Got TIPS or BREAKING NEWS? Please call 545-3572; ads call 440-6666

Legacy of Hon Ralph T. O’Neal OBE celebrated in style

- fitting Gala Dinner held last night, November 14, 2015 for holder of the longest political career in the territory, suggestions made for honouring the VI political giant in various ways, including VG bust, VG road renaming & BVI London House renaming
Businesswoman, cultural icon and organiser of the gala dinner Patsy C. Lake makes sure that the guests of honour are comfortable. Photo: VINO
Hon Ralph T. O'Neal OBE and his Wife Reverend Edris O'Neal. Photo: VINO
Hon Ralph T. O'Neal OBE and his Wife Reverend Edris O'Neal. Photo: VINO
Minister for Education and Culture Hon Myron V. Walwyn and Speaker of the House of Assembly Hon Ingrid A. Moses among those posing for a photograph with Hon Ralph T. O'Neal OBE and his wife Rev Edris ONeal. Photo: VINO
Minister for Education and Culture Hon Myron V. Walwyn and Speaker of the House of Assembly Hon Ingrid A. Moses among those posing for a photograph with Hon Ralph T. O'Neal OBE and his wife Rev Edris ONeal. Photo: VINO
Hon Walwyn greeting Hon O'Neal. Photo: VINO
Hon Walwyn greeting Hon O'Neal. Photo: VINO
Rotary Club of Road Town Past District Governor Vance Lewis and others. Photo: VINO
Rotary Club of Road Town Past District Governor Vance Lewis and others. Photo: VINO
Hon O'Neal making his remarks towards the end of the ceremony. Photo: VINO
Hon O'Neal making his remarks towards the end of the ceremony. Photo: VINO
Honourable Andrew A. Fahie among the guests at this table. Photo: VINO
Honourable Andrew A. Fahie among the guests at this table. Photo: VINO
Vincent O. Wheatley, Rev. Edris O'Neal, Hon Ralph T. O'Neal OBE and his daughter Esther Wheatley. Photo: VINO
Vincent O. Wheatley, Rev. Edris O'Neal, Hon Ralph T. O'Neal OBE and his daughter Esther Wheatley. Photo: VINO
Guests at this table include Minister for Health and Social Development Hon Ronnie W. Skelton and Representative for the Sixth District Alvera Maduro-Caines. Photo: VINO
Guests at this table include Minister for Health and Social Development Hon Ronnie W. Skelton and Representative for the Sixth District Alvera Maduro-Caines. Photo: VINO
Hon Speaker of the House of Assembly Ingrid A. Moses, Eighth District Representative Hon Marlon A. Penn and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Dr The Hon Kedrick D. Pickering (R7). Photo: VINO
Hon Speaker of the House of Assembly Ingrid A. Moses, Eighth District Representative Hon Marlon A. Penn and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Dr The Hon Kedrick D. Pickering (R7). Photo: VINO
Reverend Edris O'Neal and her husband Hon Ralph T. O'Neal. Photo: VINO
Reverend Edris O'Neal and her husband Hon Ralph T. O'Neal. Photo: VINO
Arliene T. Penn performing a musical rendition on the steel pan. Photo: VINO
Arliene T. Penn performing a musical rendition on the steel pan. Photo: VINO
Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3) speaking during the event. Photo: VINO
Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3) speaking during the event. Photo: VINO
VI cultural icon and former Member of the House of Assembly Eileene L. Parsons. Photo: VINO
VI cultural icon and former Member of the House of Assembly Eileene L. Parsons. Photo: VINO
Elford W. Parsons was among the guests. Photo: VINO
Elford W. Parsons was among the guests. Photo: VINO
Some of the persons attending the event. Photo: VINO
Some of the persons attending the event. Photo: VINO
Former District Two Representative J. Alvin Christopher. Photo: VINO
Former District Two Representative J. Alvin Christopher. Photo: VINO
Greeting Hon O'Neal. Photo: VINO
Greeting Hon O'Neal. Photo: VINO
Waiting in line to greet Hon O'Neal. Photo: VINO
Waiting in line to greet Hon O'Neal. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – It was a night to remember for former Premier and former Leader of the Opposition Honourable Ralph T. O’Neal OBE, Member Emeritus of the House of Assembly of the Virgin Islands, who finally got the Gala Dinner promised to him and which had been put off twice.

The event held at the Multi-Purpose Sports Complex last night November 14, 2015 was organised by Virgin Islands cultural and business icon Mrs Patsy C. Lake. The dinner was postponed from June and rescheduled for October and then further postponed from the October date.

