In the second naturalisation ceremony in two weeks, 27 people became the newest group of British overseas territory citizens in the Virgin Islands after taking the oath to complete the process last Thursday at Government House.

They followed a group of 24, who underwent the same process on May 24.

During last Thursday’s ceremony, Governor John Rankin offered congratulations to the new citizens and encouraged them to maintain a commitment of good citizenship and allegiance to the territory, according to Government Information Services.

“As you recite the oath and pledge of loyalty, please reflect both on the opportunities and also the responsibilities to your new country of citizenship, and your responsibility to your fellow countrymen and women,” he said.

Deputy Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley urged the group to unite with each other and the rest of the community.

“Despite the fact that you come from diverse backgrounds, we are all united in our love for the BVI,” he said. “You would not have chosen to make BVI your home if you did not enjoy being here. I challenge you to practise that unity and fight against division.”

Registrar General Stephanie Benn, who led the ceremony, urged the citizens to exercise kindness and to make the VI a better place in a rapidly changing world.

Naturalisation is a process under the British Nationality Act of 1981 and the 2007 Constitution by which people can become citizens of the VI, according to GIS.

Naturalised citizens become British overseas territory citizens, and as such they may obtain a VI passport and are eligible for a United States visa waiver.

They can also register and vote in elections in the VI and apply to register as a British citizen of the United Kingdom.