Newly minted citizen Richardson Louis is ecstatic that he is now officially a Jamaican.
He was one of 33 people who were, on Monday, granted citizenship by the Government during a ceremony at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
They were presented with documents formalising their status by the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA).
“Jamaica is home. Finally, I am home,” Louis emphatically declared after receiving his documents.
Jamaican citizenship is granted by virtue of marriage, registration (for Commonwealth citizens), naturalisation (for non-Commonwealth citizens), by descent, citizenship in cases of doubt (for persons whose birth was not registered), and restoration (for persons who had previously renounced their Jamaican citizenship).
Louis, who was born in Haiti in 1993, told JISNews that he is very happy he chose to become a Jamaican and believes the process facilitating this was worth it.
“It is a long process. I waited four years, but I’m so happy. I feel so excited to be a Jamaican national,” he said, while holding a mini Jamaican flag.
Louis, a translator in the tourism industry, shared that, as a Jamaican, he is pleased to be associated with national treasures like Bob Marley, Usain Bolt, and Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce.
He relishes the beauty of Jamaican culture, noting that his favourite aspect is the food.
Louis is also looking forward to voting in Jamaica, noting that for the first time in his life, he will not be exposed to any political unrest as was his experience prior to coming here.
“In Jamaica, it is better for me when it comes to safety and working. I can go outside and come back home without fear. Some people may be scared here, but I am not afraid. I feel safe,” he said.
PICA’s Director of Citizenship, Carol Saunders Hammond, said the Agency hopes to make citizenship services more accessible, efficient and customer-friendly, in the near future, to better facilitate people who are eager to establish their Jamaican roots.
She encouraged the new citizens to consider how they may be able to positively impact Jamaica. This, while taking on the responsibility of being a good citizen.
The citizenship recipients were treated to performances from the Jamaican Folk Singers and the Jamaica Constabulary Force Band.
They also had the opportunity to partake of Jamaican foods, which included ackee and saltfish, escoveitched fish, bammy, festival and sorrel.