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Dec 21, 2012

New Belizeans swear the oath at nationalization ceremony

Leading up to the March elections, there was a frenzy at the Immigration Department as over a thousand took the oath to become new Belizeans. The hue and cry was because most of them had not gone through the required rigorous immigration process and were lacking documentation. The outcry was also because many were from Guatemala, a country which is claiming Belizean territory. This afternoon, over a hundred persons became citizens but this time, there were no Guatemalans. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The induction of a hundred and seven immigrants into the Belizean citizenry at the George Price Center this afternoon, over ten months removed from the rush to be added to the voters’ registration list earlier this year, excluded all Guatemalan refugees.  Whether that marginalization was intentional, based on ongoing disputes over recent incursions at the Western Border, the Immigration and Nationality Department swore in dozens of natives from countries both near and far.  Elvis David Davis is originally from neighboring Honduras.

 

Elvis David Davis

Elvis David Davis, Naturalized Belizean

“You know how long I di wait fi this? This feel really great man because I di wait for this long time and I want move from yah dah Belize to places and I can’t sake ah this and now I get it. and I could move how I want and hopefully do great; good.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“I’ve noticed you learnt Creole over the past fourteen years. What is it being able to show your woman and your kids that you are officially Belizeans and can do whatever you want to do legally within the country?”

 

Elvis David Davis

“I mean this is something big for me and them; especially since I dah from different places. I wah ker my wife, kids to different places and I di wait for this long time and now I could do it. So thank God for that.”

 

Immigration minister Godwin Hulse, who was present at today’s ceremony, spoke of the diversity of the Belizean populace.  Belize, Hulse reiterated, is a cultural melting pot.

 

Godwin Hulse, Minister of Immigration

Godwin Hulse

“Today, ladies and gentlemen, you join that mix too so I urge you to join this beautiful blend of people and help top add an additional spice to it. This is a land of people who live in peace and harmony. In order then to understand and appreciate and respect the various cultures which have blended into one, you must possess at least a working knowledge of the common language and the language of the laws of Belize and that is the English language. And I urge you that if you are not yet fully acquainted to try and do so. The citizenship that will be conveyed on you so is not a citizenship of convenience, it si a kin to birthright. Treat it as such.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“This came outside of the voting season so to speak. This was not in January or February when there was a rush to try to naturalize people to be able to participate in the elections. but tell me something; are you prepared now that you are Belizean—like myself and others who were here—to participate in the democratic process of choosing a government in the upcoming elections?”

 

Elvis David Davis

“Of course that was one of the main things for me to get my papers; so I could participate in the country because there are things that you want to do and you can’t so now I can do that. Now I could do that so I am happy fi dat too.”

 

American national Anita Marie Smith, who’s been living in Belize since 2006, was also naturalized today.  In her retirement she has come to call Belize home.

 

Anita Marie Smith, Naturalized Belizean

Anita Marie Smith

“I feel like I already belong here and this sort of seals the deal; it makes me feel very real and proud.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“What prompted you, other than the fact that your husband is originally from Belize, to become Belizean?”

 

Anita Marie Smith

“Oh, I love Belize the moment I got here. I’ve been moving towards this for six years. I immediately fell in love and wanted to say. So this is where I live now.”

 

While we tried to probe into the department’s decision not to include Guatemalan nationals, the media was informed that Minister Godwin Hulse has addressed the matter in other parts. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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4 Responses for “New Belizeans swear the oath at nationalization ceremony”

  1. ouagadoudou says:

    every nation has immigrants and emigrants. As far I am concerned, if the new belizean are good law abiding persons, productive and tax payer they’re welcome. Lot of countries built their wealth on immigrants (canada and usa in primis).

  2. Genotu Rembiuos says:

    Of course we do NOT want Guatemalans here, period.
    They are in here anyway, they have no legal standings , but they shout BELICE ES NUESTRO !
    So why give them nationality ?
    Guatemalans please go back to your corozales !!!!

  3. Storm says:

    I’m happy to see that the Guatemalan invasion has been slowed for now. I hope all the rest were properly checked out, so that all our new countrymen are truly good folks who can contribute in a good way to our little nation. Assuming that, welcome to the Jewel!

  4. Emmanuel says:

    These people are really welcome except the Guatemalan.The Nigerians and Ghanians are really productive here.They should be given ample chance.

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