REMARKS BY MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
HONOURABLE MARLON PENN
ON THE OCCASION OF THE RENAMING AND DEDICATION CEREMONY FOR THE ANEGADA CLINIC IN HONOUR OF NURSE ROMALIA SMITH
MONDAY, 21ST JANUARY, 2019
Honourable Dr. D. Orlando Smith, OBE, Premier and Minister of Finance
Honourable Dr. Kedrick Pickering, Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour
Honourable Myron V. Walwyn, Minister for Education and Culture
Honourable Ronnie W. Skelton, Leader of the Opposition
Honourable Dr. Hubert O’Neal, Junior Minister for Tourism and 9th District Representative
Honourable Andrew Fahie, 1st District Representative
Honourable Archibald Christian, Territorial Representative
Honourable Melvin Turnbull, 2nd District Representative
Permanent Secretary and staff of the Ministry of Health and Social Development
Chief Executive Officer and staff of the BVI Health Services Authority
Other government officials,
Guest of honour, Nurse Romalia Smith and family
Dr. Charles Wheatley
Ladies and gentlemen, Members of the media
Good morning! It is a great pleasure to be here with all of you on this very enchanting island to officially rename a facility that plays such a vital role in the lives of the people of Anegada.
Today’s ceremony signifies another festive milestone in the Government’s quest to pay homage to exceptional health workers by dedicating healthcare facilities in their honour.
As you know, this process began prior to my appointment as your Health Minister, dating back over several decades with the naming of community health facilities in tribute to the late Nurses Iris O’Neal, Iris Penn-Smith, Rosalind Penn, Adina Donovan, and, most recently, Theresa Smith-Blyden. Such commemoration serves as a means to keep alive the memory of those persons who gave of their intellects and meagre resources to provide life-saving care to the people of our Territory.
As nursing has been a female-dominated profession, this public commemoration also helps to do justice to the role played by women in the development of our country, and provides fresh inspiration to women and girls of all ages that their intellect, compassion and strength remain vital to shaping the values we hold dear as a people.
Today, I am privileged to have this opportunity to celebrate the contributions of another outstanding healthcare professional and daughter of the Virgin Islands, Nurse Romalia Smith. It is especially delightful to be able to present her flowers, both literally and symbolically, while she is alive and well, and surrounded by her family, friends and extended community whose lives she has so meaningfully touched.
In so many ways, “Miss Romalia” is characteristic of a generation who, throughout the Virgin Islands, fought against incredible odds to build the foundation of the society we enjoy today. She is described by those who know her as a phenomenal woman, mother, friend, nurse and a true Virgin Islands patriot. The diligence, devotion and generosity she embodied throughout many years of public service, and even in retirement, is a true testament of her genuine love for the people of Anegada and the entire Virgin Islands.
These principles still resonate with us today, even as our communities have experienced many changes and transformations over the years. We continue on this noble quest to build a stronger, smarter, better and more cohesive Virgin Islands. Better, stronger, together.
The Anegada Clinic is a fitting symbol of this Government’s commitment to strengthen the Territory’s health infrastructure. In 2015 improvements were made to the clinic's roof, windows, electrical, exterior wall and floor finishing. As a result, it became the Territory’s only health facility aside from Peebles Hospital to be designated as a SMART facility in line with the ‘safe and green’ standards established by the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO). It is no coincidence that both facilities largely withstood the severe weather events of 2017.
Being a strong facility, it is also quite fitting that it should bear the name of a strong and noble woman.
I am very pleased therefore, to declare this clinic officially renamed “The Romalia Smith Clinic” – in honour of this great daughter of the Virgin Islands.
I would like to thank Nurse Romalia for her service, and for graciously accepting this honour; the persons who served on the Anegada Clinic renaming committee; the staff of the Ministry of Health and the Anegada District Office and everyone who made it possible to be a part of this joyous occasion.
Thank you and God bless us all.