BVI News

Major plans to use Old Gov’t House to showcase more of BVI history

Scene from a fundraising event held to hlep finance the restoration of Old Government House in Road Town.

Major plans are afoot to showcase several aspects of the British Virgin Islands’ history and culture as part of the move to revamp Old Government House in Road Town.

Dr Michael Kent, a member of the committee in charge of the undertaking, told BVI News on Thursday that the grounds of the current garden at Old Government House will be dedicated to various critical historical aspects.

“At the moment, we got the basic template of what it is we are trying to do with the garden, and it is likely that we will concentrate on the garden to have something open for the season late this year,” he said.

“We are going to make the garden into a museum landscape, dividing the garden into sections each representing different areas, each dedicating to a different aspect of Virgin Islands history, the Governor’s relationship with the Virgin Islands, and the United Kingdom’s relationship.”

Dr Kent explained that there would be a pergola at the top of the garden equipped with waterproof speakers so persons can listen to recordings of testimonies of life in the territory in the 20s, 30s and 40s.

“We are also going to have fungi music so people are going to have a real flavour of music just by sitting in the pergola,” he added.

Meanwhile, plans for a stone oven, a coal pit, a Tortola sloop sculpture and a section to honour men and women from the territory and Commonwealth who served in the United Kingdom armed forces and medicinal plants will also be part of the upgrade.

A fundraiser to help finance the initiative was held on the property on Thursday.

Millie Jaspert, wife of Governor Augustus Jaspert, who spearheaded the ‘Love Old Government House’ initiative in January said the fundraiser was one of many to come.

“We are working hard to raise money. It is just a beautiful place, but it was so damaged by the hurricanes that it has been closed since 2017,” she said.

The Old Government House Committee partnered with Cedar International School’s drama club to present several performances from Shakespeare at the fundraising event.

The committee is hoping to raise $500,000 to undertake the proposed works.

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47 Comments

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  1. East End says:

    Where are the local? look at who are interested in BVI history. We need to love each other and stop the hate.

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    • Observer says:

      I thought the same thing, when I first look at the picture.
      Now,was this invitation made publicly to all?
      Let’s not jump to conclusions.

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      • Happy says:

        It was on the Community Board a few times, everyone welcome.

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        • @Happy says:

          Most Africans could care less about Shakespeare, they knew that most of us would not have an interest in this event.

      • Balance says:

        Ermin Penn, a well-known local historian and Committee Member, played a lead role in the fundraiser earlier this year and has also been fully involved in leading the current initiative.I’m surprised she isn’t mentioned in the article…or the other local women like Verna Penn Moll and Dora Scatliffe who have also been heavily involved. Our local historians who are hard at work every day should be highlighted in moments like these.

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        • @Balance says:

          Never happen. The colonialist mentality and its current offspring and take over agenda will never include them.

          That is not their wish, desire or intention.

          Truthfully, if all local history could today be erased from the history books, except for the slave narrative, they would do do.

          Their agenda is to come in, be at the forefront, take over, control everything and everyone. That is their nature.

          We had better open our eyes. wake up and stop them before it is to late.

          Review history and there it will be found that these words are true.

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      • School children says:

        It was advertised a lot on Facebook. It was done in the afternoon about 1pm. Maybe because of the school children. And maybe that’s why the people in the audience are mostly retirees.

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      • Actor there says:

        Yes it was made public to all it was on the BVI community Board on Facebook

    • SMDH says:

      They were not invited.

      How about contacting the people who know about BVI culture. Mrs P, Mrs Jennie Wheatley and many others.

      This is a joke.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Ermin Penn, a well-known local historian and Committee Member, played a lead role in the fundraiser earlier this year and has also been fully involved in leading the current initiative. I’m surprised she isn’t mentioned in the article…or the other local women like Verna Penn Moll and Dora Scatliffe who have also been heavily involved.

      • @ Anonymous from Patricia G. Turnbull says:

        I am not at all surprised that the Virgin Islands women you mentioned are excluded from the article. They are effective and influential leaders in VI history and heritage and the Govt House project stands to benefit much from their contributions. It may have been unintentional on the part of the media or the public relations board member filing the news release; however, such exclusion is classic in the telling of colonial history.

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        • Bad timing says:

          Mrs Ermin Penn introduced the event and spoke about the importance of Old Government House. Unfortunately I think the journalist arrived a little late and missed that. I guess she had many other things to cover that day.

