A wide cross section of the BVI community gathered at the Sea Cow’s Bay Methodist Church on 24 October to bid farewell to media stalwart and pioneer Mr. Merritt Adolphus Herbert at a memorial service.
The service provided a means for the BVI community to have a chance to say goodbye to Mr. Herbert who was buried in Nevis on 14 October following a funeral service at the Combermere Methodist Church.
Mr. Herbert was born on 2 April, 1937 and passed away on Saturday 23 September, 2017 in Connecticut USA. He was the Managing Director of ZBVI Radio which is the only AM radio station here in the BVI and VON Radio (Nevis Broadcasting Company) which is Nevis’ first privately run Radio Station. He was also the owner of the popular Bargain Center.
Following the news of Mr. Herbert’s death Premier and Minister for Finance Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith expressed sadness and referred to Mr. Herbert as an icon. “I am truly saddened at the news of the passing of BVI/Nevis radio icon and historian,” the Premier said.
“Merritt called the BVI home for many years having migrated from Nevis. His biggest influence was felt in our media industry through the founding of ZBVI radio, after having successfully founded VON Radio in Nevis. Over the years, ZBVI has provided the people of our Territory, and beyond our shores, with diverse signature radio programmes catering to every generation and musical genre. Like me, I’m sure that many of you have your favorite programme that you regularly tune into,” Hon. Smith said.
The Premier noted the contribution that ZBVI has made to the Territory over the years and ascribed many of the successes to Mr. Herbert. “My friend Merritt had a keen appreciation for the value of information during important times like hurricanes, special events, House of Assembly meetings, graduations, election coverage and much more. He made sure that through ZBVI, we were all kept informed with live coverage and regular updates. I am glad to see that his staff at ZBVI – Zan, Sandra, Beverley, Iris and the rest of the team – are diligently continuing with this particular aspect of his legacy,” Hon. Smith said.
The BVI Leader also expressed appreciation that Mr. Herbert was honored as an unsung hero prior to his passing. “It is often said that we should give flowers while they can be appreciated, and I know that a few years ago, Merritt was also among those recognized in our community, as an unsung hero by the NLBC (New Life Baptist Church), for his exemplary contributions and work in our media industry and all he did to shine the spotlight on the Territory’s agricultural sector.”
Leader of the Opposition Hon. Andrew Fahie described Mr. Herbert as a great man: “He was a pioneer, a business man, a communication and radio expert, a friend, a trail blazer, a father but most importantly a child of God,” Hon. Fahie added.
In addition to the NLBC honour Mr. Herbert was also acknowledged in Nevis back in 2008 during a ceremony to mark the 25th anniversary of Independence of St. Kitts and Nevis. Mr. Herbert was honoured by the Nevis Island Administration for his contribution to the development of the island at an event that was held on 16 September 2008 at the Old Manor Hotel.
He received a plaque inscribed with the words “Nevis Island Administration Silver Jubilee Award, presented to Merritt Herbert, in Recognition of your contribution to the Private Sector”.
Mr. Herbert is also remembered as a staunch Methodist, a very active Rotarian, a community-service oriented leader, and a Paul Harris Fellow, who never missed a Rotary meeting. He leaves to mourn his wife Harriette, his children and extended family.
The Publishers, Management and Staff of The Island Sun extend deeply felt condolences to the bereaved.