Members of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) held a gun salute honouring the life of Queen Elizabeth II at Queen Elizabeth Park earlier this afternoon.
Speaking at the brief ceremony, Governor John Rankin
said for most of the people in the territory, the Queen has been a constant in their lives as she has served for 70 years.
“She lived through great change, times of joy, times of loss, of challenge and tribulation but she remained steadfast throughout through dignity, decency, grace, and dedication. Most of all her reigns were one of service to the people of the United Kingdom, her realms and overseas territories and the commonwealth…Throughout her life, Her Majesty visited well over 100 countries and territories. Touching the lives of millions around the world. That includes the people of the Virgin Islands
,” Governor Rankin said.
“I know she touched the lives of people in these Virgins Islands, and I am grateful for the many tributes from those who remembered her visits so fondly. As I can testify when I was privileged to have an audience with Her Majesty, she was always knowledgeable, always interested and had a sense of fun. Today we join in the Queen Elizabeth Park to mourn the loss of the queen and to offer our thoughts and prayers to her family of which she was a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother,” the Governor added.
He noted that he wrote a letter of condolence to King Charles III on behalf of the people of the Virgin Islands
hoping he would take comfort in knowing the Queen was deeply respected and held in warm affection by people here.
Meanwhile, Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley said the Queen’s death was an end of an era and during that era, she had a great impact on people around the world and the Virgin Islands
“I reflect on the impact on my very own mother, who was six years old when Her Majesty the Queen was coronated in 1952 and she recalls receiving a coronation cup. We might take it for granted today but the impact of having a young woman thrust into such a significant position as the head of the Commonwealth and Queen over the United Kingdom and Overseas Territories. Back then it suddenly was revolutionary and inspiring to women around the world. And that is certainly something that is not lost on me,” Dr Wheatley said.
The Premier also reflected on the visits of the Queen in 1966 and 1977 and how the memories are still held in earnest by the people of the territory who remembered them.
“I reflect even more personally on the fact that my grandfather, then Chief Minister, Dr Willard Wheatley, hosted Her Majesty and Prince Philip, right here in the Virgin Islands
, and the type of pride that my family had with the pictures the portraits that they took together that still is in a position of prominence in our familia and I can say to you, that certainly it is a privilege for me to travel with the governor to the United Kingdom, and to convey our collective condolence to the royal family, to the people of the United Kingdom. To all overseas territories and to the Commonwealth,” Dr Wheatley said.