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Gov Rankin assents to Immigration & Passport (Validation) Act

- 688 residents validated now clear to vote ahead of Advance Polling Day tomorrow
Governor John J. Rankin, CMG has assented to the the Immigration and Passport (Validation) Act, 2023 and the Immigration and Passport (Amendment) Act, 2023, allowing the 688 residents whose Belonger status are now an opportunity to exercise their franchise on Polling Day tomorrow, Thursday, April 20, 2023, and Polling Day on Monday, April 24, 2023. Photo: Facebook/File
Premier Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) in his support of the move to recall the House of Assembly to validate the status of some 688 persons said, 'Democracy is a sacred trust. We all have a responsibility to protect and uphold democracy.' Photo: Facebook/File
Premier Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) in his support of the move to recall the House of Assembly to validate the status of some 688 persons said, 'Democracy is a sacred trust. We all have a responsibility to protect and uphold democracy.' Photo: Facebook/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Governor John J. Rankin, CMG has assented to the Immigration and Passport (Validation) Act, 2023 and the Immigration and Passport (Amendment) Act, 2023, allowing the 688 residents, whose Belonger status are now valid, an opportunity to exercise their franchise on Advance Polling Day tomorrow, Thursday, April 20, 2023, and Polling Day on Monday, April 24, 2023.

“Today I assented to the Immigration and Passport (Validation) Act, 2023 and the Immigration and Passport (Amendment) Act, 2023. This legislation, which was passed by the House of Assembly on Monday, validates the Residency and Belonger status of individuals following the concerns raised in the recent Audit Report and Addendum on the Fast Track Residency and Belonger Status Programme,” Governor Rankin informed via a press statement today, April 19, 2023.

‘Relevant Acts are now in force’- Gov Rankin

He said he can therefore confirm that the relevant Acts are now in force ahead of Advance Polling Day tomorrow.

“I look forward to a free and fair election in which all registered voters can participate.”

The House convened on Monday, April 17, 2023, following the findings of the Audit Report and Addendum on the Fast Track Residency and Belongership Programme. Legislators then met to validate the status of 688 persons who were granted simultaneous Belongership and Residency Certificates under the Government’s "Fast Track’ process when they did not qualify for both.

The Immigration and Passport (Validation) Act, 2023, was passed after a heated debate in which legislators in full campaign mode highly politicised the matter in an attempt to vilify the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Administration and to score political points.

There was a division of votes and all eight legislators present voted for the bill.

Premier and Minister of Finance Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7), Hon Neville A. Smith (AL) and Hon Sharie B. de Castro (AL), whose spouses or significant others were mentioned in the audit report of the Residency and Belonger Status Programme, had recused themselves from the debate to avoid all claims of conflict of interest and therefore were absent during the vote.

It is unclear why Hon Shereen D. Flax-Charles (AL) was absent.

30 Responses to “Gov Rankin assents to Immigration & Passport (Validation) Act”

  • voter7 (19/04/2023, 18:10) Like (36) Dislike (18) Reply
    Tha k you VIP for doing this Fast Track. Many person are grateful for this opportunity.
    • Hrmph (19/04/2023, 20:36) Like (4) Dislike (5) Reply
      … but we’re they legal on the day the voting lists closed?
    • Rubber Duck (19/04/2023, 21:56) Like (8) Dislike (2) Reply
      They did it to get their squeezes status. Hid them in the crowd so no one would notice.
    • Really (19/04/2023, 22:36) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      And your Premier, hon. Neville and sharie could not be there in the house to vote on the amended bill. For the bill to pass you would have needed at least 5 persons voting Your VIP members had to recuse themselves because their spouses and significant other were part of the illegal fast track process. With Shereen not being part of the VIP your number would have been short in the voting process
      • False (20/04/2023, 01:19) Like (12) Dislike (2) Reply
        My name was on the list. I have been here 31 years, got my residence in 2016. I was approved for belonger before the fast tract but was included and charged a higher fee. So my question is "why is my name on the list, what is irregular about by status. I think the report is not correct and needs to be reviewed.
    • Mr. Governor one question.. (20/04/2023, 02:56) Like (3) Dislike (8) Reply
      How about those application in for yrs and still waiting, can't even get a call or an update..Thosr people who did it the right way, who acted with in the law, that is being punished, are you trying to sought them out.. Some of those people being here for 40 - 50 yrs. No criminal record. This is so unfair....I am voting Ronnie and PVIM. I home Ronnie get to be Premier its the only real hope...This Governor and this Govt are faulures..
    • Rank in (20/04/2023, 22:46) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
      I've never seen nor heard from you this much in the history of being in the V.I. until this election. Why is this so? Is it because the ELECTEF OFFICIALS does not agree to all you asked/suggested they do? Is it because you wish they don't get back in the delay your agenda? I hope in the very near future, they past a law or put on the ballot to the people, that the governor seat has to be elected.
  • Blind Man (19/04/2023, 18:21) Like (23) Dislike (7) Reply
    Governor thought he would have had a upset in side the house but all the noise Mitch was making will cost him on Monday.
  • 688 (19/04/2023, 18:26) Like (29) Dislike (14) Reply
    Vote vip we correcting the mistake
    Every time ndp try to make vip look bad it backfire on them
    Come all my fast track members go early as tomorrow and vote vip all the way!
    • Aunty Susan (19/04/2023, 21:57) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      They wont vote for the Vipers.

