Many of them have been living in Barbados far longer than many people born here have been alive. And this morning, with emotions ranging from happy, elated, overjoyed, to simply pleased and satisfied, they were among 200 individuals, who became new Barbadian citizens during a ceremony at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
Cordillia Douglas, who was born in St. Vincent but has lived here for the last 40 years, was among the happiest to whom Barbados TODAY spoke. She recalled first traveling to neighbouring Barbados on the invitation of her Bajan pen pal and falling in love with the island.
“I am very proud of it, I am very happy to be a citizen at last,” she said when asked how it felt to be a Barbadian.
“My son Michael was born here, he is very happy for his mother.”
Douglas said while there were others in the Caribbean who had horror stories of their visits to Barbados, she always felt at home here.
“The people are nice and many encouraged me to stay and to file my papers and here is where I am today,” she added, calling this morning’s ceremony “nice”.
Her advice to other Caribbean nationals hesitant about visiting the island to “come and see for yourselves”.
“I always tell people don’t just believe what other people say, you have to come and experience it.
Another Vincentian, 75-year-old Simeon Hoyte, has been living here even longer than Douglas — 42 years.
With the assistance of an immigration officer and the aid of a walking stick, Hoyte proudly shook the hands of Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave and Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.
He simply said he felt “all right” about becoming a Barbadian and saw Barbados as his home.
Nazir Bham, who was born in India, but has resided here for 20 years, said he felt “very good” that he was now able to call himself a citizen of the island.
“I have been wanting this for a long time,” he said, noting that some other family members were also living here. The 200 citizens inducted this morning were born in 17 countries. (SC)