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'We used to be the friendliest people in the world'- VI First Lady

- Lorna G. Smith OBE tells ZONTA members to 'be the change'
First Lady Mrs Lorna G. Smith OBE, MA, TEP has offered to work with women’s group ZONTA to help repair the social fabric of the Virgin Islands community, which she said is in tatters. Photo: VINO
International Women's Day 2015 was another opportunity for the ZONTA Club of Tortola to shine. Photo: VINO
International Women's Day 2015 was another opportunity for the ZONTA Club of Tortola to shine. Photo: VINO
ZONTA Club of Tortola has been responding to the needs of women and by extension children. It is the sole body in the VI that advocates in the manner it does. Photo: Provided
ZONTA Club of Tortola has been responding to the needs of women and by extension children. It is the sole body in the VI that advocates in the manner it does. Photo: Provided
Some of the ZONTA Club of Tortola members. Photo: Provided
Some of the ZONTA Club of Tortola members. Photo: Provided
PASEA, Tortola, VI – First Lady Mrs Lorna G. Smith OBE, MA, TEP has offered to work with the ZONTA Club of Tortola to help repair the social fabric of the Virgin Islands community, which she said is in tatters.

“We used to be the friendliest most smiling people in the world. Nowadays instead it is fashionable when someone is friendly, to ask 'what you smiling at? We understood what 'it takes a village’ meant. Let's move back in that direction,” she said in a recent address to members of women's group, ZONTA.

Guard against stress

“Stress! Yes Stress…. Stress is impacting us women disproportionately. Suffice it to say that I have the scars to show. I urge all of you not to ignore the warning signs although I must confess I had none,” said Mrs Smith on March 13, 2015 when she was the guest speaker at a ZONTA meeting at Treasure Isle, Pasea.

“I urge you to exercise regularly, eat well, sleep well, take time to relax and have fun and I always say don't take yourself too seriously! Also, learn to make lemonade from the lemons you receive!”

Mrs Smith was invited to the meeting to speak of her road to success, which she did, but thought it was very important to speak to the group especially about the importance of taking care of their health. “Treat what you do as a member of this Club as di-stressing,” she told the group.

The invitation to Mrs Smith fell on the heels of observances for ‘International Women’s Day’.

Fulfilling the mission

Mrs Smith also had the daunting task of discussing how she could help ZONTA fulfil its mission. “Your mission of empowering women is critical to this community. It is one that I am committed to doing everything I can to help you to advance. No doubt you already have all of my suggestions in hand, but I will give them nevertheless,” she said.

ZONTA, she said, is the only organisation in the Virgin Islands (VI)that is solely committed to the advancement of women. “And in this I include the advancement of children. I would therefore urge you to persevere with not just what is necessary work but with work that can be full of complexities. I applaud ZONTA member Anthea Smith for the work she is planning next week with our young males!

“According to our most recent Census - yes it took four years to be published - there are over a hundred nationalities residing in the BVI. Clearly, this is a microcosm of the world which gives ZONTA a golden opportunity to fulfil its mission,” Mrs Smith added.

Women in the majority

According to Mrs Smith, women are still in the majority of the VI population. She cited the Central Statistics Office as having the ratio 51% to 49% in favour of women! “But even if that were the reverse this is our country and women must fight to restore tolerance and pride of place. How do we begin? I would suggest that we begin with our schools and young people.”

Speaking to what she could do to help the women’s group in their continued quest to advocate for women and children, Mrs Smith said that for starters she is good at wielding a paint brush- as evidenced by the Rotary Club of Tortola's recent resuscitation of the Sir Olva Georges Plaza. “But I also am pretty good at picking up the phone and asking for money or other donations for charity from BVI residents. Invariably I get a positive answer. I am quite happy to work with you in this regard in your quest to meeting your other objectives. I would encourage you though to develop a plan of action for all the sectors,” she added.

Credit scheme for young women

The group was also encouraged to launch a microcredit programme for young women. “And in this regard I am thinking of none other than Karia Christopher to guide this project in her new role as Director of Trade and Consumer affairs. I certainly know someone who launched a similar one and would be happy to help.”

ZONTA’s President Nona Vanterpool-Bonelli was applauded for transforming Vanterpool Pharmacy into a modern day state of the art pharmacy that the whole community enjoys.

The group was also told not to underestimate the powerful work done by Portia Harrigan with her E-campers and her upcoming annual spring festival.

“The kinds of exposure that our children receive to our culture, our history, our environment, as well as to those around the world, are priceless.

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world. Let's start to do just that today,” the women advocates were challenged.

23 Responses to “'We used to be the friendliest people in the world'- VI First Lady”

  • women in the BVI (18/03/2015, 11:07) Like (10) Dislike (36) Reply
    she has lost her cretibility she has become to political...folloing the likes of myron
    • ..................... (18/03/2015, 15:20) Like (4) Dislike (13) Reply
      Mvw paid bliggers out pressing dislike bottom...we know better
  • born here (18/03/2015, 11:08) Like (20) Dislike (42) Reply
    can't wait until next election when we get a local first lady..one of us
  • PEETS (18/03/2015, 11:47) Like (16) Dislike (19) Reply
    What is her problem the NDP have the country the way it is the entire NDP thinks they better than the people who put them in there we will teach them a lesson on election day.
  • i from here (18/03/2015, 11:57) Like (25) Dislike (23) Reply
    Lorna is hurts but is true!

