Beautiful Virgin Islands

Tuesday, Oct 03, 2023

Deal with Belonger backlog, Governor urges

Deal with Belonger backlog, Governor urges

The backlog of applications for residency and Belongership that has existed for nearly a year now must be addressed, Governor John Rankin has expressed.
While acknowledging that the issue of immigration is a sensitive one that is devolved to the local government, Rankin expressed concerns surrounding the matter of the delay in issuing Belongership status to hundreds of applicants.

The governor argued that one of the first considerations in approaching the issue is that the law needs to be applied regarding Belongership applications.

“I know that the Belonger status is a difficult issue, a sensitive issue, which needs to be handled, taking account of all the different factors, but let’s apply the law as it stands at the moment, and let’s deal with that backlog please,” the governor urged.

While the law requires 10 years of residence in the territory before an application can be made, a government policy has for years held that persons must live in the territory beyond 20 years before their application for Belongership can be considered.

“The law was not being applied,” Governor Rankin said.

In the meantime, Governor Rankin said he is looking forward to the review carried out by Kendrick Malone into the issue of the granting of Belongership status, pursuant to the Commission of Inquiry (COI) recommendations, noting that Malone is a highly experienced individual.

The governor pointed out in his last quarterly review of the implementation of COI recommendations that he had made it clear that very little, if anything, appeared to have been done regarding those applications.

“I’m determined, working together with the premier, within whose ministry it falls, to deal with that backlog,” Rankin said, “and get those who are entitled to their status. If they’re entitled to it, they shouldn’t be denied it.”

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