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EXCLUSIVE: I have been fortunate – Eileene L. Parsons

- former legislator humbled and grateful at honour of OBE
Former legislator, Eileene L. Parsons, counts herself as fortunate to be the recipient of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) award by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Photo: VINO
A campaign poster depicting one of Mrs Parsons early runs for office in the Fifth District. Photo: VINO
A campaign poster depicting one of Mrs Parsons early runs for office in the Fifth District. Photo: VINO
Mrs Parsons (right) looks on alongside Premier Dr The Hon. D. Orlando Smith and Hon. Myron V. Walwyn during H. Lavity Stoutt's birthday celebrations earlier this year. Photo: VINO/File
Mrs Parsons (right) looks on alongside Premier Dr The Hon. D. Orlando Smith and Hon. Myron V. Walwyn during H. Lavity Stoutt's birthday celebrations earlier this year. Photo: VINO/File
Members of the Heritage Dancers group during a performance. Photo: VINO/File
Members of the Heritage Dancers group during a performance. Photo: VINO/File
MANCHESTER ESTATE, Tortola, VI – A recent announcement disclosed that Mrs Eileene L. Parsons was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to education and the community in the Virgin Islands.

Virgin Islands News Online spoke with Mrs Parsons in an exclusive interview as she related her reaction to receiving the distinction, the latest of many in a long and distinguished career in public service.

“I have been fortunate,” Mrs Parsons stated about receiving the award, “I keep telling people, I should honour this country, not [have] this country honour me.”

While Mrs. Parsons expressed gratitude for the award, she stated that she wasn’t affected by it too much and showed humility in stating that she did not feel that she had arrived in receiving the honour. “It’s just another step on the road to the grave,” she added.

Her cultural achievements within the Virgin Islands are of particular fame and are counted as crucial in the development of the Territory. Mrs Parsons also recalled travelling the world to sell the Virgin Islands as a tourist destination and the number of initiatives she implemented while serving as Cultural Officer to the Territory.

“I think I have a love affair with this country,” Mrs Parsons stated.

The former legislator and Deputy Chief Minister said she was happy to be accepting the award on behalf of her village as well. “I am glad for them and I am glad that I have been an engine that my village could be recognised,” she said.

Asked how she would rank the honour, Mrs Parsons said though she was humbled and grateful in receiving the OBE, she counted her greatest achievement as the establishment of the Heritage Dancers group. She beamed with pride as she explained the formation of the dance group in 1979 and the success the group has received over the years.

She also mentioned the murals at Fahie Hill as another brainchild that brought her great pride. “For me, that is the only thing for the tourists to see, we don’t have much else besides those murals on Fahie Hill,” she stated. Mrs Parsons recalled the resistance she faced in having the murals done and expressed happiness that the Chief Minister, at the time, Hon. Ralph T. O’Neal had bought into the idea in providing the funding to get it done.

Another of her crowning achievements, she disclosed, was the formation of Ellis Thomas Downs which is today, one of the best small tracks in the Caribbean.

Her involvement at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College, which today bears an auditorium named in her honour, was another hallmark of her legacy. “I was the only employee there for a year,” she recalled, “I am proud that Mr Stoutt thought that I could do it…”

She talked about seizing opportunities as they presented themselves and noted that one has to be ready whenever they arise. “You have to be willing to take what you can get until you can get what you want,” Mrs Parsons offered.

Mrs Parsons has had a career of firsts and has been a pioneer for women in the Territory. She became the first woman in the legislative council in 1995, the first female Minister appointed in government and also the first female Deputy Chief Minister.

She recalled vividly having to serve as Acting Chief Minister for three weeks shortly after her appointment and subsequent appointments with various cabinet portfolios. Throughout it all, she continued to count herself as fortunate.

Remarking on her humble beginnings, Mrs Parson said, “If I could come from that to be the Deputy Chief Minister of this country, all you need to do is prepare yourself. When opportunity opens a door go in, don’t wait to be asked, do whatever you need to do to push yourself forward.”

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II made the appointment as part of her birthday Honours List on June 14, 2013. It is a list that recognises individuals for outstanding achievement and service across the United Kingdom (UK) and Overseas Territories.

The date for which the honour is set to be officially conferred has not been announced, but the honour will be bestowed either at a small ceremony at Government House or at an investiture at Buckingham Palace in the United Kingdom.

