BVI News

Former Premier Ralph T O’Neal has died at 85

Former Premier the Honourable Ralph T O’Neal has died.

BVI News understands that the retired legislator passed away sometime on Monday, November 11.

The immediate circumstances surrounding his death are not yet clear but the former premier has been known to have a history of illness in recent years.

While announcing his passing in a brief statement on Monday, the family of the decorated politician said, “additional official information will follow”.

His passing comes a little more than a month before his 86th birthday.

O’Neal who hails from Virgin Gorda holds the record as the longest-serving elected representative in the territory and is recognised for his outstanding contributions in service of the British Virgin Islands.

He has served as Chief Minister, Premier, and Opposition Leader throughout his political career.

Copyright 2021 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.


Disclaimer: BVI News and its affiliated companies are not responsible for the content of comments posted or for anything arising out of use of the comments below or other interaction among the users.

  1. DICKSON IGWE says:

    A VERY TOUGH AND BRILLIANT LEADER PASSES ON. Ralph O’Neal OBE was a figure of Caribbean and Commonwealth history.

    Like 35
    Dislike 1
  2. Sad says:

    My condolences to his family. He was a very pleasant man and will be missed.

    Like 27
    Dislike 1
    • Rob & Barb Bender says:

      We always enjoyed Ralph O’Neal after getting to know him from events at Nail Bay and in particular a wonderful Christmas party at Little Dix Bay. He was always fun and interesting to talk to. He will be missed and we will always call the BVI our second home. Out deep condolences go out to his lovely wife, family, and the people of he BVI. May God be with you all.

  3. island man says:


    Like 18
  4. Bvislander, NYC says:

    The British Virgin Island lost a Iconic figure. Condolences to Mr.Ralph family. Flags should be lowered half staff.

    Like 17
    Dislike 3
  5. Condolences says:

    Condolences go out to his family, loved ones, colleagues and friends.

    Like 9
    Dislike 1
  6. 8th District Gyal says:

    A true statesman whose legacy will forever remain in our heart and the annals of history. Sincerest condolences to his family and loved ones. Rest on, Honourable Ralph O’Neal.

    Like 11
  7. Rockville Center, Maryland says:

    Condolences to to the O’neal family. So true, the BVI has indeed lost a iconic figure.

    Like 14
    Dislike 1
  8. Reply says:

    An end of an era. Mr. Oneal, imo, was a true BVI Islander to his core who loved this island nation and it’s people and dedicated his life to it, and public service.

    Our country owes him a debt of gratitude for his lifes’ effort for the betterment of this country. He deserves our appreciation.

    Mr. Oneal has been active in public life for donkey years. Long before he entered politics, he was a teacher in our earlier public schools.

    My mom, told me many moons ago, that Mr. Oneal taught her in school when she was a young girl. I queried, Mamma you’re sure? She retorted: “Yes…I may be old but I’m not crazy.”

    She recall him travelling from Virgin Gorda to East End to teach at the East End Methodist Church, and somehow recalled him wearing the same shirt, pant, and pair of shoes each time. Despite that, as per her, he still made that journey by boat to teach.

    Fast forward to my high school graduation in the late 70s, and I recall him telling us graduates that “The future of the BVI is in our hands”.

    No truer words could have been spoken. As I look around the BVI today, and see so many of my fellow classmates embrace the entrepreneurial spirit, engage in public service of their own, or pursue wonderful careers in the private sector, I often recall those words Mr. Oneal spoke to us over four decades ago.

    If there is one thing that can be said of Mr. Oneal and the legacy he leaves behind, it is this:

    He was a truly dedicated public servant whose life of public service spans multiple generations.

    For that dedication, I personally thank him.

    May he rest peacefully. My sincere condolences to the O’Neal family.

    Like 15
  9. BuzzBvi says:

    Rest in Peace. A great innings well played. Respect.

  10. E. Leonard says:

    The former Premier (first Premier)Ralph T. Oneal was more than an experienced politician; he was a statesman and a long serving civil servant. He was a true Virgin Islander/ Virgin Gordian. Spending all his life as a public servant, he leaves behind a strong record of accomplishments, legacy and some BIG shoes to fill. He was a ready source of knowledge in effective governing and he will be missed. History will be kind to him. Warmest condolences to the family and may he rest in eternal peace.

    Like 11
  11. Well Said says:

    My condolences goes to his family at this time. I ask that our great God wrap his mighty arms around them.

    I am thankful that the BVI was truly blessed with this son of the soil who wanted nothing but the absolute absolute best for the BVI.

  12. Ausar says:

    I just want to offer my condolences to the O’Neal family on the passing of our former Premier,Ralph O’Neal!

    Truly, he was one of the founders of “Modern Day BVI”, and his speeches as Premier, will be remembered as a guiding force that sustained the homeland, in good and bad times.

    He will be missed and the country is forever grateful for his major contributions, that have anchored,and will continue to anchor, this country; now and for eternity!

Leave a Comment