grenada-flag_web.jpgST. GEORGE'S — The government is mandating that all foreigners who seek citizenship first obtain permanent residence status.

Previously, foreigners could become citizens if they lived in the country for seven years. Now they have to obtain permanent residence status within the seven-year period and then live on the island for another two years before applying for citizenship.

Those who are permanent residents can live and work on the island without a permit but are not allowed to vote, buy property or obtain a passport.

ST. GEORGE'S — Parliament has overhauled the criminal code to greatly increase prison terms for certain offenses and to recognize new crimes, including marital rape.

Prime Minister Tillman Thomas said the 62 new amendments also allow magistrates to issue suspended and community service sentences.

Under the new laws, those accused of sexual offenses including rape now face 30 years in prison, compared to previous sentences ranging from five to 15 years. Anyone convicted of burglary will face 30 years in prison, compared with the previous five-year sentence.

The criminal code saw only minor changes since it was first created in 1968.