The visionary qualities of the first Chief Minister, Hamilton Lavity Stoutt were emphasized as a guide for the Virgin Islands during its journey to economic diversification and further growth. The message was delivered in a comparison format on the occasion of the 24th Annual Memorial Celebration and the 19th Wreath Laying ceremony that was held at Capoons Bay on 4 March.
Premier of the Virgin Islands Hon. Andrew Fahie pointed out that Hon. Stoutt was able to pilot the BVI from a time of awakening to realization of potentials because he was a visionary. “It is said that visionaries look into the future and see things not through the lens of current reality, but see things through the lens of future possibilities.”
In noting the enduring impact Lavity Stoutt had on the Territory Hon. Fahie said: “Hon Stoutt at a time in the Virgin Islands that had felt so ancient, lived in a moment in history when our territory was viewed as small and isolated from the world and deeply rooted in solely agriculture and fishing as our only livelihood…He elevated our people to a new level of social and economic prosperity.”
The Premier said that the Leadership of Hon. Stoutt is one of the most memorable qualities he possessed and one that the Territory continues to celebrate: “As we gather today and as we do every year as a territory to recognise and pay tribute to the late and great Hon Hamilton Lavity Stoutt, I find it important this morning to take this time to reflect on the characteristics that made him the leader we have all grown to admire and respect.”
Meanwhile, Minister for Education, Culture, Agriculture, Fisheries, Sports and Youth Affairs Dr. the Hon. Natalio Wheatley urged young Virgin Islanders to adopt the principles of hard work and determination that permeated the H. L. Stoutt generation. He said that this was the hallmark of leaders of that time.
“We need our young people to learn the principles of hard work and determination and apply them to whatever discipline they pursue. We need our young people to have that drive and determination to create dynamic new industries that will strengthen our economies. We need our young people to have that discipline as we too explore the cultural and creative industries, the blue industry and the green industry that are new and emerging industries and are viable sources for economic diversification and development,” he said.
Hon. Wheatley suggested that now is the opportune time for these qualities that were exemplified by Hon. Stoutt to be adopted by young Virgin Islanders; especially as the Territory stands at an economic crossroad.
“With the economic boost in these new and diversified industries our young people will have numerous entrepreneurship and employment opportunities…As the Virgin Islands stands on the brink of redevelopment and repositioning let us remember the many wonderful things the late great H. Lavity Stoutt did for his country,” he added.