The state-funded funeral for former Premier, Ralph T O’Neal has been scheduled for Wednesday, December 11.
A joint media release the House of Assembly and the Office of the Premier said O’Neal’s body will lie in state at the House of Assembly Chambers on December 9 and December 10 from 10:30 am to 4 pm on both days.
“Additional details regarding the arrangements for the state funeral will be provided in subsequent communications,” the release further said.
Willock chairs Coordination Committee
In the meantime, a Coordination Committee has been formed for the funeral proceedings. The committee — which is said to be working closely with the deceased’s family — is being chaired by Speaker of the House, Julian Willock.
O’Neal died on November 11 at 85 years old. The former Premier, 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.
Below are facts of Ralph T O’Neal’s political career as outlined in the aforementioned government media release:
He was first elected in September 1975 as member for the Seventh District (then Virgin Gorda) and served as the elected representative for the Seventh District until 1979.
He then served as the elected representative for the Ninth District (Virgin Gorda and Anegada) for consecutive terms from 1979 to 2015 until his retirement from active politics in 2015.
On July 6, 2015, the House of Assembly honoured Honourable O’Neal by passing a Resolution bestowing upon him Member Emeritus status.
He was appointed as Chief Minister following the death of Honourable H Lavity Stoutt and served as Chief Minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Development from 1995 to 2003.
He then served as the territory’s first Premier and Minister of Finance from 2007 to 2011. He has also served as a Government Backbencher, and in the capacity of Minister for Social Services (1979 to 1983), Minister for Natural Resources and Labour (1988 to 1994) and Deputy Chief Minister (1988 to 1995).
Honourable O’Neal was born on Virgin Gorda and represented the Ninth District for thirty-six (36) consecutive years before retiring from his political life in 2015.
He has contributed significantly to the development of Virgin Gorda and Anegada and the entire wider Virgin Islands. He has served this Territory in many different capacities including as a teacher, an administrator and political leader.
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