Press Release

Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture
Release Date:
Wednesday, 4 March 2020 - 4:56pm

Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Culture, Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley, said the late Honourable H. Lavity Stoutt was a great leader who was focused on the development of the people of the Virgin Islands.

Honourable Wheatley while addressing the silver jubilee for the memorial of the first Chief Minister of the Virgin Islands on March 2 said Mr. Stoutt was also responsive to the needs of the people.

“In order to inspire the people to have confidence in local representation, it is absolutely necessary to exhibit strong leadership qualities,” the minister said, adding, “These include being responsive to the needs of a people, being people-focused and people-centered. Knowing when to hold back and knowing when to press forward, making alliances to advance the people’s interest, disarming potential enemies with affability. These are just a few of the qualities that allowed H. L Stoutt to be the longest serving Chief Minister, with the most consecutive terms as leader.”

The Honourable Minister further stated that the greatest quality of H. L. Stoutt was his vision for what the Virgin Islands could be.

“He had a vision for the economy, a vision for the education system, a vision for the infrastructure and he put the components in place to execute that vision. And we are seeing the benefit of that vision today,” Honourable Wheatley explained.

Meanwhile, Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie, said that Honourable Stoutt should be remembered as someone who led his people to prosperity.

The Premier said, “I saw the Virgin Islander who led his Territory, I also saw the Virgin Islander who had a testimony and that testimony is ours today.”

Keynote Speaker, Dr. Angel Smith attributed the Territory’s achievements in the past and even today to Honourable Stoutt’s focus and vision.

“During his tenure, the journey was focused and the Virgin Islands became one of the leading economies in the region. I did not list his accomplishments for we live them every day,” Dr. Smith said and went on to state that a number of members from his generation are products of H. L. Stoutt’s era…. “His vision did not just stay where it was. He looked into the future, into where we are today,” he said.

The visionary was remembered through several aspects of his life, but more so as a great leader who continued the journey of legislative freedom.

The theme for this year, “The Journey Continues”, was two fold in that not only did it highlight Honourable Stoutt’s political career and his journey but also to acknowledge that this year marks 70 years since Restoration of the Virgin Islands’ Legislation Council which was a privilege that was taken away in the early 1900’s. It is noted that because of the restoration in 1950, H. Lavity Stoutt was privileged to charter his way forward 17 years later and led through government during his tenure from 1967 to 1995.

A dramatization of the life of the late Chief Minister was done by the BVI Drama Society focusing on his vision and favorite proverb “where there is no vision the people perish”. His most noteworthy capital projects were highlighted and it was mentioned that they are still being developed today. These projects include Tertiary Education, Port development, Utilities and Infrastructure.

The Government of the Virgin Islands through the Department of Culture celebrates the life of the late Honourable H. Lavity Stoutt as a person of historic significance to the Territory every year on the first Monday in March. The day is declared a public holiday in celebration of the anniversary of the birthday of the Territory’s first Chief Minister. Hamilton Lavity Stoutt died on May 14, 1995.

To view the event visit the Government’s Facebook page @BVIGovernments or click here.

Author

Nekita Turnbull

Information Officer II
Department of Information & Public Relations 
Telephone: 468-2730
Email:  Neturnbull@gov.vg