The British Virgin Islands honoured six former legislators who have impacted the territory’s social, economic, political and cultural history in one way or the other.
The honorees were Ethlyn Smith, Omar Hodge, Reeial George, John Brudenell- Bruce, Anando Scatiliffe and the only living honoree Eileene Parsons.
The ceremony took place on Monday at the Government Administration Complex in Road Town under the theme: On whose shoulders we stand.
Parsons affectionately referred to as Miss P, is a former educator and made history when she became the first female government minister. She served in the capacity as Minister for Health, Education and Welfare as well as Deputy Chief Minister.
She was bestowed with the Order of the British Empire award from Her Majesty the Queen on September 2013 for her long-standing service to the territory.
Today she is the new Chairperson of the Territory Day Planning Committee, a post she inherited following the passing of the honourable Delores Christopher.
Smith served for many years in the public service beginning as a clerical trainee and made her way to the top of the proverbial ladder as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communication and Works.
She was also the first female to hold the post of Accountant General in the territory. Following her public service career, she entered into the political sphere. She was the member of the Fifth Electoral District and Minister for Health and Welfare. She passed away on December 31 2007.
The ‘People’s Man,’ late legislator Hodge was also honoured. Hodge served in various capacities during his political career such as Deputy Speaker, Member of the Opposition, Government Member, and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour among others.
He also had a long public service career where he worked in the Department of Agriculture for 12 years. The former businessman passed away on December 20 2017.
Virgin Gorda born, George was the first BV Islander to join the Antigua, Montserrat and Virgin Islands Police Force to serve locally. An architect and a former founding member of the Virgin Gorda Lions Club in 1974, he at one point served as the Deputy District Governor for the club as mentioned earlier.
Following the death of the honourable Robinson O’Neal, he was elected to serve Anegada and Virgin Gorda, a district called the Seventh District in those days.
United Kingdom native, Bruce moved to the territory after retirement in the diplomatic service.
The former businessman was elected as the first of four men to hold office in the Legislative Council in the territory.
“His dream was that the BVI should build on its own future and identity and not be lumped into some large group to be lost. Today his dream lives on in the development of the BVI by its elected members,” a commemorative booklet indicated.
He passed away in 1960, and his daughter Diana Bruce still owns and operates Little Denmark on Main Street.
Another former member of the Legislative Council, Scatliffe, was remembered for his contribution to debates. Today his legacy lives on in his fast food restaurant – Scato’s, which is often denoted as the BVI’s version of Kentucky Fried Chicken.
He was also a volunteer fireman, community worker, chairman of the Prisons Visiting Justices Committee and the former President of the Rotary Club of Tortola.
Scatliffe was married to Sylvia Turner-Scatliffe and the father of five children. He passed away in 1997.
To commemorate the day further, the BVI Heritage Dancers, Arliene Penn and Jeremy Vanterpool entertained the gathering.
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