A grocery store founder and a youth leader in the Virgin Islands made the Queen’s New Year Honours list for their service to the territory.
Peter Haycraft, founder of Road Town Wholesale, and Stacy Mather, director of the Youth Empowerment Project, made Queen Elizabeth II’s 2020 Diplomatic Service and Overseas List.
Mr. Haycraft was awarded the Queen’s Order of the British Empire (OBE), which recognises outstanding achievement or community service that has a significant long-term impact. Mr. Mather was awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), which is awarded to an individual having a major role in any activity whose work has made them known in the territory.
Governor Gus Jaspert stated that Mr. Haycraft has been “a leading light in his contribution to business and supporting educational, cultural, sailing and voluntary organisations across the territory for many years,” according to a Dec. 31 press release issued by Government Information Services.
Enis Adams Primary School, which was destroyed during Hurricane Irma and then newly rebuilt with a multi-million-dollar contribution from Mr. Haycraft, was commissioned and turned over to the government on Sept. 9.
During a handover ceremony, officials lauded Mr. Hay- craft for his financial contribution, but he was reluctant to accept the praise, handing most of the acclaim to Hesketh Newton, CEO of Newton Construction Company, which oversaw the school’s construction.
“I’m very grateful, but I had the easy job,” he said. “It’s easy to pay someone to build: It’s a lot more difficult to build it.”
Mr. Haycraft also donated money in 2018 to help launch the Nurse Iris O’Neal Medical Centre in Virgin Gorda.
He arrived in the territory in 1961 with his wife, Penny, and he is well known for establishing RTW.
Mr. Jaspert also praised Mr. Mather’s support of young people in the VI for more than 15 years. Through his leadership of YEP, Mr. Mather and his team have provided a safe space for many children to develop various skills, he explained.
Since opening its doors in 2006, YEP has worked to in- spire young people to pursue
learning experiences that will help them become socially responsible citizens.
The centre celebrated its 14th anniversary in May, when 13 memorandums of understanding were signed with local businesses and programmes.
During the ceremony, founder and sponsor Dr. Henry Jarecki acknowledged Mr. Mather’s effort throughout the years, and commended him for being one of the many adults who serve as “role models that [children] don’t have to be afraid of.”
Mr. Mather received a stand- ing ovation from attendees at the anniversary celebration.
YEP might expand soon. In May, Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture Minister Dr. Natalio Wheatley promised to provide a $200,000 grant and to add more YEP facilities.
He also announced that YEP found a property in Virgin Gorda that looks promising, and said the current building in Fat Hogs Bay eventually will be moved closer to Road Town.