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UPDATE: No overseas invitations extended for London House celebrations- Malone

The Medallion and booklet that were presented to Hon. Ralph T. O'Neal OBE and others in honour of their contribution on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the BVI London House. Photo: VINO
Mr Kedrick E. Malone displays the Medallion to members of the media on Monday January 14, 2013 when he highlighted the strides made by the BVI London House in 2012 and outlined some of the tasks for 2013. Photo: VINO
Mr Kedrick E. Malone displays the Medallion to members of the media on Monday January 14, 2013 when he highlighted the strides made by the BVI London House in 2012 and outlined some of the tasks for 2013. Photo: VINO
Former Premier and now Leader of the Opposition Ralph T. O'Neal OBE, who was the architect of the BVI London House, was not even invited to the 10th Anniversary Celebrations held on December 3, 2012 at the House in London. Hon. O'Neal, whose administration brought about the idea and executed its coming into being, said the BVI London House is one of his greatest accomplishments. Photo: VINO/File
Former Premier and now Leader of the Opposition Ralph T. O'Neal OBE, who was the architect of the BVI London House, was not even invited to the 10th Anniversary Celebrations held on December 3, 2012 at the House in London. Hon. O'Neal, whose administration brought about the idea and executed its coming into being, said the BVI London House is one of his greatest accomplishments. Photo: VINO/File
The National Democratic Party (NDP) back in 2002 while the then Opposition party opposed the BVI London Office and did not vote for the motion brought to the then Legislative council by then Chief Minister Ralph T. O'Neal. The NDP had labeled it as a
The National Democratic Party (NDP) back in 2002 while the then Opposition party opposed the BVI London Office and did not vote for the motion brought to the then Legislative council by then Chief Minister Ralph T. O'Neal. The NDP had labeled it as a "waste of money". Today they have come around and embraced the project. The GIS Photo shows Premier Smith delivering remarks at the 10th Anniversary celebrations in London on December 3, 2012. Photo: GIS
The BVI London House, a project of the Virgin Islands Party Government, is hailed as a source of pride and foresight of the former government headed by Ralph T. O'Neal OBE. Today, the office is a mecca of Virgin Islands pride, culture and plays a key role in supporting Government's international relations agenda. Photo: bvi.org.uk
The BVI London House, a project of the Virgin Islands Party Government, is hailed as a source of pride and foresight of the former government headed by Ralph T. O'Neal OBE. Today, the office is a mecca of Virgin Islands pride, culture and plays a key role in supporting Government's international relations agenda. Photo: bvi.org.uk
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Director of the London Office Kedrick E. Malone said that there were no oversea invitations extended from London to attend the reception of the Premier, Dr. the Honorable D. Orlando Smith in celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the BVI London Office.

The now Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Ralph T. O’Neal OBE recently spoke with Virgin Islands News Online about what he described as his greatest achievement and vision, the idea and execution of the BVI London House - now the pride and joy of the Virgin Islands, when he expressed his disappointment of not being invited to attend the ceremony which was held in London on December 3, 2013.

At a press briefing held on January 14, 2013 at the Office of Premier, the question was posed to Director of the London Office Mr. Kedrick E. Malone as to why Hon. O’Neal was not invited to the ceremony and according to Malone, no overseas invitations were extended for attendance.

According to a recent press release issued by Government Information Service (GIS), the ceremony attracted over 150 guests and dignitaries that included Heads of Government, High Commissioners, former Virgin Islands’ Governors, members from the private sector and Members of the UK Parliament among others.

However, the architect of the London House, former Premier Honourable Ralph T. O’Neal OBE, told Virgin Islands News Online that; “I was never invited to the ceremony in London.” Hon. O’Neal was asked to make a contribution to the anniversary booklet just as the former Directors of the BVI London House were asked to.

In his message as printed in the anniversary booklet, Hon O’Neal said that the establishment of the BVI House of London grew out of the need for greater representation of the interest of the Virgin Islands in the United Kingdon and Europe. He stated that at the time the international business and political interest, particularly in financial services were evolving quickly and required greater international presence and engagement.

“While our many friends and partners did a good job keeping us abreast of the developments and ensuring our positions and development and ensuring our positions and views were registered, my administration felt that the time had come for the Government of the Virgin Islands to take on the responsibility of representation and a physical presence was important in that regard."

According to Mr Malone, “It is very well known that the Honourable Ralph O’Neal was the Chief Minister at the time of the establishment of the London House and it was under his administration that the BVI London House was opened and certainly his role in that was recognized,” said Malone. “The recognition was done here in the BVI and there were approximately fifteen persons in the territory that were recognized at the presentation of the medallion,” added Mr Malone. 

