In a small, private ceremony held Friday at Government House, officials celebrated the 95th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II while announcing medals for public safety officers.
Twenty-seven officers were awarded seven different medals, ranging from 18 years of service to 25 years of service (see sidebar).
Governor John Rankin delivered the royal greeting at the beginning of the morning ceremony.
“I am pleased to welcome you all this morning to this event to mark the official birthday of Her Majesty the Queen, and to present long-service and good-conduct medals to members of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, Her Majesty’s Prison Service and our Fire and Rescue Services,” he said.
He added that Queen Elizabeth II is the longest-reigning monarch and longest-ever serving female monarch in the world.
“In her broadcast speech to the Commonwealth in 1947, the Queen, as then Princess Elizabeth, said the following: ‘I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service,’” the governor said. “Her Majesty has more than lived up to that pledge and has been, and remains, an example of duty to which we can all but aspire.”
Mr. Rankin also offered condolences for Prince Philip, who died naturally on April 9, about two months before his 100th birthday. Prince Philip and the Queen were married for 70 years.
“People all over the world, including here in the Virgin Islands, join together in mourning his death and offering our deep condolences to Her Majesty,” Mr. Rankin said. “The Queen, following a period of mourning, is back on her duty.”
Mr. Rankin also read aloud the birthday wishes he sent to the Queen on behalf of the territory.
“May it please Your Majesty with humble duty on the behalf of all Her Majesty’s loyal subjects in the Virgin Islands, I am delighted to convey our good wishes and most loyal affectionate greetings on the occasion of Your Majesty’s 95th birthday,” he read.
Then he read a response from Buckingham Palace, which stated that the Queen sends her “warm good wishes especially during this difficult time.”
The governor then switched notes to begin commemorating the 27 public safety officers (see sidebar).
Overseas Territories Police Forces Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct – 18 years
Sergeant Gilbert Charles
Sergeant Lina Francis-Richardson
Sergeant Sean McCall
Sergeant Angeline Samuel-Stevens
Sergeant Nicholas Tranquille
Constable Victoria Charles
Constable Tommy Daniel
Constable Gleason L. Lafeuille
First Clasp to the Overseas Territories Police Forces Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct – 25 years
Inspector Antoine John
Sergeant Kendolph Bobb
Sergeant Claire Demming
Sergeant Stany Francis
Constable Alvin Bolton
Constable Calvert Romney
Constable Agetta Smith
Second Clasp to the Overseas Territories Police Forces Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct – 30 years
Superintendent St. Clair Amory
Chief Inspector Dariel Robinson
Constable Mary Phillip
First Clasp to the Overseas Territories Prison Service Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct – 25 years
Acting Superintendent Royston Percival
Matron Jacqueline Lake-Bell
Overseas Territories Fire and Rescue Brigade Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct – 18 years
Leading Fire Officer Gabriel Winchester
Fire Officer Alston Richardson
Fire Officer Dinsley Samuel
First Clasp to the Overseas Territories Fire and Rescue Brigade Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct – 25 years
Leading Fire Officer A. Gaston Walters
Fire Officer Cuthbert Robinson