        • Anonymous says:

          None of the actors were named either and Cedar set the majority of it up

        • @Pat G. Turnbull says:

          Absolutely correct, true and factual!!

          But all knowledgeable people know that, when it comes to truth, some cannot face or accept it, especially the colonialist and his offspring. Observe there reactions when factal narratives are posted here relative to them and their history.

          A million thumbs pupa!! Like someone is intentionally posting untrue, unsubstatiated and incorrect historical lies about them. Additionally, follow this thread and one will identify the same pattern of human disingenuiousness.

          However, their inability to face historical and cultural facts about themselves will not stop the knowledgable from speaking and writing truth when so ever is needed.

          Further, whether Ms. Penn gave the opening speech or not, images are powerful and they know so. Thus, the exposing of the hopeful rulers within the next fifty years or less. The exclusion of Ms. Penn and others from the photo was most likely also deliberate.

          Indeed, the exclusion of our knowlegable women minds such as yours and others from the project, with regards to our history was and is a calculated one, right down to finest detail, yes the media publication.

          Dem think we schupid nah! Well foulcock don’t threading and we don’t learning.

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    • Colonial history? says:

      Virgin Islanders are not largely defined by our relationship with the Governor or the UK….. something amiss here… What about other historical sites?

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    • Help says:

      Well, why not invite local schools to preform? This sector of the community is all about segregation. They try to include us a little to show face.

      • Director says:

        This article unfortunately slightly misrepresents the event. One teacher and five children decided to raise money for a local initiative and sought texts that would work well in the space. The high school drama teacher was contacted and invited but, although keen, was unable to get the necessary permission in the short time frame. The idea was that students from the high school might be able to perform some Caribbean literature to balance the event. This material would not have been not appropriate for the five international children who volunteered. The college was also contacted and students from there were also invited to perform. Although teachers there passed the message on, no students were forthcoming. These are the only 2 other Drama programs for older students that were known of. Many people were personally invited from the local community, especially those known to have an interest in Performing Arts. It is a shame that the event wasn’t better balanced in performers or in the small audience. Next time more time might be taken in the planning. It might also be worth looking into the permissions process for local schools as those prevented wider participation and potential visits to schools.

      • actor says:

        They were invited

  2. Plabaggasted says:

    Plabaggasted, i am!

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  3. mmario says:

    The locals are stuck in the past talking about i am from here but when they really need to show up they don’t.

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  4. mmario says:

    where are all the I’m from here people? This is where you need to be present b/c it is going to affect you.

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  5. Me says:

    It’s too funny eh! All the locals out there shouting and hating on the expats who call here their home but yet look who represent the BVI. Where are the local audience even? You can’t even get them to volunteer to help their fellow man. Just hypocritical!

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    • Enough Already! says:

      I am a proud BVIslander and I am sick and tired of you people on this site especially using every opportunity to bash BVIslanders. Stop it!!!

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  6. Fun afternoon out says:

    I went to the event and it was great! Lots of locals were there too (a photo from a different angle would show a different story). And a Virgin Islander with a beautiful voice also volunteered her time and sang as part of performance. She’s called Ms Julia Leonard and she’s very talented.

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  7. Comment says:

    BVI history? The dominant emphasis is on British Colonial History in the BVI, particularly of the colonial agenda and its administration, and the colonists. How local is that? BVI people are not stupid! That accounts for the composition of that audience. The brick oven, fungi music etc serve more as token’cultural’ accessories.

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  8. ???? says:

    I thought that most of what’s being proposed is already or perhaps should be at the botanical garden atea.
    I also agree with some of the other comments that this is simply an emphasis on colonialism.

    This is prime real estate that can facilitate either appartment buildings or low-cost homes. Something beneficial to the common working persons.

    The photo here displayed is indicative of the true tenents of the proposal.

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  9. @ fun afternoon out says:

    Ms. Leonard and the “lots of locals” are certainly NOT represented in this photo. An innocent decision ?

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    • Lodger says:

      He took lots of photos. Pity nly this one used.