      They will vote to clear out their nest.
    • True That (19/04/2023, 22:38) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
      Mark and Marlon had to vote in the house to correct the mistake to amend the fast track. Where were your Premier, neville and sharie. Not present for voting i wonder why?
  • assent! (19/04/2023, 18:26) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    Tell us when the bill that was assented into law will be gazzeted in order to promulgate the law.Is it today or tomorrow, before early voting?Or on thursday the day when the Government Gazzette is usually pu lished? Give us the answer please.....otherwise who have ear to hear ought to listen.
  • Voter6 (19/04/2023, 18:28) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
  • good (19/04/2023, 18:37) Like (15) Dislike (11) Reply
    Let The accidentally premier back in power.
  • Pushing P now in Long Look (19/04/2023, 19:20) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    Not by vote!!!! her recorder talking rubbish!!!stating about the condition of district 7 for 4yrs. not mentioning anything when Kedrick was in Council. Lol
  • lodger (19/04/2023, 19:57) Like (9) Dislike (5) Reply
    I am concerned about future batches of applicants. Will they also get Residence and Belongership together or will they have to wait a year per the constitution? Some may see fit to sue if they dont get both together.
  • 2023 (19/04/2023, 20:11) Like (8) Dislike (8) Reply
    VIP is where my money is
  • Native Tongue (19/04/2023, 21:28) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Corruption Inc.
  • BV Islander (19/04/2023, 21:30) Like (5) Dislike (6) Reply
    The law needs to change. These islands cannot take care of more people right now. The economy is not strong enough to take care of more people. Some will suffer. Think about schools, healthcare and housing. While we want to welcome our sisters and brothers we have to think about their welfare.
  • Hmmmm (19/04/2023, 22:34) Like (9) Dislike (7) Reply
    You can see the evil on his face. What a wicked man.
    • End tiimes (21/04/2023, 06:06) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      @Hmmmm look in your mirror and you will see the evil in yours too. Why are calling the Governor evil? Was he the one who went ahead and caused 688 mistakes? Please think before you speak.
  • Youth lady (19/04/2023, 22:37) Like (10) Dislike (5) Reply
    Let us see if he now looks into the mistakes of the NDP fast track programme in 2019 when the 70 rich upper-class people alone received status and was not in the BVI living for more than 4 years while the Caribbean people were ignored by the NDP.
    • look (19/04/2023, 22:41) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
      It never looked like 688 mistakes of illegal giving persons belonger status with out residency 12 months prior. Dont you think if they had brojen the law the Governor would have done the same thing before 2019 election before persons voted.

      The voters list would have been illegal
  • Lucky (20/04/2023, 07:00) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    Every body heated up about this fast track Belanger and residency status. What about the kids that was born here and can't get documents for here. Because one or both of their parents are from the Caribbean they are denied documents from the country they were born.
    Who is fighting tfor these kids.
    They have to go and seek immigration time or face being deported to the country where their parents are from.
    Aren't the paying taxes in this country,
    These kids are holders of legal birth certificates and no one don't see a problem with out system.
    Our youths are to be the future of this country but when our leaders ignore them and force them to go elsewhere for rescue of citizenship who will lead our country in times to come.
    These kids could be doctors,lawyers, teachers, electricians, premiers, governors, chiefs of police etc. And they are being over looked and denied because of the status of their parents.
    Try and fix that for those kids , they are ours.
    • At LUCKY (20/04/2023, 08:55) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
      Go back and read the Immigration and the CONSTITUTION LAWS OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS. PLEASE I BEG YOU THIS. Or have a conversation with the Walters, Jennings or Hill men who used to work in immigration. They will never lie to you.
  • GOVERNOR (20/04/2023, 07:32) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    I think the Governor is just doing his job.
  • HMMM (20/04/2023, 09:03) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    What about kids that born here have to wait 10 yrs to get passports because both parents are not from here , but people boasting that because they know somebody big in passport office they get their kids passport before the right age and both parents not from here....
  • lodger (20/04/2023, 15:57) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Life would be so much simpler here if our next constitution said that if you are born here, this is where you are from. Just like the USA and territories. So much grief and aggro could be done away with. Diehard xenophobists wouldnt agree, but it is going to happen. The present route to citizenship for those not born here could continue.
  • Truth (20/04/2023, 17:07) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Now wait a minute I thought that we were supposed to have some bombshells and hidden agenda from this session. No there is none , just like there is nothing more in the COI . The VIP has/is enacting legislation help ALL BV Islander's . Are t there some flaws yes who doesn't have flaws but by and large this is a Party for the People .

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