individuals and the BVI as a Territory all gain.”
He added, “The controlled intermingling of cultures, ways of thinking, knowledge and skills, if properly managed, brings with it very clear and tangible benefits and rewards to our community.”
His Excellency encouraged recipients to maintain their commitment to the Virgin Islands stating, “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.”
The Governor said, “As upright citizens you will need little reminding of the absolute prerogative to maintain cohesion in our society and the role that each one of us can play and the contribution we can make.”
Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE congratulated the new citizens and asked them to embrace all that is important to the Virgin Islands.
Premier Smith said, “As a member of our ‘One BVI’ family, and having lived in the Territory for many years, I know that you have come to appreciate what is important to Virgin Islanders and who we are as British citizens. You have made the conscious decision to become an intimate part of who we are, and we embrace you.
The Premier added, “I firmly believe that you have decided to take this bold step today because, bottom-line, you are committed to what we have here; to what we are doing to build a better Virgin Islands; and who we are as a people.”
Premier Smith encouraged the recipients to guard their newly adopted citizenship by continuing to be a model member of the Virgin Islands community.
He said, “Continue to uphold the laws of this land and help to safeguard our borders. Continue to be good ambassadors at all times, whether you are interacting with our tourists or each other. We are ‘One BVI’, and you are integral to our success in strengthening our identity as an innovative and resilient Territory. ”
Registrar General Mrs. Stephanie Benn, in chairing the proceedings, spoke on the “Joy of Giving” and encouraged persons to continue to give back to the society. Mrs. Benn urged the recipients to take care of their certificates and not to laminate them, as they will be needed on various occasions to show their status.
Following the distribution of their naturalisation certificates at the ceremony, 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 which point they officially became citizens. They then joined hands and sang “Reach Out and Touch – Somebody’s Hand”.
Naturalisation is a process under the British Nationality Act of 1981 by which persons can become citizens of the Virgin Islands. Naturalised citizens become British Overseas Territories Citizens. As such, they may obtain a Virgin Islands passport and are eligible for a United States visa waiver. They can also apply to register as a British citizen of the United Kingdom.
The 52 recipients of Certificates of Naturalisation at British Overseas Territories Citizen on 5th May are:
1. Camesha Timesha Arington
2. Patricia RoseMarie Bartley-Cills
3. Rosmonde Blemur-Lloyd
4. Shurn R. A. Browne
5. Fitzroy Bruce
6. Tanya Nevine Cassie-Parker
7. Amia Netasia Thereze Chalwell
8. Johanna Christopher Garcia
9. Juana N. Claxton
10. Martha Collymore
11. Triston Rashid Creque
12. Kevin Jarvin Williams
13. Jana Debique
14. Carol Cheryl Doras
15. Roger St. Hope Edmondson
16. Michele Valerie Lucinda Saint-Edmondson
17. Faustino Freeman Cotes
18. Troy Miguel Graham
19. Ayoka Howard Greenaway
20. John James Greenwood
21. Jesus Ramon Guerrero Rabsatt
22. Shevon Sera-Lee Jo-Anna Gumbs
23. Aurelia Berkeley Hanley
24. Jeiny Vinzen
25. Shakilla Delia Tishell Hanley
26. Kamica N.R. Harris
27. Philip Tyrone Hines Jr.
28. Jacqueline L. Jacob
29. Alma Alexandra James
30. Pierra John
31. Fedelia J. John Baptiste
32. Elmita Venita Legair
33. Ralph Birdie Legair
34. Shaheba Natasha Levons
35. Paulette Mercer
36. Marcel Patty Ann Mittelholzer
37. Debbie Mondesir
38. Luis Emilio Peguero Veloz
39. Earl Michael Prescott
40. Alfanzo Armando Richards
41. Yunis Richards Juan
42. Yiransy Richards Martinez
43. Laura Judith Quashie-Walwyn
44. Estefani Consuelo Ramirez
45. Cuthbert Kelson Robinson
46. Rushedo A. Robinson
47. Bhojwatie Singh
48. Rayan Ricardo Smith
49. Angeline Adelphia Stevens
50. Myron Miriam Stevens
51. Leonie Elethia Taylor
52. Patricia Thimodant