40 Responses to “EXCLUSIVE: I have been fortunate – Eileene L. Parsons”

  • What About (19/06/2013, 08:12) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    Congratulations Ms. P. A well deserved award even thou i wish it was Dame nevertheless you deserve it you are a positive contributor to these Virgin Islands. may you have many more years of sucess and acomplishment.
  • weed (19/06/2013, 09:09) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    go girl...NDP lobbying still works
  • JACK BE STILL (19/06/2013, 09:20) Like (2) Dislike (54) Reply
    good job VINo all the best Ms. P
    • under the bus (19/06/2013, 18:54) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      oooooooh yeah can u digg it what a bitch lick for de good ole boys club ???
  • My My (19/06/2013, 09:26) Like (12) Dislike (11) Reply
    Over the years this woman destroyed more people than she helped but because of her mouth people were & still is afraid of her now that qualify her to be honored. What a thing to tell the king!
  • Hmm (19/06/2013, 09:27) Like (8) Dislike (7) Reply
    Ms P has contributed a lot to this territory however while I respect that I think that she is over rated.
  • Ah saw (19/06/2013, 09:30) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    This woman wicked as the whole of hell but I thank her for the little she has done.
  • Glowing with Pride (19/06/2013, 09:33) Like (2) Dislike (73) Reply
    I am so happy about this honour bestowed upon one of the BVI's finest. Mrs, P, you are already a lady in your own right. You are well deserving of the OBE you have been awarded. Here's wishing you continued success as you savour the sweet fruits of your hard labour.
  • 1st $100 bill (19/06/2013, 09:34) Like (9) Dislike (115) Reply
    Whenever a BVIslander is Honored these Island people dont have anything to say. I bet if it was something negative them same island people would ve be on here talking rubbish. no wonder Ms P made this remark " some of them never saw a $100 bill until they come here".. Anyway congrats Ms P, you deserve this distinguish honor.
    • xxxxxxxx (19/06/2013, 12:58) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      Good Lord, the butchery of the Queen's English is driving me to drink!

  • Fact Not Fiction (19/06/2013, 09:48) Like (11) Dislike (2) Reply
    Parson was not the first female elected to the legislature, she was one of the first. If you want to be technical, the first woman elected to the legislature was Ethlyn Smith, because even though they were elected to the same Legislature in 1995, because Ethlyn was elected in a District her results came out long before Parson's who was at-large.

    Don't mean to be critical, but it is important that history gets recorded accurately.
  • coup d'etat (19/06/2013, 11:46) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    She drove to beef island
  • Sigh (19/06/2013, 11:48) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
  • Fools (19/06/2013, 12:28) Like (3) Dislike (19) Reply
    Talking bout $100 bills......the currency don't even belong to tortola......tolans believe them is the best ting.....I want u all go independent...c what will happen to this shit rock u all call home.
    • bvi (19/06/2013, 19:33) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply

      Why you dont go back to where you come from. Nobody forcing you to stay on this $h1t rock

  • BVI Keep Calm (19/06/2013, 12:57) Like (2) Dislike (5) Reply
    I dont like that pic...she looks scary.
  • BREAKING NEWS (19/06/2013, 14:51) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Ms. P do not mind the haters you born here and we are proud of you good Job also to vino good write up
  • riel george (19/06/2013, 15:47) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    Look for the lady with the torch not the one with the spirit of jack daniel.
    • Release (19/06/2013, 18:42) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
  • NDP voter (19/06/2013, 18:05) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    vino your large to get up in the lady house for an exclusive interview...her NDP people muss be mad mad mad...but the owner got a lots of friends yall
  • Please Honour our people who have made significant contributions (19/06/2013, 18:05) Like (0) Dislike (20) Reply
    It is time that we honour Antionette Skelton for her remarkable contribution towards the development of the Social Security programme and Robert Mathavious for his excellent contribution towards the development of the BVI Financial Services Industry. Robert Mathavious has done very well for this country and each day the BVI people should thank himd when they pass him on the street, we should show him respect. The BVI and our mother country should honour these two people. How do we select who we should honour. I call on the Governor to look at honouring these two persons.
  • mother hen (19/06/2013, 18:43) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    rober yes antionett NO WAY JOSE
  • kk (19/06/2013, 19:09) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    i am a parson too.congrats m.p.

  • nbc (19/06/2013, 22:27) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    OH my Father!!! Who frightened Mrs. P? Can that be the effects of one platinum ? hmmm
  • horse race fans (19/06/2013, 23:28) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    We are posting this as our public support for Ms. Parsons for all she has done for the people of the BVI in so many areas....your journey is NOT over..
  • bvi massive (19/06/2013, 23:32) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Ms. P your committment to the people of our country shall keep you. Your belief in Justice shall sustain you. May you always know that in our heart, we the people of the BVI want what is best for you..always. Prayers for peace and strength
  • bat man (20/06/2013, 05:36) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Me proud of Sister Parsons as it’s also an opportunity for women power!!!
  • . (20/06/2013, 07:32) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    She spearheaded the horserace track
  • Happy (20/06/2013, 10:40) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    I am indeed happy for you Eileene, may the grace of god be with you.
  • AParsons (20/06/2013, 18:26) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    I swear you all make it hard for me to say I am a proud BVIslander. What is there for me to be proud of when my own people would fight so hard to keep each other down. Why is progress ridiculed in this country? Why have we became such hateful people?

    I hang my head ashamed of all you who so boldly debase those who are fighting to bring our country up.

    Congratulation Ms Parsons for an honour well deserved. Those who you have touched will be eternally grateful for your contributions to this country!

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