News of the passing of radio personality, promoter and entrepreneur Mr. Neil “Melee” Blyden who died on January 1 shocked the Territory, and at least three legislators took to Facebook to express condolences.
Minister for Communications and Works, Hon. Mark Vanterpool said that Mr. Blyden was his business associate and that his sudden death saddened the community: “No words…regarding the sudden passing of my friend and business associate Mr. Melee. My deepest condolences to his wife Janice and the rest of his family and staff at ZVCR 106.9FM. Neil Blyden was one of a kind, a special man, a gifted man and he will be greatly missed,” Hon. Vanterpool said.
Sixth District Representative, Hon. Alvera Maduro-Caines said that she saw Mr. Blyden a week ago, and described him as a family friend: “Just about every time he saw me, he would say “you are too much of a nice person for politics” last time being a week ago at One Mart Store. I will truly miss you, especially at festival time when I would get you to do ads for Prince & Princess.”
“You were a true family friend who would always look for mammy when she was alive as your mom and mine were good friends. Tortola has lost an icon and myself a good friend. RIP my brother Mr. Melee. You will be missed by all. Condolences to his family from my family,” Hon. Maduro-Caines added.
Leader of the Opposition, and Third District Representative, Hon. Julian Fraser announced that the death of Mr. Blyden is a great loss to the Territory. He recalled that Mr. Blyden contested the 1995 general elections under the Virgin Islands Party: “When the British decided it was time to screw our politics up by introducing the At-Large System, a young and fearless Neil Blyden was more than ready for the challenge in 1995 by becoming one of the first to run. He did so as a VIP. In that election I did not run, but my brother did, so I was very close to the campaign and I was familiar with all the 13 candidates. Neil did not win a seat in that election, but he went on to serve the territory in the capacity of Chairman of the Tourist Board,” Hon. Fraser mentioned.