It was truly a celebration of life for the late Hon. Delores Christopher who departed this world on 16 October and was laid to rest on 3 November.
There were at least three periods of reflections on the life of the BVI legislator — the first was while she laid in state at the House of Assembly chambers on 2 November. During that phase persons who went to show their final respects were treated to a wonderful photographic display outside of the chambers depicting scenes of Hon. Christopher’s legislative life. Chiefly featured were images from the inaugural BVI Festival of Arts, which the late Legislator spearheaded.
Later that day, in homage to the fact that the late Hon. Christopher was always regarded as a cultural icon, a fitting programme was held at the Eileene Parsons Auditorium, at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College in celebration of the dear departed cultural contribution to the Territory. During that programme many in the community delivered various renditions in her honor.
The following day was the somber occasion of the farewell service for Hon. Christopher; however, that occasion was dotted with sprigs of laughter — as speakers such as her brother Maurice Lettsome and Leader of the Opposition Hon. Andrew Fahie reminisced about a few humorous moments they shared with Hon. Christopher.
Among the speakers at the funeral were At Large Representative, Hon. Archibald Christian who told the congregation that Hon. Christian was resilient: “She fought to the end, on the day that she passed I was there.”
Hon. Christian said that Hon. Christopher had an impact on his life and he recalled how she encouraged him when he lost twice after campaigning for the First District: “She was a fighter, always fighting for her people… She was always prepared to put her people first,” he mentioned.
Second District Representative, Hon. Melvin Mitch Turnbull in his speech at the funeral said: “Her life was one that depicted giving… One of true devotion to country, to family and she invested heavily in people including myself…She was passionate about preserving the culture, remembering our history, not being ashamed of who we are as a Virgin Islands people; and not being afraid to speak her mind at any given time no matter who was in the audience no matter where and no matter how.”
Hon. Christopher’s daughter Najan gave insight into the private life of the late Fifth District Representative. In noting Hon. Christopher’s journey into politics Najan said: “After 30 years in the civil service mommy made her first bid for political office as an At Large candidate in 1999. She was not successful, but she soon came to realize that her best fit as a candidate would be as a District Representative.”
“She contested again in 2003 elections to represent District Five and she was successful. This platform as an elected official gave mommy the opportunity to pursue some long held convictions, specifically about the importance of BVI Culture and our way of life. She reveled in BVI culture, she loved the sound of fungi music. She loved that several of the guys of her generation and younger people are still keeping this music alive,” Hon. Christopher’s daughter announced.
While paying further tribute to her mother, Najan said: “The importance of family to her is something that I cannot state in the best words…We acknowledge that in fact our household will never be the same…She tried to be a mother to the entire community, she supported our dreams and aspirations fiercely, as a mother as she did for many members of our community.”
The late Hon. Delores Christopher was born on 23 October, 1947 in the Old Plantation, and grew up in the village of Long Look. In 1972 Hon. Christopher married Robert Christopher to whom she bore three children. In June 1998 she retired from the civil service
In May 1999 Hon. Christopher contested the general elections as a candidate for an At Large seat on the National Democratic Party ticket, but she was unsuccessful. In 2003 she was successful. She was however not so lucky in the 2007 general elections but was able to regain her seat in 2011 and maintained her representation of the Fifth District in the 2015 general elections.
She is survived by her: Husband – Robert Christopher; Sons – Troy and Art Christopher; Daughter – Najan Christopher; Granddaughters – Nandi and Layla Makeda Christopher; Daughters-In-Law – Nelsia Christopher, and Sachkia Barnes; Brothers – Tadio, Maurice, and Melville Lettsome; as a number of other relative and friends.
The publishers, management and staff of The Island Sun newspaper extend heartfelt condolences to the relatives and friends of the late Hon. Delores Christopher.