    As a local, I prefer to have "Island People" friends (as they does say) over Tolians!

    Most Tolians ARE BAD MINDED, like to hold down their own too much for me!

    If I have to choose a country I would like to be from, I picking St Kitts or Dominica.
    • ddb (18/03/2015, 12:21) Like (26) Dislike (6) Reply
      'If I have to choose a country I would like to be from, I picking St Kitts or Dominica'
      You can stop lying...you are not from the VI. You are pathetic, that's what you are.
      • i from here (18/03/2015, 14:27) Like (7) Dislike (14) Reply
        I born down old Peebles so that make me from where ??????

        I have a BVI and UK Passport so that make me from where ??????

        I don't have to flash a belonger card when I come from St. Thomas!

        I don't have a work permit or have an exemption so that make me from where ?????

        I travelled to many Caribbean Islands and those two islands I named treat me the BEST!

        For a foreigner I was surprise! I wonder if I was local how I would have been treated.
  • Hogwash (18/03/2015, 12:04) Like (37) Dislike (3) Reply

    Is she for real? When last she greeted someone with a friendly hello?? 

  • silk (18/03/2015, 12:13) Like (50) Dislike (7) Reply
    Right message, wrong messenger.
  • ddb (18/03/2015, 12:24) Like (21) Dislike (0) Reply
    It seems the entire Caribbean has lost it's way on being friendly. Living in New York, go to any Caribbean establishment and majority of the time the people working at these businesses are the rudest you would come across. Face always looking grumpy and don't ask them any questions, they are quick to give you some snide remarks. It's not only a VI problem...the entire Caribbean has this issue.
  • facts man (18/03/2015, 12:31) Like (20) Dislike (4) Reply
    Next time zonta group get a speaker we can believe
  • peace (18/03/2015, 12:55) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
    well i am not looking for vip / ndp or watever P's what n who i am looking for is the coming of the lord jesus christ and put an end to all these nonsence because many think that they will live here on earth forever , for me i am trying to live a life pleasing unto God while i am here and love one another because its all about God nothing else matters , he is who put up and pull down goverment and if its not build on the foundation of God it will not last doesn't matter who is in,plus we are to show n have respect for whose who is in authority whether we like them or not .
  • True Dat (18/03/2015, 15:45) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Used to be the friendliest, now the most despised.
  • overseas (18/03/2015, 16:59) Like (17) Dislike (1) Reply
    Lorna was truly an inperation back in the days but in the last three years no one really care for her outside some whites who can get what they want out of her
  • Observer (19/03/2015, 06:58) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply

    It should begin with you, the other day I said hi to 'a' woman she didnt even give a smirk, Next time I see her I just going to watch her straight in the eye and dont say anthing.

  • home grown (19/03/2015, 07:30) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply

    The most fake person I have ever met always giving a fake smile.

  • pat (19/03/2015, 09:00) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply

    She contributed to the current attitude. she is not that approachable and kind only when she wants to be or wants something.

    • tt (19/03/2015, 11:53) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply

      need to go sit backside from here with white friends who using sh... 

  • Get Real (19/03/2015, 09:18) Like (10) Dislike (3) Reply
    Let's get real... the Virgin Islands people have never been the friendliest people in the world... maybe you used to be friendlier....... than now.... but come on.... :/
  • my yute (22/03/2015, 23:45) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    We are young, we are adaptable and we will survive.
    no need to hear a thing from Lorna whoes time has long pass Onward BVI Vote VIP new real first lady mrs. K. fraser BAM BAM
  • WTF (23/03/2015, 16:08) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Lorna, we don't need no damn committee to help empower people to be friendly. Friendliness is pure, honest, unadulterated, unselfish and not proud or uppity. For the most part, some people from the BVI meet you and pass you like an exam. They are too big to say "hello". Their hellos are for people on a certain level, or in their inner circle. If we used to be the friendliest people in the world, "what changed that"? I will tell you Mrs Smith. You, and others like you have changed the dynamics of friendliness, and the social atmosphere. It is you and people like you who have caused the social divide in this country. It is very evident that only "who is who" is invited to certain functions. We can bring back what we lost by being Friendly to each other. Embrace each other as equals and deserving equal opportunity and equal treatment. Tortola Elites take your heads out of the clouds so that you can see everyone as human beings, instead of pretending that some people are Invisible. This unfriendly atmosphere was not created by itself. People Created It, so it is every one responsibility to bring back our little community to what it used to be.. We are our Brothers and Sisters keeper. Throw attitudes, egos and narcissism out the window, so that we can begin to strengthen our Social Fabric.


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