Nine foreigners gain Seychellois citizenship |11 March 2023
Nine foreigners coming from Africa, Europe and Asia have been granted with Seychellois citizenship in accordance with article 12 of the constitution.
They gained their new status and national identity in a special ceremony held yesterday morning at the National History Museum in the presence of President Wavel Ramkalawan, Minister for Internal Affairs Roy Fonseka, principal secretary for immigration and civil status Alain Volcère who is also the chairman of the citizenship eligibility committee, Attorney General Frank Ally, chief of immigrationErica Dufresne, members of the citizenship eligibility committee, family members and other invited guests.
The ceremony started off with the national anthem, followed by the reading of the preamble of the constitution and the oath of allegiance to the constitution as well as the signing of these documents by the new Seychellois citizens.
This was the first such ceremony bya group of persons who have satisfied the criteria established to obtain Seychellois citizenship, to be held before the local press.
It was Minister Fonseka who presentedthe new citizens with their certificates, including a Seychelles flag and badge. The new Seychellois family members were granted citizenship under the Citizenship Act with regards to naturalisationwhere a person is marriedfor more than 15 years to a Seychellois and through registration whereby an application is made based on family descendant.
They had to submit certain documents with the support of three sponsors, undergo an examination on the country, including an interview with the five members of the citizenship eligibility committee and a due diligence process for background checks, specifically regarding criminalitysuch as being a prohibited immigrant.
In his address, Minister Fonseka, who congratulated and welcomed the new citizens in the Seychellois family, and for their pledge of loyalty to the country, called on them to be Seychelles’ ambassadors despite their backgrounds and origins.
“Through the pledge you have just made to protect and defend the constitution, you have made a solemn promise of loyalty to Seychelles, to your new compatriots and to the values that we hold dear; such as the goodwill and compassion which enable us to reach out to others in need, or our sense of ‘joie de vivre’ which reverberates in our local culture and tradition,” the minister said.
He called on them to make good use of their knowledge and experiences to promote Seychelles and to serve its interests and take part actively towards its development through volunteering during times of need and contributing towards the well-being of their respective communities as law-abiding citizens in respect of the national anthem and national symbol (flag).
Taking the podium, President Ramkalawan who also congratulated the new group of Seychellois who have sworn to be faithful citizens of the country, said he was proud that they have gone through the process without having to seek for favours or having to pledge their political alliance.
President Ramkalawan added that even if he had never seen or met most of them, he had no hesitation to sign and approve their applications because the procedures were followed and they were found to be eligible for Seychellois citizenship.
“I want to wish you well. I simply want you to be good citizens, and this is the line of this administration. Your rights will be respected, your thoughts will be respected and just live as good citizens and that is all we want,” President Ramkalawan said.
The president noted that as the country has many challenges, he would simply wish that they play an effective role, amid the challenges, among which some of them already have lived through, to move the country forward. He added that they were lucky to have been awarded with Seychelles’ powerful biometric passport, which is one of the most powerful in Africa,where they can travel visa-free in 170 countries.
“Once again, be strong, help Seychelles rise to the highest possible level, maintain good standards, be good citizens and help Seychelles prosper even further. Seychelles is now not only your second country, it is your first country,” President Ramkalawan said.
Speaking to the press, PSVolcère said granting citizenship to foreigners, in full view of the press, is a decision taken by the cabinet of ministers last year to bring more transparencyin the way citizenship is accorded. This also includes the publishing of the recipients’ identity and other details in the newspaper. The public can also access the identity and other details of any Seychellois citizenship recipients at the Registrar’s office.
PS Volcère added that there are no obligation under the law to grant citizenship to a person. He noted that even if a person applies for citizenship, she or he is not entitled to it.
British Jeremy Couch of Au Cap Mahe, who is married to Seychellois Jennifer Couch born Ah-Time, said despite a long process he was very happy to have been awarded Seychellois citizenship and to form part of Seychelles’ multicultural society.
Italian Giuliana Germain, who is married to Seychellois Peter Germain of Praslin, said she was happy tobe part of one of the most beautiful countries and warmfriendly people of the world. She had been waiting for citizenship statusfor one year.
The new Seychellois compatriots are: Edith Erika Maria Sinon (Swiss), Yusuf Said Gatibaru(Kenyan), Michael Hugh Gallagher(Irish), Nirinaharisoa Banane(Malagasy), Malee Belairy(Thai), Jeremy Couch(British), Giuliana Farina Germain(Italian), ElikemRemeAdjoAbonie(Ghanaian), and Jeanne AurelieElianne Labrosse (Malagasy).