Vanuatu has 52 new citizens who received certificates of their citizenship Friday evening from President, Baldwin Lonsdale, at a ceremony at the Vanuatu National Convention Centre in Port Vila.
The new citizens comprised of men, women — young and old, and small children, whose applications were accepted by the Vanuatu Citizenship Commission to receive the citizenship of Vanuatu.
President Lonsdale congratulated the new citizens and welcomed them into the Vanuatu fold.
As many of the names in the new citizenship recipients were well known names such as Martinez of the famous L’Houstalet Restaurant in Port Vila, the Head of State thanked them for their help and contribution to Vanuatu.
“Thank you for the help to the nation, economically, politically and culturally and we look forward to us going forward together as citizens of this nation,” he said.
In her address the Acting Secretary-General of the Citizenship Office, Carol Samuel, said: “You are here today because you have passed all the requirements of becoming citizens of Vanuatu.
“We are here to celebrate your citizenship and welcome you to the family of the twice-happiest place on earth. Together we start today and into the future,” she added.
A member of the Citizenship Commission, Pastor Shem Temar said in a short statement before offering a prayer before the presentation of certificates ceremony started, that citizenship is a top-ranked gift a country can give to a person and it is a very important privilege.
“Together we can build this nation,” he added.
The Chairman of the Citizenship Commission, Francois Batick, asked for a moment’s silence in remembrance of his predecessor, Chief Aiden Lawrence, who passed away early this year.
He expressed gratitude to the Government of Vanuatu for the change to the Citizenship Act that allowed for dual citizenship under which many of the new citizens of the country have successful in their application for membership of the Vanuatu fold.
Batick appealed to the new citizens to work together with the country to “protect and develop Vanuatu.”
This is the last batch of awardees for this year, Acting SG Samuel said, and it was also the smallest group as past ceremonies have seen over 100 recipients.