Officially given citizenship Thursday, woman says she was long a Jamaican
By Gavin Riley
‘I’m a proud Jamaican but on paper I become a citizen today!’ With that Sangeeta Sharma announced her status and pride.
Among the 32 individuals who became certified citizens of Jamaica on Thursday, ‘officially’ being a Jamaican in every sense of the term was an incredible feeling for Sangeeta Sharma.
Sharma, who has lived in Jamaica for the past 18 years, is originally from Calcutta, India. She sat down with Jamaica Today after the swearing-in ceremony at the Police Officers’ Club in St. Andrew.
Sharma said that Jamaicans are easily the most passionate group of people the world over and to be able to identify with the deep passion and love means a lot to her.
“Jamaicans are the most warm and loving set of people and I’m very proud and happy to be part of that culture,” she said.
Sharma, who now resides in St. Ann, while working in Falmouth, in the neighbouring parish told Jamaica Today that this island paradise is her home – having lived here for over 18 years. Therefore it was only logical for her to file for full citizenship.
“This is home. I’m not leaving Jamaica, I’m not going anywhere! So finally it was time to make it real on paper too [as a citizen],” she told Jamaica Today.
Sharma also confided that the application process exceeded her expectations as the staff at Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) was extremely patient and helpful in explaining what criteria she needed to meet, documents to have, and so on.
“It actually wasn’t very long. They were very helpful when I went to the PICA office. The application did take about a year in all, and it was a really straightforward process once I had everything in order and they called me about where the ceremony will be held,” she said.
As a big volunteer in Falmouth where she works, Sharma holds a few aspirations for the future of Jamaica.
“I’m very active in helping the community in Falmouth: the hospital, the basic school and I would like to see if my company and myself can come forward and help a lot more in Jamaica – not just concentrated in Falmouth,” she told Jamaica.
Speaking on behalf of the 32 recipients, Sharma noted that she has been a Jamaican-at-heart for many years.
“I’m a proud Jamaican, but on paper I become a citizen today. I have been one at heart for many year now. I have been blessed to live in the beautiful island for the last 18 years. I have been asked the question many times: ‘Why you chose Jamaica as your home?’ and my answer is always the same. I have never met a set of people as helpful, as loving and as warm as the Jamaicans,” she said.