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Apr 26, 2017

New Citizens Take Oath in Belmopan

As the Immigration hearings continued into the afternoon, simultaneously in Belmopan, a swearing-in ceremony took place, across the plaza, at the civic center. More than a hundred individuals became citizens of this country after taking the oath of allegiance. The new citizens heard from the Minister of State for Immigration, Beverly Williams. News Five’s Isani Cayetano has a report.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Over a hundred new Belizean citizens were sworn-in this afternoon, during the first induction ceremony held since the beginning of 2017.  Persons, in some cases families, from various countries across the world, took the pledge of allegiance after becoming legal residents of the country.  We caught up with Minister of Immigration Beverly Williams ahead of the service, while logistics were being finalized.


Beverly Williams

Beverly Williams, Minister of State, Immigration

“As we speak, we are completing the processing of the documents.  I know it’s well over a hundred persons.  I would not be able to give you the nationality at this time because once that document is finalized in the next half an hour or so, we have the appointment at two, then we’ll be able to give you by nationality those that have applied for Belizean nationality.”


After singing the national anthem and administering the oath, each naturalized Belizean was called up to receive a certificate of citizenship.  The moment, for most, was a particular instance of pride, where photos were taken as they posed with the Immigration Minister.


Beverly Williams

“The ceremony is quite short and quick.  It’s just to advise them of what their obligations are and their rights as determined in the constitution as new Belizeans and to hand them their certificates, making that process really open and transparent.”


Isani Cayetano

“Is there a schedule for another swearing-in ceremony and in that regard, how long has it been since the last ceremony was held?”


Beverly Williams

“If I recall, sometime last year, we were trying to do every quarter.  But obviously if you were here earlier, as we planned, it was just a crowd and it seems to delay all the other services we offer.  So we were looking, just today discussing that we have to take a different approach, in terms of swearing-in.  So if we have a maximum of twenty-five we would wait or we would just do that ceremony right here at the office because, you see the space here, we’d be able to accommodate that.  So the faster we get it, we process.  We tend to wait for a large amount so that it’s more cost effective for us while persons are out there waiting, persons who may have applied for some extended period now.  So we’re trying to clean up that backlog and so it will be as often as that backlog requires.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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