In his address to members of the media, Mr. Malone said the BVI London Office was able to play a key and significant role in supporting the VI Government's international agenda, particularly as it relates to the United Kingdom and Europe and recorded one of the busiest and most demanding years as it celebrated its 10th Anniversary. 

The London House Director is also confident that the VI is positioned to play a key role in the relationship between the EU and OCTs as it will become Chairman of the Overseas Territories and Countries Association in December 2013. The VI Chairmanship will be tasked with leading Overseas Territories on the implementation of the new OAD that will enter into force in January 2014. 

See previous story posted on January 14, 2013

Hon. O’Neal snubbed for 10th Anniversary celebration of BVI London House

- “One of my greatest achievements was the BVI London House”- Hon. Ralph T. O’Neal

ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- As the now popular BVI London House celebrated its 10th anniversary of opening its doors, controversy loomed over the celebration and the treatment of the one who is single handedly credited for its coming into being, the first Premier of the Virgin Islands Honourable Ralph. T. O’Neal OBE.

In an exclusive interview with this news site, the now Leader of the Opposition Hon. O’Neal spoke about what he described as his greatest achievement and vision, the idea and execution of the BVI London House - now the pride and joy of the Virgin Islands.

It was on December 3, 2012 while attending the joint Ministerial Council in London that Premier Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith held a ceremony to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the BVI London Office. The event, according to a government press release, attracted over 150 guests and dignitaries that included, Heads of Government, High Commissioners, former Virgin Islands’ Governors, members from the private sector and Members of the UK Parliament among others. 

However, the architect of the London House, former Premier Honourable Ralph T. O’Neal OBE, told Virgin Islands News Online that; “I was never invited to the ceremony in London.”

Hon. O’Neal was asked to make a contribution to the anniversary booklet just as the former Directors of the BVI London House were asked to.

How it all started

It was in 2002 as then Chief Minister under a Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Government that Hon. O’Neal got the support of his colleagues in the then Executive Council to move forward with the idea for the Virgin Islands (VI) to have a permanent physical presence in London, England.

When asked what was the motivating factor for his vision for the BVI London House, Hon. O’Neal said “while going to school in England as a student I was impressed where I was taken to the different African and West Indian houses by fellow students, however there was no where I could have taken my friends as there was no BVI House.” 

He further stated that while being the Chief Minister “there was a need for greater representation of the interests of the VI in the UK and Europe…our international business and political interest particularly in Financial Services were evolving quickly and required greater international presence and engagement…you needed to have direct representation all the time…,” the longest serving member of the English speaking Caribbean Parliament told this news site with much pride.

The 9th, district representative said that one of the benefits of the London House established by his government was “the ability for the BVI to be members of some of the European Union committees that affected our interest so we could have had a voice at the table.”

Hon. O’Neal further stated that part of his vision “was for a place where our students and scholars could meet, in London, as more and more of our students were taking advantage of the opportunity to study there so the need for a presence in London was vital and in cases of emergencies or sickness to have the support of a BVI London Office.”

NDP Opposition to BVI London House & Asian Office a VIP idea

The former Premier recalled clearly that when he brought the motion before the then Legislative Council for the establishment of a BVI London House some 11 years ago the then National Democratic Party who sat in opposition was opposed to the idea and labeled it as a “waste of money”, but today he is proud that the building can pay for itself as there are tenants renting office space.

Hon. O’Neal said there will always be opposition to good ideas, but today even the critics will agree that his vision and his Administration’s foresight have benefited the people of the Virgin Islands tremendously and “our physical presence has gone a far way in cementing the good name and reputation of the Virgin Islands.”

Research shows one of the leading critics of the BVI London House idea at the time was now Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Dr. the Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering.

When asked about the Asia Office idea announced by Premier Smith in his 2012 Budget Address to be set up in Hong Kong, Hon. O’Neal told Virgin Islands News Online that “this was a Virgin Islands Party idea as they had already done all the research to move forward with that idea.”

BVI London House History

It was in 2002 when the BVI London House opened its doors for business. A couple months before that former Premier O’Neal appointed his then Permanent Secretary (PS) M. Bennet Smith and retired PS Lorna Smith, OBE who were assisted by Mr. Derek Dunlop with the responsibility of identifying a suitable building in London to house the VI presence.

The team selected No. 15 Upper Grosvenor Street as the home for the BVI London House. The House also has an apartment where the Director usually lives.

Former Member of the UK Parliament, Mr. P. Bowen Wells, was appointed as the inaugural Director of the BVI London House in 2002-2003.  He was followed by Mrs. Lorna Smith, OBE (2003-2004) Ms. Hadassah M. Ward (designate) 2004-2006, Attorney Dawn J. Smith (2006-2009) and the current Director Mr. Kedrick E. Malone (2009 to present).