Commencing with a photo opportunity for well wishers to have their image captured with the phenomenal Honourable O’Neal, the event got underway around 7:30 pm with an elegant dinner befitting the significance of the celebration.

With tickets costing $100 each, it definitely was a night of ‘cha-ching’ judging by the number of persons who showed up.

If the fact that Honourable O’Neal served 40 years in elected office wasn’t amazing enough, add to that the years he served in the public service prior to running for elected office, having started his public service career at the age of 14.

Persons poured in their tributes to the O’Neals as they were celebrated in style. Save for the Representatives of the Fourth and Ninth District, Honourable Mark H. Vanterpool and Dr The Honourable Hubert O’Neal respectively, all the other District Representatives gave tributes. The two that were absent were unable to attend owing to other commitments.

Renaming landmarks in honour of Hon O’Neal

Persons also called for the honouring of the Virgin Islands political giant in the form of his name being placed on buildings and roads.

Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Dr The Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering said that he is willing to spearhead the effort to get a bust of Honourable O’Neal placed in an area near the ferry dock in Virgin Gorda. Dr Pickering also suggested naming the BVI London House after Honourable O’Neal and also naming a road in Virgin Gorda after him.

Omar Wallace Hodge suggested that the Central Administration Complex be renamed to honour Honourable Ralph T. O’Neal.

‘Third District people appreciate you’ – Hon Fraser

In making his brief tribute, Third District Representative Honourable Julian Fraser RA said that the people of the Third District are appreciative of the work of Honourable O’Neal. “The people of the Third District acknowledge and appreciate the many many years of service in the teaching and administration [area] long before becoming a politician,” he said.

'I have made friends…but lost many along the way' - Hon O’Neal

In responding to the tributes and well wishes, Honourable O’Neal gave the guests a bit of history as he spoke of his career beginnings. He said he began his life in the public service at the age of 14 as a teacher in the Road Town Elementary School.

“Shortly after I obtained a scholarship to attend the St Kitts and Nevis Grammar School. Upon graduation in 1950 I was posted to the East End Methodist School for one year and the transferred back to the Road Town Elementary School.”

He said in 1953 he was transferred to the North Sound Methodist School and noted that while there he assisted the Government of the day by measuring the land at South Sound, to the point where licensed surveyors asked whether he was a trained surveyor judging by the quality of his work.

Hon O'Neal shared that it was while teaching in North Sound that he was persuaded to change his career from teaching to the civil service.

“After much consideration and with the agreement of my mother I joined the civil service in September 1956. Mr Henry Osmond Creque was my supervisor at the time and I learned a great deal from him.”

He said he eventually attended the University of the West Indies for two months to do a course in administration and then moved on to Trinity College Oxford where he studied economic planning and development of small countries and political science.

“My time in the civil service was taken up with different matters which included Labour Commissioner, Telecommunications Officer, then I was part of the Legislative and Executive Councils. At one time I carried out the duties as Chief Education Officer, Supervisor of Elections, Deputy Governor... [among others].”

He said that after 18 years in the civil service he went into private business.

“Now it was a long journey and for me to talk about 40 years in the Council will take (a long time) to talk about... after 40 years as a legislator and 18 years as a civil servant and six years as a school teacher,” he said.

“During these years I had challenging moments. I made friends and in the process I lost a few. But looking back over the years, especially those years spent at the North Sound school I am convinced that something good was done for that community.”

“I wish to thank all of you for coming out and for all the nice things that were said by those who spoke, and for those who chaired this event this evening and for making it a success.”

He spoke of being very touched by the treatment he received from his colleagues in the House of Assembly especially after he became ill, mentioning the Speaker of the House of Assembly Honourable Ingrid A. Moses who would usually grant him leave to sit and make his presentation.

Following his announcement last year that he would not run for office, the seat that he had held since 1974 was finally made vacant, allowing for the man who tried for the last 16 years – Dr The Honourable Hubert O’Neal to win it.

17 Responses to “Legacy of Hon Ralph T. O’Neal OBE celebrated in style”



Create a comment


Create a comment

Disclaimer: Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) welcomes your thoughts, feedback, views, bloggs and opinions. However, by posting a blogg you are agreeing to post comments or bloggs that are relevant to the topic, and that are not defamatory, liable, obscene, racist, abusive, sexist, anti-Semitic, threatening, hateful or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be excluded permanently from making contributions. Please view our declaimer above this article. We thank you in advance for complying with VINO's policy.

Weather


Follow Us On

Disclaimer: All comments posted on Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) are the sole views and opinions of the commentators and or bloggers and do not in anyway represent the views and opinions of the Board of Directors, Management and Staff of Virgin Islands News Online and its parent company.