Assistant Information Officer
Department of Information & Public Relations
Thirty-nine (39) persons are British Citizens after having been previously naturalised as British Overseas Territories citizens.
The new citizens received their certificates of naturalisation at a ceremony held on Tuesday October 8 and recited the Oath of Allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen and the Pledge of Loyalty to the United Kingdom (UK) .
His Excellency the Governor August J.U. Jaspert presided over the ceremony and congratulated the new citizens on their journey. He acknowledged their commitment in taking this decisive step to make the Virgin Islands their home outlined the many benefits to which they are now entitled including jobs, pursuing studies in the UK as well as entry to the United States under the visa waiver programme.
The Governor further encouraged the new citizens to grab opportunities with both hands, but to also uphold the values of the community of which they are now a part.
“The new freedom you would now enjoy also comes with new responsibilities. Responsibilities to think about the community of which you have now joined, to uphold what we call our shared British values, courtesy, respect and concern for others less fortunate than ourselves in society,” Governor Jaspert added.
Meanwhile, Registrar General, Mrs. Stephanie Benn congratulated and welcomed the newest British citizens. She encouraged the recipients to treat their certificates with special care and highlighted the importance of the day.
Mrs. Benn said, “Today is a significant moment for all, as we are gathered here to recognise and welcome all 39 British Territory Citizens through naturalisation as British Citizens. This ceremony confirms your registration as a British Citizen”.
British citizenship was extended to all British Overseas Territories (BOT) citizens as a result of the British Overseas Territories Act of 2002. Persons naturalised as BOT citizens following the enactment of the Act on May 21, 2002, do not automatically become British citizens but are eligible to register as British citizens.
The extension of British citizenship to British Overseas Territories citizens was part of the UK Government’s 1999 White Paper entitled Partnership for Progress and Prosperity, which outlined the UK’s policy in respect of the Overseas Territories.