Government officials are expected to honour the late former Premier, Honourable Ralph T O’Neal, with a bust at a reception at the BVI London House during their trip to the United Kingdom (UK) this week.
Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley led a delegation to London to attend the Annual General Meetings of the Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council (JMC), which is expected to participate in the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the BVI London House.
“Over the past year, the London Office embarked on a journey of reflection and appreciation, culminating in the final event, the highlight of which will be the unveiling of a commemorative bust, in honour of the first Premier of the Virgin Islands, Honourable Ralph T O’Neal,” Dr Wheatley said recently.
According to the Premier, it was under O’Neal’s leadership that the BVI London House was purchased. That building has served as the location of the BVI London Office since its inception.
“The two are inseparable. Honourable O’Neal’s vision of the Virgin Islands representing itself in the UK, Europe and beyond via our own Representative Office has been fully realised,” the Premier said.
Dr Wheatley added that O’Neal is worthy of recognition in light of the 20th anniversary of the BVI London Office.
In the meantime, Deputy Premier Lorna Smith described O’Neal as a visionary and said he understood the importance of direct representation in London.
She said the London building not only houses the London Office but is also a revenue earner in that one of the four floors is rented to the private sector.
Smith also described the office as a launch pad for going further into the European Union to places such as Brussels. “It would also give us that kind of direct access to… the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office. So, it’s extremely fitting. It’s in a great address in Mayfair. We got it at an excellent price and it continues to do excellent work for us,” Smith added.
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