The latest citizenship ceremony welcomed 17 new British citizens, each taking their oath of allegiance to the Queen and receiving their certificates of nationality from the Governor Lieutenant General Edward Davis.
Taking place at the Convent yesterday, the ceremony was organised by the Civil Status and Registration Office (CSRO) and was opened by the head of CSRO Peter Linares.
The Chief Secretary of the Gibraltar Government, Ernest Gomez, addressed the citizens and explained that once they become British Citizens, it does not mean they lose their overseas British territory citizenship.
Instead, it confirms Gibraltar as the place they choose to reside and they are “Gibraltar belongers”.
Addressing the new citizens the Governor, welcomed everybody to the Convent and gave a brief history of the ceremonies, and of the duties and obligations the new citizens acquire when they become British citizens.
“Gaining British citizenship is a most significant moment in your lives and indeed in ever changing community in Gibraltar,” said the Governor.
In addition, he also told the new citizens about the responsibilities and duties they now have on becoming a British Citizen, which included “the duty to respect enduring British values of freedom, equality and tolerance and the responsibility to support democracy, freedom of speech and the ruling law.”
Manuel Fragoso, started the application to become a Gibraltar citizen nearly three years ago and is delighted that this day has come. “It is really a great day, because I have been waiting for it and it is like when you reach the end of a big journey and that is exactly how I feel. It is a good feeling,” he said.
One important aspect of being a Gibraltar citizen as far as Mr Fragoso is concerned is now he will be able to vote.
“One of the main aspects I applied for citizenship is because I wanted to be able to vote in Gibraltar. I have been living here for eight years, working for 12, but I was not able to take part in the political life here in Gibraltar and now I am,” he said.
He also feels that “when you try to integrate into a community having citizenship is a must if not you can never integrate fully.”
Pics by Johnny Bugeja