Today, the Director and staff actively engage the UK Government and the European Union on Overseas Territory affairs and represent the Territory on strategic bodies such as the Overseas Countries and Territories Association and United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association.

In addition to its diplomatic function, the London Office has also served as a centre of Virgin Islands culture, exposing UK supporters to the best of the VI traditions through related programmes and initiatives.

The BVI House in London, a vision started by the Virgin Islands Party Government, also houses the BVI Tourist Board, and the VI Shipping Registry. It has about 7 full time staff, inclusive of the senior exchange management officer from the local civil service. 

38 Responses to “UPDATE: No overseas invitations extended for London House celebrations- Malone”

  • BREAKING NEWS (14/01/2013, 08:19) Like (10) Dislike (8) Reply
    Why is any one surprised the NDP has developed a culture of disrespect...but I hope when the shoe is on the other feet dem aint going bawl
  • Lb (14/01/2013, 08:44) Like (8) Dislike (50) Reply
    He'll be fine! A big ole write up about nothing. He should have made his contribution to the commemorative booklet and left it at that instead of running to vino whining like a baby. Big men behaving like schoolyard girls!
    • apline (14/01/2013, 10:46) Like (22) Dislike (4) Reply

      Lb you is an @$$ Olando and his team should have some sort of respect

      • Lb (14/01/2013, 12:46) Like (4) Dislike (10) Reply
        Where is YOUR respect? Referring to the leader of this country as Olando! It is the Hon. Premier Orlando Smith.
        • alpine (14/01/2013, 19:25) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
          Lb: IF Orlando was so honourable he would have remembered a Stalwart of this country have some respect for seniors and especially Ralph don’t think he sleeping he’s keeping an eyes on those sun of a guns
          • shelia (15/01/2013, 02:05) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
            .............shame on those NDP who profess to be christians, but have no respect for other members in the House.
    • egg face (14/01/2013, 11:59) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
      Good one LB you better scatter
  • ha (14/01/2013, 09:15) Like (1) Dislike (6) Reply
    Yo, Elections are over! Sheesh!!!! What a hack job this is.
    • ova & out (14/01/2013, 09:56) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
      you need to tell the NDP the elections is over jah
      • ta ta (14/01/2013, 12:06) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        A WORD TO THE WISE IS SUFFICIENT.
      • run it red (14/01/2013, 16:36) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
        Thanks you for the London house Mr. O’Neal, what wisdom, foresight and forward thinking...and some of you power hungry VIP up and down about get rid of he...strupppssss
  • ooooo (14/01/2013, 09:18) Like (11) Dislike (2) Reply
    my god! them ndp's are no darn good at th least them coulda invited the man
    • wellsa (14/01/2013, 10:06) Like (5) Dislike (25) Reply
      Back then w hen Ralph went did he invited anyone from the NDP to attend HELL NO!! It was a show for him to shine along with his wife, so people what goes around comes back around and hit you hard as well.

      I dont see what all this fussing is for, Ralph had his time, let him relax now, i dont see why he feel insulted for when nothing has been taken away from him. Wait i guess he was balding like a baby to go 'blah blah i want to go'. Get over it, it the new Government that is moving this country forward.
      • parole buddy (14/01/2013, 10:28) Like (17) Dislike (1) Reply
        Wellsa if you don't know what you are talking about shut your trap up. Ask Kedrick who took him to see the building when he was in the opposition? Or do you want us to play the tape again. Some of you people are sickening with your stupid blind support for the NDP Government. Can they do any wrong for some of you all? Kedrick was one of them who said it was money wasted but after the trip he was singing nothing but praises for it. These are some of his words " I will always support a good idea whoever idea it is because a good ided is a good idea". He was speaking about the London House. So check your facts from blogging $hit.
  • SMH (14/01/2013, 09:44) Like (13) Dislike (2) Reply
    If he is the reason it was established it was highly disrespectful of the Premier to exclude him. It was his achievement. Give credit where credit is due!! This is pure nonsense.
  • come on NAP (14/01/2013, 10:51) Like (26) Dislike (1) Reply
    Ralph & VIP respected the NDP when they were in power but the NDP refuses to do the same to the VIP now that NDP is in power. Ralph not only invited the NDP to the opening ceremony when this place was bought in London but he paid for them to go with he Ralph to London for the ceremony. Remember play the tape! Kedrick is on record while speaking to the ceremony in London that the building is a good move & is value for money. Yet he came back home he & his NDP & negatively talk about the building & the money spent. The NDP are bad, evil people.
  • ABC (14/01/2013, 11:14) Like (23) Dislike (6) Reply
    Don't blame the elected representatives for their disrespect, this is all the work of those who are steeering the ship fron behind the scene.
  • ReX FeRal (14/01/2013, 11:17) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    seize the times. Typical OSmith mentality and where thi country going.

