Some 110 immigrants today pledged allegiance to Barbados and its flag as they took the oath to become citizens of this country.
The new citizens hailed from 14 countries, with the vast majority of those inducted during a ceremony at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre coming from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
From this group, 48 came from Guyana, 14 from St Vincent and the Grenadines, ten from Jamaica and nine each from St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.
The remainder listed Brazil, Dominica, Canada, Ghana, Ireland, Lebanon, Nigeria and the United States as their countries of origin.
The ceremony came as the country approaches the climax of its 50th anniversary celebrations, and Chief Immigration Officer Wayne Marshall described the new Barbadians as a gift to the country.
“Today you join our society and add your imagination, creativity, innovation, culture, language, experience and so much more.
“As we celebrate our 50th year of Independence, we are providing 110 new citizens to contribute to the development of the Barbadian society . . . I cannot think of a more fitting gift for the Immigration Department to give to Barbados for the 50th anniversary,” Marshall said.
Over the past five years more than 4,500 applications for citizenship have been approved, including approximately 3,000 from CARICOM member states.
Minister with responsibility for Immigration Senator Darcy Boyce urged the new citizens to embrace all things Barbadian, including the “quarrelling”, but to do it “for the well-being of this nation of ours”.
He added that the integration of various cultures into the Barbadian landscape had helped build a “very rich” heritage.
“This year as we celebrate our Golden Jubilee anniversary of Independence, we acknowledge that one of the main factors that defines Barbados as a country is that harmonious mix of cultures that have created a very rich Barbados heritage that visitors and locals enjoy today,” Boyce said, while urging the new citizens to maintain “the highest character” and integrity.
With Bibles in hand, the smiling inductees recited the pledge before being presented with their certificates of citizenship. (MM)