Civil Registry and Passport Office
Photo Credit: Clifton Skelton/BVI Platinum News
A legislator and Member of the Opposition has called on Premier Hon. Dr. Orlando Smith to be firmed with the United Kingdom (UK) government surrounding the issue where persons, who are born in the BVI to parents from outside the BVI, find it difficult to obtain a passport upon attaining the age of 18.
"These children who are born in the BVI of parents who nationality was from outside the BVI, even though they still living in the BVI, and on reaching the age of 18 it is easy for them to get a Belonger´s card because that can be given by our government but in getting a passport it´s a task that most of them don´t seem to be able to overcome because from all that is said there is a constant shifting in the gold post and it is not ever clear to them on accomplishing that goal," Hon. Alvin Christopher, Second District Representative stated in the House of Assembly on Thursday July 26.
He said attempts must be made for a solution to the problem.
"I believe the time has come for us to sit seriously with the UK government, and I am calling on the Premier to take a leading role in this to work out a guideline...Some understandable process that these people can reach," he stated.
Christopher further stated that is indeed a tough process for those persons.
"...You reach them at 21,22 and many of them or some of them don´t understand how they go about getting a passport in the country in which they were born...At the age of 18 they become adults and in many ways they are not entitled to a passport in the country which they may have one under the protection of their parents because they are now on their own...There is a long waiting time, sometimes they have to talk about going through naturalizing, paying a great sum of money to naturalize and all those stuff...I think the UK should be clear, and we should have a clear mandate and understanding on what it takes to get a passport for these people who I consider deprived under our constitution."
He said, "in my opinion it does not speak well of us, of anyone when you have for someone who born in a country through a process...Reaching 18 you should be able to get a passport in the country that you are born....Premier I think we need to take a firm position to the UK government and have this matter clarified once and for all. You got my support on this matter."
In response, Premier Smith said further discussions on the matter are necessary.
"This government has responsibility and the British government through the Governor has another responsibility, and I think further discussions and continued cooperation should happen I am sure this problem could be sorted out," Premier Smith stated.