Ministry of Health & Social Development
Release Date:
Tuesday, 28 February 2023 - 3:08pm

Remarks by Hon. Marlon Penn, Minister for Health and Social Development

Handover and Dedication Ceremony of the

Emile Dunlop Community Centre

Anegada, Virgin Islands

28th February 2023

10:00 a.m.



Madam Chair

Dr. the Hon. Natalio Wheatley, Premier and Minister of Finance

[Other Members of the Cabinet]

Hon. Vincent Wheatley, Ninth District Representative

[Other Members of the House of Assembly]

PAHO/WHO Representative

Senior Public Officers

Teachers and Students of the Claudia Creque Primary School

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

A pleasant morning to everyone.

I am honoured to be here with you today, to celebrate the handover and re-dedication of the Emile Dunlop Community Centre – which is one of the few centres in the Territory that has the distinction of being the brainchild of residents of the community. This Centre was originally built by the Anegada Progressive League, a group of Anegadians who resided in New York, and it was subsequently named in honour of Mr. Emile Dunlop who served as the organisation’s president for several years. It therefore stands as a testament to Anegadians’ determination to come together and pool resources to achieve their goals for this community.  

The work carried out by the Anegada Progressive League reflects the true spirit of Anegada and its people. It highlights the foresight, togetherness and work ethic of the residents on this island; traits that we all should seek to emulate.

Over the years, this space has served a vital role as a hub of community life and, for this reason, its refurbishments and upgrading was afforded high priority by the Government of the Virgin Islands.

It is wonderful to be here today to receive the keys, and once again open the doors of this important facility to the community. It will again be a place where residents can come together, share ideas, care for seniors, children, and persons of all ages, and work towards a better future. A space to organize events, hold meetings, seek refuge, and perhaps offer health promoting classes and workshops to benefit residents of this island.

Today, we celebrate not only the reopening of this community centre, but also the hard work and dedication of those who made it possible. On behalf of the Ministry of Health and Social Development I express sincere gratitude to the Contractors – the Joint Venture of Lawrence Wheatley Construction and Accurate Construction; as well as the entire Project Team for the critical roles you have played.

We are particularly grateful to our development partners, the European Union and the Pan-American Health Organization, for your financial and technical support, and fulfilling the commitment to assist the Government in upgrading our community centres to meet modern standards of resilience.

The Emile Dunlop Community Centre is the fourth such facility to be repaired, upgraded to meet SMART standards, outfitted with modern equipment, and handed over to my Ministry through the Government’s partnership with the EU and PAHO. First to be completed was the West End Community Centre in November 2021, and yesterday we received the keys to the Valerie O. Thomas Community Centre in Sea Cows Bay and the Gertrude and Christiana Warner Community Centre in Purcell Estate.

Anegada residents may also recall that the Nurse Romalia Smith Clinic was renovated under PAHO’S SMART healthcare facilities initiative in 2015 to make the facility safer and incorporate ‘green’ interventions. We are extremely pleased that these SMART concepts have now been incorporated into Anegada’s Community Centre as well – making this facility, and the island on a whole, more resilient to future shocks.

As I conclude my remarks, I once again offer congratulations to everyone involved in the refurbishment and upgrading of the Emile Dunlop Community Centre; and to the people of Anegada who will now have full use of it.

As we begin a new chapter for this community centre, I encourage you all to make the most of this wonderful facility and continue to build a strong and vibrant community.

Thank you.



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