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A beautiful mind | VIP honours entrepreneur living with cerebral palsy

Local entrepreneur living with cerebral palsy, Karyn Alexander (left), and VIP Chairman, Andrew Fahie. (Photo provided)

Several individuals including Karyn Alexander, an entrepreneur living with cerebral palsy, were recognized at the 47th anniversary gala of the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) on Saturday.

Despite her condition — which is a neurological disorder that affects body movement and muscle coordination — 24-year-old Alexander has been making waves in her educational advancement.

The Virgin Gorda resident holds an associate’s degree from the H Lavity Stoutt Community College, as well as a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and Media Studies from Arizona State University.

She has ambitions of one day expanding Karyn’s Place – her small children’s store on Virgin Gorda – obtaining a master’s degree in Business Journalism and becoming an advertising agent and freelance writer.

VIP Chairman Andrew Fahie was also an honoree. He was recognised for his role in revamping the party at the Save the Seed centre in Duffs Bottom.

Following is a list of all other honorees at Saturday’s VIP gala.

Ralph T O’Neal

Former Chief Minister Ralph T O’Neal was also honoured at Saturday’s event. Coupled with his years as a legislator, O’Neal was a civil servant, which includes his time as a primary school teacher.

His tenure as a civil servant started in 1956 and ended in 1969 when he started as a junior administrative officer and clerk for the Legislative Council. He was the first in many things including as the first telecommunications officer and Labour Commissioner. He rose through the ranks and held posts such as Chief Education Officer and secretary to the government, a post now referred to as the Deputy Governor.

He served in many ministerial capacities such as Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Minister for Education & Culture, and minister for health and welfare.

He holds a diploma in government and political science as well as in economic development from Trinity College and Oxford University, respectively.

Edris O’Neal

The former Chief Minister’s wife, Reverend Edris O’Neal, was another awardee.

She has been a minister of the gospel for more than 30 years, working in Guyana and in the BVI at the Sea Cows Bay Congregation as a volunteer in the BVI circuit, and coordinator of the Women’s Work ministry.

In addition, she has worked as a religious instructor at the Elmore Stoutt High School and has held positions such as Director of the BVI Red Cross for 22 years, sat on many committees, and garnered several awards for her life-long work.

She holds a college diploma, a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and a master’s degree in School Administration from the United Theological College, the Rider and Princeton Theological Seminaries.

Prince MacDonald Stoutt

The late Prince MacDonald Stoutt was a former local constable, politician and brother to the late Chief Minister H Lavity Stoutt.

In 1977 Stoutt entered local politics, serving on the Legislative Council and as Second Electoral District representative for a number of years.

A former member of the VIP and government backbencher, Stoutt passed away on October 29 2008.

Harold Griffin Smith

Captain, sportsman, fisherman, boat builder and carpenter, Harold Griffin Smith has been a long-serving public servant.

In the past, he held posts such as deputy security manager at the BVI Ports Authority and terminal supervisor until he retired in 2013.

Smith has been a long-standing member of the VIP since the 70’s and a cricket and softball lover.

Leontine Lettsome

Pastry chef and hat maker, Leontine Lettsome was also honoured.

One of her proud moments was meeting and presenting one of her straw hats to Princess Alexandra when she visited the territory.

The 80-year-old has been a VIP supporter for decades.

Kenrick Headley, Jr

Kenrick Headley, Jr — also known as KJ — is a father, husband, graphic designer and local entrepreneur.

His brand ‘BeVI’ which later included ‘BVI Strong’, ‘BeVI Patriotic Tee’ and ‘VI Loyal Tee’ shirts which have taken the territory by storm, focuses on the cultural aspect of the islands.

Ayana Hull

Ayana Hull is an attorney-at-law, writer, businesswoman and mother. She was recognized for her contribution to the territory.

She is the legal counsel, money laundering and reporting officer for the New Life Baptist Church and the current chairperson of the National Parks Trust, among other things.

Sheann Penn Maduro

Sheann Penn Maduro is another woman who is said to be involved in youth work and the church for more than 20 years.

Among her noteworthy achievements is revitalizing the youth group and steel pan programme at the Zion Hill Methodist Church.

She is employed as a senior corporate administrator at Coverdale Trust Services Limited.

Raul ‘Jougo’ Sprauve

Raul ‘Jougo’ Sprauve is a well-known local artiste associated with the five-time Road March Champion band – VIBE.

He is also the CEO of Home Grown Studios and has recorded songs with the likes of Beenie Man and Gabrielle Denae.

He has been married for the last 13 years and has two children.

Honorees at Saturday’s VIP gala.

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  1. My take says:


  2. Clearly says:

    VIP has bounced back nicely. I am convinced that they are ready to run the country.

    Like 13
    Dislike 2
  3. Truth says:

    Like Fahie or not the man gets things done. He is a true leader.

    Like 13
    Dislike 1
  4. Beautiful says:

    This was touching.

    Like 10
    Dislike 1
  5. NDP Supporter says:

    I have to give VIP credit…this is a class act that must be commended.

    Like 13
    Dislike 1
  6. Even better says:

    I thought that the VIP 46th Anniversary Gala was good but this 47th Gala was par excellence.

    Like 10

    I take this time to thank VIP for their thoughtfulness. This is the type of leadership the VI needs.

    Like 11
  8. Great says:

    This was so GREAT!!!

  9. vip heckler says:

    How come they didn’t honor hon julian fraser? He was a past member too

    Like 2
    Dislike 10
  10. lol says:

    he is trying hard to get back headley’s support

    Like 2
    Dislike 5
  11. think we stupid? says:

    Only because sheep running with he and he didn’t want juogo to run against luce

    Like 2
    Dislike 6
  12. On point says:

    This event was on point.

    Like 6
    Dislike 1
  13. Good says:

    Great stuff!!! Regardless of political choice, nobody can say that this wasn’t an excellent initiative! It’s great to see our young people especially, being recognized for their positive actions and accomplishments.

  14. Servers says:

    The event was a good gesture, but for persons knowing about proper presentation, the linen were not ironed, no designated tables, Chairman not flanked by other members,sitting alone, not enough servers, food service not good, reading all that lengthy dialogue and it was already printed in the booklet. Okay, Zoe, good gesture, but please shine up the professionalism on these events next time. $125.00 per ticket and some server saying, “you can only get one spinach ball; you can only get one meat.” I saw a man telling server, since when one piece of meat cost $125.00,” nearly keeled out…coming to come.

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  15. voiceofthevoiceless says:

    I was at the event and I must admit this was a classy affair. Brilliant idea to merge the young with the old by honoring Stalwarts of the past and potentially the future. Hon. Ralph T Oneal and Rev. Edris Oneal contributions to the territory are truly exemplary. Karyn Alexander is a truly touching and inspiring story and it shows how a determined spirit and with great faith one can overcome all obstacles. All the Honorees were deserving.

    Great work TEAM VIP!

    Like 5
    Dislike 1
  16. @voiceofthevoiceless says:

    Hearing Karyn story got me too. Oh my heart goes out to her.

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