It is time that those politicians whose only interest is re-election — and their supporters — stop their rhetoric and be honest and straightforward with everyone.

  • We are a territory and not a country.
  • We do not have a constitution; we have a Constitutional Order.
  • We cannot grant or deny citizenship to anyone.

As a territory, we have a certain amount of control over ourselves. However, the United Kingdom Parliament can make laws that we must follow.

The issue of who is a Virgin Islander and the status of one who is born in this territory need to be intelligently discussed and settled. However, this is difficult to accomplish as some politicians and others are making it a personal issue like they do with many other issues.



We quite often hear ads that refer to Virgin Islanders and “other” belongers. This tells us that all Virgin Islanders are belongers.

You can obtain belonger status by descent or marriage. You can also obtain belonger status if you have acquired residency through immigration. Once residency is obtained, you can later apply for belonger status. Once you have obtained belonger status you can then apply for citizenship if you wish.

If you do apply for citizenship — which is granted by the governor, not the premier — you become not a VI citizen but a British overseas territory citizen with the right to live in the VI. You are then entitled to apply for a British passport.

After obtaining a British passport you have the privilege of applying for a UK passport. Once you obtain a UK passport you have become a British citizen. This makes you a citizen of two countries — your original country and the UK — plus the British overseas territories. Now you have three citizenships. However, nowhere in this process does one become a VI citizen or a Virgin Islander.


‘Shocking’ discovery

While trying to obtain information for this article at the Civil Registry and Passport Office, it was shocking and disturbing to discover that there are employees in that office who do not know the difference between a “British passport” and a “UK passport.”

The issue of who is a Virgin Islander could and should be a simple one if politicians were more interested in the territory and its people than in being re-elected every four years. Citizenship is determined by the constitution and the laws of a country, and since we are not a country the UK government determines our citizenship.


Virgin Islander

Now, the matter of who is a Virgin Islander is another issue that should be simple to resolve, so I will give you my personal opinion on this matter. But before I do, a little history may help you to understand my reasoning. During World War II, many people from the VI travelled to various Caribbean islands to seek employment to assist their families here. Some of those islands were Hispaniola, Cuba, Aruba and Curaçao. Some went to Antigua, but the majority went to St. Thomas. We must understand that the people of these islands were descendents of Africans — and in many instances African descendents and their slave masters.

During the latter part of the war and after the war, people of the Leeward Islands — especially St. Kitts and Nevis and Antigua — came to the VI for the same reason that Virgin Islanders travelled abroad.

Because of the above historical information, here is my suggestion as to what the definition of a Virgin Islander should be. Since the war ended in September 1945, my definition would be a simple one: “Anyone born in the Virgin Islands on or before Dec. 31, 1945; or anyone born after that date with at least one parent and two grandparents who are Virgin Islanders.”

Remember that we are not a “country,” so we cannot determine “citizenship.”