      • Right photo used says:

        This play was about the children’s depiction of a shapespear play. Alot of hard work and dedication was put in by the children and teacher for this year’s travel course at Cedar School. It was all in good intention to benefit the Old Governor House Museum. Both locals and expats associated with the OGHM was involved here and played key roles.
        The photo chosen by the person who wrote this article was to highlight the wonderful performance by children and I’m quite sure this person would not have guessed the story would receive these types of comments that are here.
        Has anyone stopped to think and appreciate the work behind this play rather than being swept away by current local and expat bashing?
        Just imagine the emotions of these amazing performers who might be reading these comments and are unaware of the resentful atmoshphere we are now sensing.
        My fellow lovely inhabitants of these beautiful Virgin Islands lets appreciate and give thanks when something good is being done rather than constantly look for the negative.
        Lets avoid trying to create a mindset for our young children by spreading our biased opinions.
        As a matter of fact, lets try to look for the good in everything before we look for the bad.
        I want to say that this teacher last year took her travel course group to Jost Van Dyke everyday for one week to meet the children over there where a play was written, rehearsed and performed for that school in JVD in one week.
        Who knows the comments should that been published at the time.
        Please don’t make this controversial. It’s all in good intentions!

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        • @ right photo used says:

          No personal attacks have been levelled at the hardworking teacher and students. History does show that those who refuse to acknowledge change in ongoing colonial systems and institutiond, have always viewed those who resist and question oppressive relations of power as trouble makers. Any progressive educator will appreciate that an interrogating the status quo in its cultural reproduction and/or promotion of colonial systems is not only valid but liberating and transformative. Perhaps the OGHM and its patrons might consider offering the same kind of endorsement & support to other struggling cultural groups who are trying to tell the VI story of their ancestors from an anti-colonial or grassroots perspective.

    • actor says:

      Ms. Leonard is in the photo but one of the actors is in the way so the angle was just a bad one

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    • Person says:

      Just BTW. The photos that were taken on that day were taken by people for b.v.i news.

  10. Love says:

    It’s the right photo taken, God allowed that,we love the BVI and are here to help to build the country. I wish we can just stop the hate and LOVE

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Colonization at its finest!

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  12. @ right photo used says:

    No personal attacks have been levelled at the hardworking teacher and students. History does show that those who refuse to acknowledge change in ongoing colonial systems and institutions have always viewed those who resist and question oppressive relations of power as trouble makers. Any progressive educator will appreciate that interrogating the status quo in its cultural reproduction and/or promotion of colonial systems is not only valid but liberating and transformative. Perhaps the OGHM and its generous patrons might consider offering the same kind of endorsement & support to other struggling cultural groups who have also been trying to tell the VI story of their ancestors from an anti-colonial or grassroots perspective.

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  13. Verna Penn Moll says:

    The drama teacher of the Cedar School, instead of just staging her students end- of- term Play at the School, volunteered to stage it at the Old Government House Museum (OGH) and to donate all proceeds to the rebuilding of the Museum. And yes, what went on in this country from the 1600s on, is a part of Virgin Islands History. So yes, the Old Government House Museum records a part of Virgin islands History, whether we want to accept it or not. That is history. We cannot change it.

    The event was advertised on social media and on the Community Bulletin Board. The time at 1.30 pm was inconvenient for many persons who would have otherwise attended if it were later, but the timing had to facilitate the students and their parents, whose regular transportation was already arranged. Nevertheless, it was well supported and there was mixed gathering.

    The development plans of the OGH Museum are intended to complement those of other Museums and are subject to revision and amendment.
    It is true that artefacts like the Dutch Oven maybe more appropriately left to the Folk or other Museums, but there was a Dutch Oven on the site, which was used at Government House in the old days; in fact, it was in that same oven that the Commissioner’s wife took shelter during the 1924 hurricane. So the oven does have some relevance in the history of the place.

    The event was a volunteer fund-raiser by the Cedar School for the rebuilding of OGH Museum and we do appreciate their good spirit of generosity.

    We appeal to the total community, including the bloggers to support other fund-raisers and cultural events. We would love to see larger audiences at, for instance, the launching of books by local authors. Wherever, there is a ‘labour of love’ it should be generously supported.

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  14. Eaxpat says:

    Hahaha!!!! The white invasion has began trying to keep the caribbean black people down with the protest of new immigration laws and now you see a room of white and indians and asking where the local. East End. Lol

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Jillian Dunlop
    As friend and colleague of OGHM Board member Verna Penn Moll I would like to wholeheartedly endorse her sentiments and look forward to other schools in these islands wishing to perform their plays or poetry readings on the terrace of OGHM as its renovation schedule continues. The donation revenue gathered in at this event not only showed appreciation of enjoyable creative performances by the children involved but could I would hope set the tone for more afternoon performances by school pupils from neighbouring schools all of which would meet with encouragement and assistance by
    Board members as did the well received event this week

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