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More Bajan-Brits ‘seeking Barbadian citizenship’

by Sheria Brathwaite
3 min read
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A top Barbados envoy to the UK has predicted a surge in citizenship applications from the Barbadian diaspora under a new Citizenship Act.

Deputy High Commissioner Mackie Holder told journalists that there is a huge demand for citizenship among third and fourth-generation Barbadians and anticipated that once the amendments come into force there will be a major uptick in applications.

Last amended in 1982, the Barbados Citizenship Act covers the acquisition, deprivation, and renunciation of Barbadian citizenship. Amendments to the law require changes to the Constitution of Barbados which sets down who may be a citizen.

Speaking during a courtesy call organised by the British High Commission, Holder said: “There’s definitely a big interest among various generations to get citizenship in Barbados and to return. As has been the case for a while, there is automatic citizenship for second-generation Barbadians. The issue that we are dealing with and that the Prime Minister has put on the table is citizenship for third- and fourth-generation Barbadians, and there’s a lot of interest in that.

“Almost always the first question you get when there’s an interaction with Barbadians in various communities is around citizenship for their grandchildren, their great-grands and so on, and I’m sure that whenever the legislation goes through Parliament that we are gonna see a surge of Barbadians of younger generations maybe taking up residence in Barbados.”

Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced in the Budget last month that the new legislation would be in place before year-end. “The draft has been prepared and is now the subject of commentary within [the] government. When it comes here, it will go to the Governance Committee for them to be able to reach out to the wider Barbados,” she said.

Mottley also said that 2021 indicated that the population stood at 269 090 with 25.6 per cent over 60 years old and 160 748 over 35 years. At this rate, she said, by 2050 one in every two Barbadians would be over 65.

Asked if the anticipated influx of new citizens could halt the decline of the population, Holder said it was a complex matter but the new citizens could contribute to the development of the country.

“At the end of the day, any numbers that are going into Barbados, especially if they have an affinity to Barbados, would help. But that is a much wider question. The Prime Minister has been dealing with that.

“How do we treat that? I believe that CARICOM [Caribbean Community] just formalised in a fuller way the movement of Caribbean people through the various countries. There are going to be some hard discussions. There will have to be some hard discussions as to how we get our population up to help drive the productivity in the country and the development of the country.”

Barbados TODAY’s Sheria Brathwaite was one of three journalists selected for a trip to London organised by the British High Commission. Today, we continue the series of articles from that trip.

 

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