The vast majority of legislators in the British Virgin Islands were a no-show at the official parade to mark the Queen’s birthday celebrations at the weekend.
Besides Premier Dr D Orlando Smith and Health Minister Ronnie Skelton who were absent because they are on official business in Asia, Acting Premier Dr Kedrick Pickering, Education Minister Myron Walwyn, and Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie were the only legislators present at the function held at the AO Shirley Recreation Grounds in Road Town.
The remaining eight legislators Mark Vanterpool, Archibald Christian, Marlon Penn, Delores Christopher, Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull, Hubert O’Neal, Alvera Maduro Caines, and Opposition member Julian Fraser were absent.
Majority of the territory seems to have followed the absentee legislators’ lead, as the parade was noticeably smaller than previous years.
The glaring absenteeism comes amid the ‘public registers’ controversy between the BVI and the United Kingdom. The UK is being accused of infringing on the territory’s constitutional rights — a so-called offence that is not sitting well with several locals.
Despite the ongoing controversy between the motherland and the territory, Governor Augustus Jaspert said, in keeping with tradition, Her Majesty will still be gifted with a pound of salt mined from the BVI’s Salt Island.
Fewer schools marched
Meanwhile, schools that participated in this year’s parade include St Georges Secondary and Elmore Stoutt High School. They were the only two secondary educational facilities that participated.
The Agape Total Life Academy, Alexandrina Maduro, Francis Lettsome, Isabella Morris, Leonora Delville and the Ebenezer Thomas were the participatory schools in the primary division.
In addition to the aforementioned schools, paramilitary groups such as officers from Her Majesty’s Prison, Fire and Rescue Services, Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) and the Virgin Islands Cadette Corps took part.
The Boys Brigade, BVI Girl Guides, BVI Red Cross, Girls Brigade, and Mentoring Anointed Leaders Everywhere (MALE) also participated.
As customary, several officers were bestowed with medals for long service and good conduct in the RVIPF. One prison officer was recognised during the event.
Below is a breakdown of the awards for years of service in the RVIPF. Persons were awarded in 18, 25, and 30-year categories.
Constables: Daniel Ceasor, Bruce Huggins, Otis Martin and Llewellyn Olliviere.
Sergeants: Kevin Joseph and Vernon Larocque.
Constables: Clyde Farrington, Rudolph David, Elvis Richards, Cyril Thomas, Job Trumpet and O’Carol Williams-Olliviere.
Sergeants: Claude Rhymer, Steve George (Ag) and George James.
Inspectors: John Rhymer, Selwyn Rock and Bill Johnney (Chief).
Sergeants: Kenneth Arthur and Rawle Gibbons.
Inspector Ivor Fraser and Superintendent Claudius Charles.
Her Majesty’s Prison
Sergeant Seymour Phillip was awarded for his 25 year-milestone in the prison service.
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