The Government will be using a recent decision handed down by the Privy Council to act as a standard in the waiting period for immigrants applying for citizenship in Antigua and Barbuda.
On Tuesday August 2nd, the Privy Council ruled that Guyanese national Clive Oliveira’s application for registration should have been concluded within 12 months from being made as oppose to the near 27 month wait which he experienced.
According to the Government, the decision may likely serve as a measuring device for the length of time when the granting of citizenship can be reasonably compared, for those whose applications are received in subsequent years.
Lionel Hurst, the Government’s Spokesperson told ZDK News however that the Government had already been addressing the long waiting periods.
“The Gaston Browne administration was not waiting on the decision of the Privy Council, we have long instituted changes that allowed immigrants to receive their citizenship at a much shorter period. We did so by hiring more immigration officers, and by making overtime payments to person working in the Passport Office.”
Hurst blamed the former administration for creating the issue, noting that it was an attempt to reduce the number of citizenship applications received during their 10 year tenure. He said had it not been for the Gaston Browne Administration, and its initiative to provide amnesty to thousands of immigrants by removing the gaps from their record, the issue would have been worse.
“The previous administration had intentionally slow down the process in other to give fewer and fewer nationals from outside of Antigua and Barbuda an opportunity to become citizens and we wanted to address that.”
“Thousands of immigrants who had been declared to have gaps in their stay in Antigua and Barbuda were denied citizenship and told they had to start all over again. We cured that by going to Parliament and passing the necessary legislation to do away with that invention of the United Progressive Party.”
The Privy Council and the Government are already collaborating, under the 2015 amnesty law, to ensure speedy delivery of citizenship, the Government said.