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Paying for birth rights: Uncertain future for VI born children of expats

- The aspect of “Stateless” children still to take legislative moves
Premier and Minister of Finance Dr. The Honorable D. Orlando Smith (AL) said he will be coming out with an announcement in favour of “Born Here” children and their expatriate parents. Photo: VINO/File
Minister for Education and Culture Honourable Myron V. Walwyn. Photo: VINO/File
Minister for Education and Culture Honourable Myron V. Walwyn. Photo: VINO/File
Former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications and Works, Mr Julian Willock lent a voice to the topic when he made suggestions of referendum or a change of immigration laws during a local radio interview. Photo: VINO/File
Former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications and Works, Mr Julian Willock lent a voice to the topic when he made suggestions of referendum or a change of immigration laws during a local radio interview. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – In a matter of two weeks, Premier and Minister of Finance Dr. The Honorable D. Orlando Smith (AL) says he will be making a big announcement as it relates to the legislation that requires expatriate parents to pay an immigration ‘fee’ for their children born in the Virgin Islands.

At a One-on-One briefing with the media yesterday October 1, 2018, Premier Smith said he will be coming out with an announcement in favour of “Born Here” children and their expatriate parents.

“I have in fact reviewed that policy… the Chief Immigrations Officer is looking at the matter and I am prepared to make a statement on that very soon,” Premier said.

He was responding to a following-up question by reporters on a promise made at a press briefing on August 29, 2018 when he vowed to take the issue to the HoA. Back then, he had disagreed with the policy but could not guarantee its removal altogether.

The issue was a hot topic for Member of the House Honourable Alvera Maduro-Caines (R6) who raised concerns about the Immigration policy two weeks prior. She recalled that Immigration authorities had threatened to deport a one-year-old infant ‘Born Here’ if the child’s expatriate parents did not pay the fee.

“It’s bad enough that the children can’t get a passport until they are probably 18 years, but to charge somebody for staying in a country that they were born needs to be addressed and it needs to be dissolved… I do not think its fair,” Hon Maduro-Caines said.  

What about ‘stateless’ children?

On the other hand, there is some conversation around the issues of ‘Born Here’ children deem ‘stateless’ because of the origin of their parents. Minister for Education and Culture Honourable Myron V. Walwyn called it a “terrible indictment” while pleading for the situation to be addressed with a level of urgency.

On Thursday April 20, 2017 in the House of Assembly (HoA) the matter was raised under ‘Any other Business’.  Hon Walwyn noted that while the argument is nothing new, the matter should be placed under the microscope following a report from the United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) concerning infringements on the rights of children being affected in the territory.

“It is a matter, Madam Speaker… that is very troubling and I raised it several times in this House of Assembly, other members raised it before me, but I don’t know if the cat has their tongue now” Hon Walwyn said.

 “I don’t know, but they will have to speak for themselves… But it seems that we have a way, Madam Speaker, in this country where somebody has to come from somewhere and tell us something about ourselves,” he remarked.

According to the Minister, there was a study done by UNICEF and he quoted from pages 151 and 152 of the report. Under section C reads that civil and political rights were the most significant gaps in the protection of human rights of migrant children and those born in the VI of non-VI parents.

He said the rules of citizenship and belonger status are complex and difficult to understand, however, there is some level of discretion in the decision of granting or not granting belonger status.

Referendum or a change of immigration laws

Former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications and Works and Chairman of the Board of Advance Marketing and Professional Services, Mr Julian Willock had also lent a voice to the topic when he made the suggestions of referendum or a change of immigration laws. These suggestions were made during an interview on the International Morning Ride Show on ZROD 103.7 FM with host Paul A. Peart aka ‘Gadiethz’ on back in April last year.

The Premier Smith however, did not speak to this aspect of “stateless” children during his Monday October 1, One-on-One with the media.

