Seventy-eight new citizens of Vanuatu received their citizenship certificates from the Vanuatu Citizenship Commission Friday.
The new citizens included well known aviator Captain Bob Wyllie, his wife Cornillia and their son Troy Donald.
Captain Wyllie said it was an honor to be awarded the Citizenship of the country he’s served for 40 years as a pilot since he first arrived on August 1, 1974 and flew for Air Melanesia, Vanair and then Air Vanuatu, flying starting on the Islander and finishing on the Boeing 737 800.
Speaking at the awarding of the citizenship certificates ceremony at Au Fare Restaurant in Port Vila Friday afternoon, the First Political Adviser of the Acting Prime Minister, George Iapson, welcomed the new citizens and said it was not an easy thing for someone to leave a familiar citizenship environment and become a citizen of another country.
He said citizenship of Vanuatu has many benefits and also certain responsibilities that are legally required for a peaceful coexistence of a community.
“The benefits include the freedom to express yourself, the freedom to vote, the right to apply for jobs that are available to Vanuatu citizens either locally or internally, the responsibility to abide by the Constitution of Vanuatu, and right to participate in the democratic rights and laws of Vanuatu, the right to voice their concerns on matters affecting the community and the right to pay taxes,” First PA Iapson said.
Chief Executive Officer of the Citizenship Office, John Enoch Ware, said the Citizenships were awarded in four categories: Naturalized citizens 29, Married Persons 8, Regain Citizenship 3, and Entitled Citizens 38 people.
The ceremony started with the new chairman Francois Batick asking everyone to observe a one minute silence for his predecessor, the last Chairman, Chief Aiden Lawrence, who died last month.
CEO Ware said this was the first new citizenship awarding ceremony for this year. He said last year there were two such ceremonies for new Vanuatu citizens and that this year there will be two other ceremony planned for August and September to award Vanuatu citizens to new citizens. Since last year there have been about 300 new citizens approved by the Vanuatu Citizenship Commission and award their citizenship certificates.
Also present at the ceremony was Political Adviser of the Office of the Prime Minister, Luna Tasong who also helped present the new citizens with their certificates.