Former First Lady Lorna Smith has dismissed concerns over her age as being a barrier to her electability ahead of the upcoming general elections.
Not for the first time, Smith has contended that her energy and experience are the assets that matter and according to her, that experience is needed now more than ever to ensure the future of the country.
“Indeed, while some people have commented about my age, I would never swap the experience I have had, working with some of our most inspirational leaders,” Smith said recently. “Like my former schoolmates Ronnie Skelton and Honourable Julian Fraser, who are of similar age, I consider age to be merely a number.”
Smith said she believed in a combination of young, fresh-thinking leaders combined with tried and tested persons with know-how to move the country forward.
The former First Lady said she has had the good fortune of working with ‘illustrious BVI leaders and politicians’ including the late Cyril B Romney, Ralph T O’Neal, her husband and former Premier Dr D Orlando Smith, Omar W Hodge, Conrad Maduro and the great H Lavity Stoutt.
Smith said it was Stoutt who first entrusted her with overseeing the creation of the community college, which now bears his name. “It was then that I fully understood what it means to turn dreams into reality and to turn our territory into a first-world country,” she remarked.
In the meantime, Smith contended that the ability of youth to thrive and prosper is central to her vision of a sustainable future for the BVI.
She counted her mentorship of young professionals and her decade-long tenure with the board of the Youth Empowerment Programme (YEP) and the board of the HLSCC as critical in helping her with understanding the challenges that some young people face.
“These challenges are greater than ever before and to address them, I believe we need to start with fundamental reform to improve our childcare and our education system. At the most pivotal, we need to ensure we are providing the very best education at both elementary and high school levels,” Smith said.