22 Responses to “Paying for birth rights: Uncertain future for VI born children of expats ”

  • BRAD BOYNES (02/10/2018, 10:53) Like (6) Dislike (6) Reply
    The Constitution you negotiated on 2007 does not protect these children born to both expat parents. Address that and fix it. Blood on your hands now.
    • @ Brad Biynes. Sense (03/10/2018, 16:42) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Brad I agree 100%. U know what you are talking about. The Now want to be politician lawyer and his constitutional crew through these children in the garbage then under the Train.. Hope Xpat knows this especially those that can vote.
  • think (02/10/2018, 11:01) Like (9) Dislike (4) Reply
    How many of us get to chose where we’re born, let alone who our parents are.
  • Hmmmm (02/10/2018, 11:38) Like (26) Dislike (3) Reply
    Omar Hodge has passed he was a passionate fighter on this issue when he was in the opposition when he became a minister of government he lose his passion and his fight, didn't show interest hence he has no legacy. Its time the voiceless innocent people get a courage voice from some one in authority. . fight for the innocent and voiceless people and they will always flight for you because they are loyal and courageous... Then again its very unwise for a politician to not embrace inclusiveness because 90% of Locals are connected with expats in one way or the other either marriage, Relationship, children, work or friendship. .. An influencial person though can't vote is more than a vote.. Myron understands this.. Myron is Wise..
  • ... (02/10/2018, 13:17) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    the esteem gone quiet
  • Fixit (02/10/2018, 15:25) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    You are from where you were born and OF from where you were raised.
  • island man (02/10/2018, 16:20) Like (31) Dislike (4) Reply
    St.thomas should do the same to children of bvi parents,lets see how u all feel
    • @Island Man (07/10/2018, 18:56) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      You’ll like to bigup St.Thomas yet you and your offsprings can not live in St.Thomas without a green card or passport.
  • voice (02/10/2018, 17:29) Like (19) Dislike (23) Reply
    The premier seem to forget the British Nationalty Act. That is why expatriates are asked to go to their home country to give birth. Many hid behind the politicians to have their children here. Now Virginislanders are outnumbered in this country. That law was not formulated here. It was handed down from Great Britain. Now those same expatriates want to change our laws to suit their fancy. Virginislanders only should be in the Virgin Island House of Assembly.
    • @voice (02/10/2018, 18:37) Like (7) Dislike (5) Reply
      Thank you. Why we dont here other OT fussing about this matter. Its all about the US $$$$ at the end of the day. The law was handed down to us. So the politicians can keep spinning it how they want because they need permission to fix it
      • @@Voice (03/10/2018, 07:30) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
        Nonsense.. This was what Farara constitution committee recommended in 2007. Having said that. The government has the power to fix anything they deem wrong in cabinet and with policies...
    • round rock (03/10/2018, 08:47) Like (6) Dislike (4) Reply
      Many present day Virgin Islander seems to forget that is because THEIR Ancestors came from somewhere else sometime ago, why they was lucky to be “bawn hay” Check yourself and see how you got your last name from, where your Great great grandmother or Great grandfather came from. Many prominent day VI officials parents and Grandparents came from Down Islands. In face all of us ANCESTORS came from other places. (Africa) if they didn’t come here, we would have “bawn hay”. The earth belongs to all of us, but class, raisism, ignorance, where one was born, status and the powers that is in control always comes up with ways to devide the human race, and we fall for it.
  • You crazy (02/10/2018, 20:33) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    This is the same minister who said he will look into the 20 year period to qualify for the residency status. He said he will come back with a announcement the first quarter of this year. Which is April gone. But he never did. Why should people believe this now.
  • Charley Rose (02/10/2018, 23:21) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    This is a very hot debate, however, at the end of the day we will have to wait and see the results. If the Hon. Premier should decide to ask expatriates parents to pay a fee to the immigration department to allow their children who were born in the B.V.I then I think we are going to the lowest level of morality.

    Should this measure be implemented then I think those children who are required to pay for their time to remain are not obligated to show loyalty to the territory. We will have chaos in the society. The territory will suffer greatly. What of the white expatriate children. The governor could authorise the immigration department to issue Pass ports to them and no one can question that.
  • Charley Rose (02/10/2018, 23:21) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    This is a very hot debate, however, at the end of the day we will have to wait and see the results. If the Hon. Premier should decide to ask expatriates parents to pay a fee to the immigration department to allow their children who were born in the B.V.I then I think we are going to the lowest level of morality.

    Should this measure be implemented then I think those children who are required to pay for their time to remain are not obligated to show loyalty to the territory. We will have chaos in the society. The territory will suffer greatly. What of the white expatriate children. The governor could authorise the immigration department to issue Pass ports to them and no one can question that.
  • Lord o (03/10/2018, 07:48) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    Myron has the best position on this issue....he understands it he is compassionate about it and he is right about it. Its almost seem like they are trying to punish Myron at the expense of these innocent vanurable people.... The Premier is a very very good and Godly man.. I don't know who is giving him these bad, hateful and ungodly advice
  • sad (03/10/2018, 09:53) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    I just can't help but to voice my opinion but what happen in a case when you are married to a BVI Islander get children , the Mother not from the BVI and your children cant get any status ,neither the wife after 10 plus years of marriage. How frustrating that can be to both Parent and children after dedicating all if not most of their lives to the country. This might be falling on waist ground but I hope only hope someone read and understands
    • . (03/10/2018, 21:17) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      This is nonsense. If you are married to a BVIslander you are a BVIslander and so are your children, provided you are actually legally married.
      • sad (03/10/2018, 23:32) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
        Well it’s the law but it’s been over 10 years of Marriage and I haven’t got my passport as yet so u tell me
  • ReX FeRal (03/10/2018, 14:32) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    @sad. Go back and read the darn law. Any child with a BVIslander parent is a Belonger. Get freakin real stop trying to stir up nonsense with your I'll information and ignorance.
  • @ReX FeRal (07/10/2018, 19:09) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    She probably had a child from him before he married her. ’ As for her, stop looking out for a passport after ten years of marriage look at loving your husband’. If you applied the passport will come soon enough.


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