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PICA grants largest number of naturalised citizenship

Thursday, December 14, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of National Security Robert Montague today presented a total of 47 men, women and children with official documents identifying them as naturalised Jamaican citizens, during a Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency's citizen (PICA) swearing-in ceremony.

At the ceremony held at the Police Officer's Club in Kingston, it was announced that the 47 were part of a total of 167 people who had received such status — the largest number at one time.

In his remarks, Montague stated that the ceremony was a commemoration of the PICA's 10 years of service. He said that nearly 30,000 people had been granted citizenship since the start of 2017.

However, this was the first time that the Agency had hosted a ceremony of this kind.

He welcomed the new naturalised Jamaicans on behalf of the Jamaican Government and outlined the privileges and responsibilities that came with their adoption of the island as their homeland.

“Being a Jamaican citizen is an exceptional honour and while you have been granted that right, nearly 2,000 persons were deported from our island last year, while about 537 were refused entry to this country. So as Jamaicans we expect you take this new status seriously,” Montague said.

He implored them to register to vote, pay their taxes, engage in community activities and use their various skills and talents to help build the country.

The Minister of National Security said there were about 15,000 to 20,000 people living on the island illegally, and announced that in 2018 the government would declare a one-year amnesty to allow those people to apply for permanent residence in Jamaica.

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