Laurgia Cherabelle Mabika-Benjamin
Sekani Tevis Claxton
Judy Lillia Jeremiah
Sharlene Shanel Pond
Ranney Anderson Richard
Rushedo Aneive Robinson
Loreta Lindor De Samuel
Minutes after being registered as a British citizen, Javier Smith was already making big plans to take advantage of his new status.
A Jamaica native who has spent most of his life in the Virgin Islands, Mr. Smith is now applying to United Kingdom universities to study for his law degree. Since a British passport will allow him to travel and live freely in the Unite
Kingdom, he has plenty of options.
“It’s between Bristol and London: I haven’t made up my mind as yet,” he said.
The 20 registrants, who had previously been naturalised as British overseas territory citizens, were registered for British citizenship under the British Nationality Act 1981.
The ceremony took place last Thursday morning at Government House, with entertainment from the soulful harmonies of vocal musical group Three G’s.
“I was very please to be a citizen of the BVI as well, and now the UK,” said Feroza Kartick, a Guyana native who has lived in the VI for 20 years. “I know I would pledge my alle- giance to both countries.”
Although she considers the VI her home, she will apply for a British passport next.
“It will make life a bit easier for travelling,” she said.
Ms. Kartick and her fellow registrants, after receiving their certificates, took the affirmation of allegiance to the Queen, as well as the pledge of loyalty, in which they promised to give their loyalty to the UK, respect its rights and freedoms, uphold its democratic values, observe its laws faithfully, and fulfil their duties and obligations as British citizens.
Mr. Jaspert advised them not to take these commitments lightly, and urged them to stand as examples to others.
“As the Good Book reminds,‘You shall love the stranger as you were once strangers in the land,’” he said.
After handing out the certificates of registration, the governor emphasised the significance of the link between the VI and the UK.
“Even though the US is only a ferry ride away, people on these islands have chosen to remain British,” he said, adding, “Our economic success … is founded on the fact that we share a common legal system.”
The new registrants also will have an important role to play on the international stage, the governor said, calling on them to act as “ambassadors for your home base, the British Virgin Islands, where you have all put down roots, where you contribute to the better- ment of this community, … and where as we collectively seek to seize the opportunities of a global economy, that contribution will be increasingly valuable.”
It’s a challenge that Mr. Smith is more than willing to accept. “It’s a wonderful feeling,” he said. “I really appreciate it.”