    "The former Premier recalled clearly that when he brought the motion before the then Legislative Council for the establishment of a BVI London House some 11 years ago the then National Democratic Party who sat in opposition was opposed to the idea and labeled it as a “waste of money”, but today he is proud that the building can pay for itself as there are tenants renting office space."

  • smh2 (14/01/2013, 12:22) Like (5) Dislike (14) Reply
    This is what this man wants to blab about on the news, An Invite...Really?
    This man need to go invite himself into the Little Dix Bay Resort situation!
    It’s about time he set some priorities instead of making noise about an invite.
    Make some noise for your people in your district...smh
    • dom q (14/01/2013, 16:34) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Well it started in the campaign with funny man disrespecting Uncle now it continue with Dr. Smith...but Tommy say you willhear!!!
  • to smh2 (14/01/2013, 16:58) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    Tell the Great Minister of Labour Pickering who could do no wrong for some of you fools who said all labour problems are solved since he took office to go Little Dix & go do his flipping job as Minister of Labour from running his mouth chatting fart in the House of Assembly. Well he & everyone who is rich are friends so we will get no justice in labour while he is Minister.
    • Vamp (14/01/2013, 18:59) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply

      little dix dont have a labour problem, the workers have a comprehension problem. selling a company dont mean you get severance. read the laws. bvi problem is always hearsay and wrong news. there are laws on the books get familiar from chatting horse $h!t.

  • bam see (14/01/2013, 17:24) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    In a situation like this it is only feasible that all parliamentarians both past and present should be invited. Sometimes it is the people are put in charge that tend to create confusion and division among our people. BVI is a small but enchanting and that is why so many year after year want to experience it magiical atmosphere. Now let's come together and stop our petty arguments and work as one. Remember the world is observing us. One love. Love you BVI
    • we (14/01/2013, 20:49) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
      Cheer up Uncle Ralph NDP will not be there for too long to insult all ah wee anymore
  • pat (14/01/2013, 17:58) Like (8) Dislike (2) Reply
    Frankly, a BVI house makes more sense than in Hong Kong unless you are trolling for more developers. NDP is after the financial sector but in the meantime, they want to make Road Town more cosmopolitan and a "city" in order to attract them. You would think that, working with O'Neal for a while, Lorna would be more honourable... but she is the woman behind the man and has always had an agenda.
  • Vamp (14/01/2013, 19:00) Like (0) Dislike (6) Reply
    lmao pat you believe the cat dribble u just wrote? more honorable after working with oneal? i think you mean after working with h l stoutt. bvi needs opportunities, not everybody has it made and wants bvi to remain as a little sanctuary and playground for you who can afford it while we flip burgers, chicken and mop floors. no way.
    • pat (15/01/2013, 15:05) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      Lorna was involved in finding the location of BVI House. Yes, I know she worked with Lavity, but she did work with O'neal in some capacity. read the article. Lorna has always had an agenda. I don't think the opportunities needed by BVIlanders are going to come from Hong Kong.
  • ann (15/01/2013, 02:03) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    We are not a backward lot of people, we are too complacent we accept everything as they are until something seriously happen
  • DEAD MAN WALKING (15/01/2013, 02:13) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    How rude of Dr. Smith and his PS. Whether you like him or not, he is started it all... Show some respect.
  • sam the man (15/01/2013, 09:58) Like (0) Dislike (4) Reply
    Just as well Ralph didn't attend he'd have only fallen asleep as he usually does at important meetings/functions.

    Can't recall him inviting Dr Smith to anything in London? so he's got a taste of his own medicine and well deserved, he should retire from politics with everything he's made from it - and we know what has been said!
  • bay yute (16/01/2013, 01:00) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Thanks for bringing this to the public's attention yet again VINO
  • @@@@@ (16/01/2013, 11:20) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    HYPOCRISY and DOUBLE STANDARDS are the main tools of the politicians that is why they are seen as being dishonest self serving parasites
  • tell the truth (16/01/2013, 11:36) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Take heed this is revenge politics taking place
  • question (17/01/2013, 11:43) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    So does it mean that they still could not invite him?
  • tola (17/01/2013, 15:31) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    I like how everyone on here making comments like you all never did anything wrong. People calling down each other but you not saying what wrong or deceitful thing you did to someone, because you know you did something. Look at yourself before you judge these people. Don't know why we have this mentality that when people rich, famous and hold high positions that they should be perfect. they weren't before they got there you think being there going magically perfect them. Both parties have their ways and there is nothing that you all can do. It is for Dr. Smith to explain why he didn't not invite him and to offer him an apology.

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