[blockquote style=”1″]All she said to me just do what she wants, when she tell me to stop, I must stop, when she tell me to move on, I must move on, things like that” said Joseph E. Williams who was awarded for his special service 50 years ago said, remembering his conversation with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the second.[/blockquote]
The dark sky was illuminated for close to five minutes with a spectacular display of fireworks in all colors and designs, signaling the end of the two week long celebration to mark the 90th Birthday celebration of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the second on Festival Ground in Road Town Tortola, on the evening of Thursday 21st April 2016; had Her Majesty been in physical attendance, even she would be impressed.
The celebration done “BVI style” began with a parade of military, parliamentary and civic organizations and schools at Fish Lock Road and ended at the Festival Ground with much fanfare of the royal salute, the inspection of the parade by the Governor, accompanied by the Parade commander and Deputy Commissioner of Police, a march past, a 21 gun salute, removal of head dress and the singing of a happy birthday song that was followed by three cheers to Her Majesty the Queen and the replacing of the headdress. His Excellency the Governor then read a message of greetings to Her Majesty the Queen followed by Her Majesty’s response. At the ceremony, several persons were recognized for their long and dedicated service in the Royal Virgin Islands Police, Fire and Rescue and the Royal Virgin Island Police Band. Special awards were given to Mrs. Mignon Brewley-the widow of the late Earl Brewley, who was the owner of the 1966 Buick Electra Convertible used to transport Her Majesty during her visit and Mr. Joseph E. Williams- the then 23 year old Police Officer who drove the Queen during her visit in 1966 in recognition of service rendered 50 years ago.
Also part of the ceremony, first and second place winners along with participants of an essay writing completion were recognized. They wrote on the topic: What Does Being British Mean to Me.” In the secondary Division category, Damien Williams of the BVI Adventist School copped the first place, followed by Jada Angus of the Elmore Stoutt High School in second place. In the tertiary category, the first place went to Jamoll St. Rose of the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College and in the Adult category, Carissa Richards took awards for the first place and Eileene Parsons came in the second position.
The following are other individuals who were also awarded.
First Clasp to the Overseas Territories Police Forces Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct- 25 years: Superintendent St. Clair Amory, Inspector Dariel Robinson, Sergeant Beverly James, Sergeant Francia James-Liburd, Sergeant Lincoln Liburd, Sergeant Hemchand Singh, Constable Vinroy King, Constable Mary-Hilda Phillip and Constable Joycelyn Rhymer.
Second Clasp to the Overseas Territories Police Forces Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct-30 years: Superintendent Alexis Charles, Chief Inspector Duncan Williams, Inspector Joel Gumbs, Inspector Calvin James, and Sergeant Westmore Jeffers.
Overseas Territories Fire and Rescue Brigade Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct-18 years: Sub Officer Aldith C. Penn, Sub Officer David I. Ronan, Fire Officer Liston J. Potter, and Fire Officer Cuthbert K. Robinson.
First Clasp to the Overseas Territories Fire and Rescue Brigade Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct-25 years: Station Officer Joseph A George.
Second Clasp to the Overseas Territories Fire and Rescue Brigade Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct-30: Station Officer Joseph A. George
Overseas Territory Prison Service Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct -18 years: Principal Officer Kemrill Daniel, Principal Officer Douglas Joseph and Grade 1 Officer Glenford Prentice.
Awards in recognition of dedicated service as a member of the Royal Virgin Island Police Band: Inspector Selwyn Rock -23 years, Ag. Sergeant Steve George-21 years, Ruben Fernandez-21 years, Romero Guishard-21 years, Emerald Gumbs-21 years, Clayton Williams-21 years, Keble Mc Donald-20 years, Irvin Meade-18 years, Carlos Arias-16 years, Samuel George-10 years
Speaking to VI Life & Style Magazine moments after the ceremony, Superintendent St. Clair Amory awardee in the First Clasp to the Overseas Territories Police Forces Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct, said “It feels great knowing that you have actually reached 25 years. The funny thing is the years just fly by I just started in 1990, and it is now 2016. I can’t believe that 25 years have actually gone. You just feel good. It’s a milestone.”
Meanwhile the two individuals that were recognized for their royal duties also spoke to this magazine.
An obviously beaming Mrs. Mignon Brewley said her only wish was that her husband was alive to receive the special number plate that she received on his behalf for his royal service. When asked what she intend to do with the number plate, she said, “Only one they gave me if it was a pair I would put it on the jeep on the front and back. So I haven’t decided what I am going to do with it yet.”
Mr. Joseph E. Williams- the now 74-year-old retired police officer who drove the Queen at her first visit commented, “It was a very nice day, she landed at West End on her Ship.” Questioned on his special task 50 years ago, he said he was selected because he was a careful driver and the right man for the job. “I felt good after the job was done. I wanted to finish the job and then I was happy,” He told members of the media of his experience. According to him, he was not nervous since he was used to the area but admitted that at first, he felt intimidated by her presence but after a while, he felt “quite comfortable,” adding that at the end of the job he received a Royal Victoria medal, something he still has in his cherished possessions.
Adding another award to his collection for this deed, the retired Police Officer had this to say: “I didn’t expect it really, but I am very humbled and happy to know that before I go that my offspring will have something to remember me too.”
There was a brief lull in the celebration at the Festival grounds and for the final part of the celebration- the beacon lighting.
At 6.30 pm, persons from all social standings converged to witness the beacon lighting that was simultaneously being done in Anegada, Jost Van Dyke and Virgin Gorda. In Tortola the four youth representatives were given the task of putting lit torches to the already fueled beacon, were, Kaylah Skelton of the BVI Girl Guides, Mareq Romney of the BVI Branch of the Scuott’s Association, Valiston Guishard of the Mentoring Anointed Leaders Everywhere (MALE) and Damien Williams who is the Secondary Division Category Essay winner.
In no time, the silver metal crown that was placed on top of the large metal ball engraved with dancers, lost its shine, replaced by a burned metal crown and embers from the beacon remained.
To add to the festivity, there were performances by Ivan Dawson Primary School Bell Ringers, drills by BVI Pathfinders and a drumming ensemble by the Advent Heartbeats. Groups and the audience joined in singing a lively birthday song to the Queen, who was a million miles away.