By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK
FOREIGN Affairs and Immigration Minister Rimbink Pato yesterday welcomed the 24 foreigners who have been granted citizenship to live and work in Papua New Guinea.
“The decision to forego your former country is a hard one and I must commend you for your courage and determination to become PNG citizens,” he said.
“It is a very important decision affecting your lives and I am sure due consideration had been given before making the choice to be a PNG citizen.”
Pato said they were investors who came to the country with dreams to establish a livelihood and contribute to the development of the country, providing employment opportunities for locals.
“Some of you have married Papua New Guineans and have over the years contributed in all forms of assistance whenever the need arises,” he said.
“You have children who were also born and attended schools, making PNG their home.”
The 24 people have been living in PNG continuously for eight years and established businesses, and have “sound characters”.
“You have all embraced the culture and lifestyle of Papua New Guineans,” he said.
“You are able to communicate in Tok Pisin and other local languages and have attended haus krai (house of mourning) and funerals.
“Some of you have permanent residency visas.”
The 24 included 10 Chinese, four Bangladeshis, two Nigerians, two Malaysians, and one each from Vanuatu, United Kingdom, Sierra Leone, Taiwan, New Zealand and Philippines. Chief Migration Officer Mataio Rabura and officers from Immigration and Foreign Affairs attended the citizenship certificate ceremony.
Dr Oti Okereke Jigo originally from Nigeria, on behalf of the group, said: “Please let the whole world know that we are proud to be Papua New Guineans.
“We are now wantoks to all the citizens and friends of Papua new Guinea.
“We thank God for making it possible for us to achieve our goal of becoming citizens of this great nation – Papua New Guinea.”
Dr Oti is an economic advisor on special projects and audit at the National Planning Department.
By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK