During the H. Lavity Stoutt Commemorative celebrations that were held on Monday 2 March many of the speakers opined that the Territory’s first Chief Minister, and distinguished statesman would have been pleased with the way the BVI has continued to develop.
The first among the speakers to make that announcement was First Lady, Mrs. Lorna Smith, who worked as Hon. H. L. Stoutt’s Permanent Secretary until the point of his sudden death.
In her reflection, Mrs. Smith said: “Today, he would be beaming with pride at the modern, elegant facility that Maria’s by the Sea has become…The BVI IFC would recall seeing him striding proudly through the Hong Kong Airport leading his delegation in 1989, to promote the BVI as a top drawer, world class international finance centre in Asia and beyond. And we continue to move forward in financial services following that historic trip. Mr. Stoutt, the nation builder, would be proud to know that we have advanced his dream by now establishing an office there.”
“If Mr. Stoutt was still among us he would not let us become complacent. Yes he would be happy with our progress but he would remind us that ‘life is not a destination, it’s a journey’. Minister Walwyn commented that he would applaud this Government’s many efforts at nation building, particularly those expressed through our beautiful national dress and our powerful and evocative national song,” Mrs. Smith added.
Minister for Education and Culture, Hon. Myron Walwyn also stated that the late Leader would have been pleased with the development of the Territory. “Being the progressive man that he was, I do believe that he would be proud to see the magnificent work that is going on to expand our cruise pier – a project that he initially started.”
Hon. Walwyn added that Hon. Stoutt would be proud to see the work that is being done to improve the Territory’s road network and sewage disposal, which the Minister said is continuation of the building work he did to put paved roads in areas that before were impassable.
“He would be proud to see our new modern hospital and he would be pleased to see our strides to make healthcare accessible to even the poorest among us; he would be proud to see the advancement of our financial services in the opening of our new Asia Office; he would be proud to see that we now have a state of the art technical high school to give our students the skills and certification to prepare them for jobs in the various technical fields; he would be proud to see that despite the economy’s difficulties that many countries in the world are facing right now, the Virgin Islands is still holding its own and while we continue to build up the infrastructure of the territory we are still being responsible by building up our financial reserves;” Hon. Walwyn noted.
The Minister also announced that Hon. Stoutt would also be proud to see that the BVI is looking towards expanding its airport so that the Territory can directly service the travel needs of both visitors and residents to connect to the rest of the world.
First District Representative, Hon. Andrew Fahie in his reflections on the life and legacy of Hon. Stoutt said: “H. L. Stoutt was the Virgin Islands’ modern days Moses. He always believed in the Bible verse that states…”where there is no vison the people shall perish.”
“Indeed he was a visionary and it was fitting that he was our Territory’s first Chief Minister. His ability to take challenges and turn them into opportunities for present and future generations was a remarkable trait of his character as a leader. Today we are still benefitting from his contributions or rather from the fruits of his labor through the HL Stoutt Community College, secondary education for all persons, a solid education foundation for the Territory, Financial Services, many public roads especially in the country sides and outside the Town area, and the list goes on,” Hon. Fahie added.