The process for issuing residency and belongership status will be reviewed after the Commission of Inquiry (COI) Report discovered several breaches of the law in the methods used by previous governments to grant individuals these statuses.
In the Report, Commissioner of the Inquiry Sir Gary Hickinbottom recommended a review of processes, adding that the open discretion currently held by Cabinet to make grants for status also needed to be reviewed.
He said, “Any such powers should only be maintained where necessary; and, where any such powers are maintained, then they should be subject to clearly expressed and published guidance.”
“This review could (and, in my view, should) be led by a senior public officer. As part of that review, the position with regard to the length of residence required for belongership applications based on tenure should be clarified and confirmed by statute,” Sir Hickinbottom added.
Meanwhile, in a recent interview, Governor His Excellency John Rankin revealed that governments have been using a 20-year policy to grant residency and belongership status, instead of the law which makes provisions for the issuing of such statuses after 10 years.
He said the review among many things will seek to address all these issues.
Governor Rankin said that the outcome of the review needs to be a fair one that must be applied objectively.