In a grand ceremony at the Moorings Marina and Yacht Club on Saturday 18th June 2022, the Rotary Club of Tortola installed Valerie Georges-Thomas as President and a new board of Directors to lead the Club into its 55th year.

President Valerie was inducted as a member of the Rotary Club of Tortola in August 2004. She was Assistant District Secretary for District 7020 in 2019-2020 and has served in many capacities on the Board of Directors of the Club. She is a Paul Harris Fellow (+1). President Valerie particularly enjoys working on initiatives that involve the youth and the environment.  High on her agenda in the coming Rotary year will be a campaign to address the ongoing illegal littering and dumping of waste in the BVI. In her remarks at the dinner, President Valerie said that she is looking forward to serving in a year that is historic for Rotary International as the first woman, Ms. Jennifer E. Jones is installed as the 2022-23 President of Rotary International noting that Ms. Jones is urging Rotarians to dream big and harness their connections and the power of Rotary to turn those dreams into reality in order to transform the world.  President Valerie pledged to continue the Club’s exceptional service to the community locally and beyond under the Rotary International 2022-23 theme of “Imagine Rotary” and the District 7020 theme “Infinite Possibilities.”

The other members of the Board of Directors for the new Rotary year are Abby O’Neal -Vice President, Ian S. Smith – Immediate Past President, Kelvin Liburd – President Elect, Milton Creque Jr – Secretary, Kenneth Morgan – Treasurer, Ellie Crespi – Sergeant At Arms, Nakeema Bell – Secretary Elect, Humphry Leue – Treasurer Elect and Directors Argel Horton, Ixora Wong, Brian Liverpool, Henry Creque, Selina O’Neal and Cathy Richards.

During the evening’s festivities, Rotarian Selina “Sherry” O’Neal was named Rotarian of the Year for 2021-22 for the commitment and dedication she has shown to the work and well-being of the Club and Rotary in the BVI since being inducted as a member only last year. A highlight of the evening’s proceedings was the bestowing of community Paul Harris Fellows on Ms. Noni Georges and Mrs. Antoinette Skelton.

Ms. Georges was honored for her acts of charity and volunteerism in so many areas of BVI life. She was instrumental in the establishment of the Youth Empowerment Program in 2003. She has been deeply involved in environmental initiatives and is a local liaison and legal expert on the BVI Waste Management Strategy Review Project.  Ms. Georges is also involved in the provision of pro bono legal services through the BVI Pro Bono Project which she launched in 2013. She is Chair of the Guana Fund and has coordinated over $250,000 in donations to the community, from 2016 to date, including the implementation of BVI Meals.  Ms. Georges is also the Managing Director of Seven Seas Water Corporation through which, since 2018, she has overseen more than $50,000 in donations supporting a variety of BVI community organizations.

Mrs. Skelton was recognized for her long-standing role in social security. She was the Director of the British Virgin Islands Social Security Board from 1990 to 2021; prior to that she held the position of Deputy Director from 1982.  Mrs. Skelton served as Chairperson of the Public Service Commission and a member of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission from 2006 – 2010.  She also served on several committees such as the Income Tax Board of Referees, the Advisory Committee on Fiscal Matters. Additionally, she was a Bureau Member of the International Social Security Association (ISSA) for approximately 13 years. Mrs. Skelton is an active member of the Seventh Day Adventists Church and has served in various positions locally and at the conference level. Mrs. Skelton was awarded the 2016 Atlantic Connection Pathfinder Award in Coral Gables, Florida for her continued support and her exceptional contribution to global fiduciary education and fiscal responsibility.

In his outgoing remarks to attendees, current President Ian S. Smith said that it was an honor to lead the Club in 2021-22 and that despite the challenges of the global pandemic, the Club achieved the service goals it set for the year while improving on camaraderie between members and membership engagement.    As a result of its efforts, the Club received the District 7020 Distinction Award, the Club of the Month Gold Award, and Zone 34 Public Image Platinum Certificate.  President Ian gave a rundown of some of the seventy-five (75) impactful community projects that were successfully undertaken during the year and said that at the end of it, the greatest satisfaction as leader has been in serving and making a difference in the community.

The proceedings also included a live auction to raise funds for community projects, and dancing to cap off an exciting evening of Rotary celebration and fellowship.