Former Deputy Governor Elton Georges, one of the territory’s most accomplished public servants, died Wednesday night after a bout with illness, according to family members.

Elton Georges

Mr. Georges was for decades one of the most recognisable faces in government, having served as permanent secretary, deputy governor and the territory’s first complaints commissioner.

“During his lifetime, Mr. Georges would have seen the public service and this territory evolved and transformed as his own contributions would have helped to shape many initiatives and significant changes in the territory, including the evolution of disaster management,” Premier Dr. Orlando Smith said in a statement on Thursday. “He was not afraid of change and was always finding different ways to strengthen the public service.”

Other current government officials also spoke fondly of him.

“No one could have questioned his deep faith and commitment to God,” Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie said in a statement. “He served the Lord and Saviour faithfully. We will miss him dearly, but may his legacy live on forever in our hearts.”

Family members asked members of the public to e-mail photos and tributes to

Georges’ statement

A few days prior his death, Mr. Georges issued a statement to members of the public service after false reports circulated that he had died.

“I have been fortunate to have a long life and the chance to see the Virgin Islands grow in so many ways,” he stated. “Almost my entire life has been spent in the public service through various occupations. Starting out as a teacher, permanent secretary, deputy governor and lastly as the territory’s first ombudsman, I believe I have seen a thing or two. I do get a chance to hear of the happenings of our community and if I may, I would like to say to the men and women serving in our public service that you must be ones to help our territory move out of our current state into an arena that spurs on growth, opportunities for Virgin Islanders, and services that treat one and all with dignity and respect.”