The Miami Herald
May. 22, 2002

Caribbean islanders acquiring British passports

  OLVESTON, Montserrat - (AP) -- British Caribbean islanders flocked to passport offices Tuesday to apply for British passports under a new law that will
  open work opportunities, ease travel restrictions in Europe and end charges of ``second-class citizenship.''

  Many in struggling Caribbean economies said they would search for jobs in Britain.

  Others said they would use the British passports for travel to countries such as the United States, which does not require visas of British passport
  holders but does require them for people holding passports particular to the territories, such as the Turks and Caicos Islands.

  ''For many years, I wanted to travel to the United States,'' said Willie O'Garro, 60, of Montserrat. ``I haven't been in touch with my family in the Bronx for
  years, but I know they are still alive.''

  Currently, with his Montserrat passport, he would need to travel to the nearest U.S. Embassy, in Barbados, to apply for a visa.

  The British Overseas Territories Bill, passed by the British Parliament in February, restores full British citizenship to the people of 12 overseas territories
  after nearly 20 years. About 150,000 people are affected.

  In the Caribbean area, the new law applies to Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, the Cayman Islands, the Turks and Caicos and Montserrat.

  By noon, more than 100 people had applied for British passports in Montserrat, said government spokesman Elijah Silcott.

  Sylvester Allen, 30, said he would use the passport to search for work. In 1995, Montserrat's Soufriere Hills volcano sprang to life and destroyed the
  capital, Plymouth, and the only industries. Half the 11,000 residents have left.

  ''The economy isn't so hot right now,'' Allen said. ``All my family is in Britain so I am planning to make a big move.''