Statement
12 June 2015 - 10:15am

REMARKS BY PREMIER OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS

 DR. THE HONOURABLE D. ORLANDO SMITH, OBE

H. LAVITY STOUTT COMMUNITY COLLEGE COMMENCEMENT EXERCISES PARAQUITA BAY

 JUNE 11, 2015

4:00 P.M.

  • Your Excellency the Governor
  • Minister for Education and Culture Honourable Myron Walwyn
  • Acting President of the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College Dr. Bryan Penn
  • Other Distinguished Platform Guests
  • Ladies and Gentlemen

Good afternoon:

It is not very often that many people get to address two large gatherings of Virgin Islanders and Residents, two days in a row, and less than 24 hours apart. 

But, I am very pleased to do so.

Because today, not unlike yesterday, is a yet another good story for the Virgin Islands—that is, your success and today’s defining moment represents progress and the promise of greatness for the BVI.

This institution continues to be a central actor in realising BVIs great promise.

As we continue to celebrate 25 years of tertiary education, I am reminded of the story that it took one man to dream, so that many, including you here today, could fulfill your dreams.

We continue to be grateful for the legacy that H. Lavity Stoutt has left behind; one that reminds us that education is the great equaliser and a catalyst to progress.

You would have heard my colleagues and I stress the importance of progress over the last few weeks.

We did so because the continued success of this Territory requires all of us to remain innovative, forward thinkers, and progressive.

That is why I am happy to see that so many of you are now equipped with additional skills, ideas and knowledge to help this Territory  progress and advance towards long-term sustainability.  

You have worked hard! You have remained focused!  And you have persevered! We are all here to celebrate your individual victories as you are rewarded with your degrees.

And as such, I am pleased to say hearty CONGRATULATIONS to all graduates today-.

Graduates, today signals another milestone completed in your lives. But you must continue to keep your hands on the pulse of success.

Today you have proven that success is predictable, when we plan properly today, for tomorrow.

So, as you prepare to turn your tassels and to receive your diplomas and degrees I want to speak briefly about tomorrow—what is next. Your mission!

There must be a deepening and broadening of the BVI economy!!! 

Think outside the box. Think creatively. Think about how that business, science, finance or management degree can work for you as you create unique niches within the BVI.

I am challenging each and every one of you to contribute to the depth and breadth of a new BVI economy.

It will require new innovative and innovative thinking! It will require decisiveness and fortitude!  It will require education that is fit for purpose and progress!  But, more importantly it will require you!

You must be the innovators. You must be decisive. You must be fit for purpose. Progress is about you.

My Government has started to lay the foundation to deepen and broaden the economy. Graduates, it is your job as artisans and builders to complete the structure.  Remember, Government cannot do it alone. We, all of us, must make progress together.

We have a vision for promote entrepreneurship in every form. We need entrepreneurs.

We have a vision to have BVI become a strategic transshipment port. We need logistic specialists, marine and construction engineers, master mariners and port operators.

We have a vision to create a special economic zone for knowledge based industries. We need builders, thinkers, marketers, strategists, product developers…

We are building an arbitration centre and industry. We need masters, arbitrators, technological innovation and other service providers.

We are building an airport. We need pilots, engineers, navigators, mechanics, vendors, etc.

And yet there are still opportunities in many of the existing fields, such as financial services, tourism and health care.  For example, we have already built a world class medical facility. Now, we need your skills and expertise to be able to utilise it to its maximum capacity through innovation of medical practices, procedures, and businesses. 

Graduates these examples are but a few of the untapped opportunities in the BVI.

The point that I am making here is that what is next for BVI! And, what is next for you is limited only by our vision and imagination.

We must plan properly for the life we envision for ourselves.

Starting today, think about the possibilities!

Think about them in the context of the foundation we have laid for you; and chart the direction you plan to take in order for all of us to make progress together.

Plan to play a meaningful role in making BVI better than it is today!

This Territory is depending on all of you to make a difference in this place we all call home.

That is the foundation on which this learning institution was built and that is the basis on which we must move this Territory forward.

Now, it is time for you to go out into this community and this world and make a difference.

Some of you will continue on to other institutions of learning, while others of you will enter the workforce. Remember none of us know everything, so let us listen and learn from each other.

The success of this Territory depends on you helping us as a Government to make it happen; to build up your communities; and to develop and grow our beloved Virgin Islands.

Do not let the story of your achievement end here today, persevere!

I thank the Board and the faculty for guiding your learning experience.

My Government will continue to evaluate, strengthen, and implement educational initiatives to ensure the socio-economic advancement of this Territory.

I especially want to congratulate all public officers who are among you today. My Government appreciates your zest for professional development. I look forward to seeing the new knowledge integrated in your respective roles as we work together to build a competitive and excellent public service. 

Congratulations again to all the graduates; as well as to your families and other supporters.

I wish God’s richest blessings on you and I look forward to seeing the great things you will accomplish, as we continue to make progress together, as we build our beautiful Virgin Islands.

Thank you.

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