Chief Secretary holds first pledge ceremony

Chief Secretary George McCarthy held the first pledge ceremony in November 2004 for those who have received Naturalisation under the revised legislation by the United Kingdom.

Previously, only persons from non-commonwealth countries were mandated to take an Oath of Allegiance when becoming Naturalised as a British Overseas Territories Citizen of the Cayman Islands, states a press release.

The Pledge states the following: I will give my loyalty to the Cayman Islands and respect its rights and freedoms. I will uphold its democratic values. I will observe its laws faithfully and fulfill my duties and obligations as a British Overseas Territories Citizen’.

While the first Pledge Ceremony only involved five persons, the ceremonies that followed accommodated as much as 20 successful Naturalisation applicants at one time. Over 65 persons have taken part in the Pledge Ceremony since it became effective in November 2004. The Chief Secretary’s Office has confirmed that 453 persons were Naturalised in 2004. This does not include 129 minors (0-17) who successfully applied to become registered as British Overseas Territories Citizens of the Cayman Islands.

Successful Naturalisation applicants receive a letter confirming whether his/her application has been successful and giving instructions to contact the Chief Secretary’s Office for an appointment to take the Pledge. Only British citizens are exempted from taking a Pledge. The letter confirms the fee payable and stresses that proper attire must be worn when visiting the Government Administration Building to be formally Naturalised.

Once a person becomes Naturalised as a British Overseas Territories Citizen of the Cayman Islands, he/she becomes eligible to apply for a Cayman Islands passport. All non-British citizens who become Naturalised in the Cayman Islands are also eligible to apply to become a British citizen. Details on this process are included in the package presented to each person by staff of the Chief Secretary’s Office.

Persons who become Naturalised and who possess Caymanian status also become eligible to register to vote. Persons who only possess permanent residence when becoming Naturalised are not eligible to register to vote.

To decision on whether or not someone should be Naturalised is a discretionary decision. No one is entitled to be Naturalised.

The basic criteria which must be met before an adult becomes eligible to apply for Naturalisation is as follows:-

In accordance with section 18(1) of the British Nationality Act, 1981 [grounds of residence] an applicant must be free from immigration restrictions for 12 months and meet the five-year residency requirement.

In accordance with section 18(2) of the British Nationality Act, 1981 [grounds of marriage] an applicant must be free from immigration restrictions, meet the three-year residency requirement and have the endorsement of his/her Caymanian spouse.

Application forms are available at the Receptionist Desk of the Government Administration Building [Glass House].