Minister of Home Affairs and Information, Wilfred Abrahams (right); and Chief Immigration Officer (Ag), Margaret Inniss (left) pose for a photograph with the youngest and oldest of Barbados’ newest citizens – 24-year-old Kausir Lahki and 90-year-old Samuel Ryan. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Minister of Home Affairs and Information, Wilfred Abrahams, has “no doubts or fears” that the 100 newly inducted citizens will make Barbados proud.

He acknowledged this today as he addressed the group at Solidarity House, Harmony Hall, St. Michael.

Minister Abrahams said: “Collectively, we have 100 persons representing 22 nationalities and you have chosen Barbados as your home. The ages range from 24 to 90…. Our Prime Minister is fond of talking about international citizens with Bajan roots and she keeps linking Barbados not just as a small country, but as an important player on the world stage.

“So, to have so many of you from so many diverse backgrounds, cultures and countries does my heart proud because it increases the diversity in Barbados, and this is what we are all about because the PM always says ‘many hands make light work’.”

Stating that he had always held the position that some people acquired citizenship as a right and some people are born into it, he noted that quite often the most dedicated and best citizen was “the one who has chosen to be a citizen”.  

Acknowledging that there was a special contract between such people and Barbados, he said while there were categories of Citizenship, such as ‘Citizenship by Descent’; ‘Citizenship by Naturalisation’ and ‘Citizenship by Marriage’, he called it ‘Citizenship by Choice’.  And, he congratulated them for “choosing Barbados”.

Minister Abrahams, who noted the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted Barbados and the world, said the tourism industry had suffered severely, but today was a sign that all was not lost.

“You have joined us in the process of rebuilding and rebranding our nation.  We value your various professions, ranging from painters, welders, hairdressers, climate scientist, professors, engineers, pilots, chefs, travel agents, radiographers and the list goes on … retired people. Your choice to be “Bajans” is a strong indicator that with this well-blended mix of diverse experiences, cultures and careers, Barbados will keep ‘punching above its weight’….  I am confident, that with you being the newest additions to the family of Barbadians, this is going to help and keep us ‘punching above our weight’.  As a family, we shall remain united and committed to the goal of rebuilding and rebranding Barbados as a safe, secure and choice destination,” he stated.

joy-ann.gill@barbados.gov.bb

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