Deputy Premier and Seventh District Representative, Hon. Dr. Kedrick Pickering continues to receive praises from his colleagues, even from those across the aisle.
Yesterday, July 24 as the people of the Seventh District celebrated the official re-dedication and re-opening of the Stickett at Long Look, Hon. Ralph T. O'Neal, Opposition Leader and Ninth District Representative said Dr. Pickering is an individual who shows respect to all Members of the House of Assembly.
"I must say that the Member for the Seventh District is one of those members who have respect for all the officials and he is very keen about the welfare of members present and retired. And it is good to know that and to know that there is someone who is prepared to look after it and look after them and find out what they might be afraid to tell you about," he stated.
The Stickett project, which is the brainchild of Dr. Pickering, who is also the Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, was started under the former Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Government in 2010 with the relentless efforts by Dr. Pickering, who was in opposition at the time.
Hon. Ralph T. O’Neal, Opposition Leader, Hon. Dr. Kedrick Pickering, Deputy Premier and Seventh District Representative and residents in the area of The Stickett , July 24, 2013.
Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
The area was one of the first places in the western world where land was handed over to slaves and according to Government, it is seen as a new addition to the historical sites in the Territory.
BVI Platinum News confirmed with the Premier's Office that the two-phased project was done in the region of $260,000.00.
According to Government, the Stickett has undergone infrastructural changes to restore and beautify the area that was once in popular use for gatherings, town meetings and community discussions.
Hon. O'Neal during his remarks said the day was dedicated to Dr. Pickering as he worked hard to push through the project from the former VIP Government and now under this Government. The Opposition Leader and former Premier said it is good to see that the project started under the previous Government and another Government completed it. He expressed gratitude to Dr. Pickering for insisting that he spoke at the event.
At the event, a lot was said about the need for the area to be utilized as an area where residents gather to do positive things. Hon. O'Neal said persons are losing a lot of their customs and the substitutes are not the best in the world.
Hon. O'Neal said he is hopeful that a similar project will be undertaken at Town Bay on Virgin Gorda.
Before commencing his address, Dr. Pickering asked for a moment of silence for the two young men, Keri 'Hank' Harrigan and Melbourne Francis who were shot and killed in the area in 2011 and 2013 respectively.
The Seventh District Representative spoke extensively on the historical significance of the area. He said it is paramount that they fight to ensure the history is told to the younger generation, which if not done, can be catastrophic.
He commented on the importance of safeguarding locals land.
He said in 1776, Samuel and Mary Nottingham who were Quakers and living in Long Island, New York, gave the land to the slaves. "It is the first free slaves plantation in the western world."
He also read the letter that the Nottinghams wrote giving the slaves permission to occupy the land as free owners of the land.
Stigma Attached To Long Look
Dr. Pickering reminisced on his younger days when there was a stigma attached to Long Look, where it was the view that nothing good could have come out of that area.
"When I was growing up, I say this all the time and some people think it's funny, but it isn't funny. When I was growing up there was a stigma attached to Long Look that nothing good could come out of Long Look. In my time, we had to fight, everything was a fight. You go town to play, you got to fight; you go to participate, you got to fight...Just because you come from Long Look."
He added, "The psychological impact of things like that is no different from us who continue to tell our children negative things. If you continue to tell your children that they would never accomplish anything, then they would never accomplish anything because it scars them for life. And so we had to contend with that growing up in this community."
The Deputy Premier said community leader, Mr. Ivan Lettsome was the one person who took a very keen interest in young males in the community. "He tried to teach us pride in ourselves, pride in our community...It was people like him who had such a keen interest in young males; that helped people like myself to move beyond the whole concept and that negativism that once you're from Long Look nothing good comes out."
He related that Long Look has now evolved and produced a number of successful persons and they are now forced to ensure that this trend continues.
Dr. Pickering urged residents to take care of the area and as a community, set an example that their community is the cleanest.
The District Representative assured that the sewerage issues will be addressed soon, but pointed out that Government needs to remove all the old cars and boat. "We have to clean up the place."
He also mentioned that the attention being placed on historical sites will contribute significantly to the tourism product.
All the speakers at the event urged residents to take care of the area and keep it clean.
Premier and Finance Minister, Hon. Dr. Orlando Smith encouraged residents to continue to tell the story and preserve the history of the Territory and its people. He too implored on residents to bring back the area to life by holding community meetings and other meetings.
As part of the project, photographs of four outstanding citizens of the community were erected on the wall across at the Stickette.
One of the four men is Mr. Ivan Lettsome, who is 93 years old. He was the founder of the Long Look Boy's Brigade and a community and church leader.
The other three are the late Hon. Terrance B. Lettsome, former Communications and Works Minister; Rev. Moses Stevens, a local preacher, businessman and community leader; and Hon. Leslie F.
Malone, former Seventh District Representative, who played a major part for the drafting of the Alien Land Holding Regulation Act 1960 which still protects locals' land.
Previous Article Published July 18, 2013 - Gov't Looks To Restore Historic Long Look Stickett
In recent years, the Stickett has been associated with two murders and questions have been raised from the community about activities around the area; however, government is moving to restore the historic significance of the site.
Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
According to the Premier's Office, in commemorating The Stickett, an area of historical significance to the Virgin Islands, the government of the Virgin Islands is inviting the public to the ceremony to re-dedicate and re-open the Stickett on Wednesday, July 24 at 5:00 pm.
Recently, the Stickett has undergone infrastructural changes to restore and beautify the area that was once in popular use for gatherings, town meetings and community discussions.
In March 2011, Keri 'Hank' Harrigan was gunned down opposite the Stickett in the area of the Long Look clinic and as recent as May of this year, Cornel Melbourne Francis known as 'Trouble' was shot and killed in the area of the Stickett.
There have been concerns raised about the activities conducted by young men who allegedly used the area to carry out illicit activities, including the sale of drugs. It came out during the Harrigan murder trial that some young men do smoke marijuana in the area.
Meanwhile, Premier Hon. Dr. Orlando Smith speaking on the project said, "I am pleased that the project has been completed and yet another historical site is to be commemorated. I am also encouraged that Wednesday's ceremony will be an opportunity for residents to learn more about the historical significance of the area. The Stickett really binds the community to an important part of our history."
According to the Premier's Office, commenting on the history of the Stickett, Deputy Premier, Minister for Natural Resources and Seventh District Representative, Hon. Dr. Kedrick Pickering said the Stickett, in the heart of Long Look, was one of the first places in the western world where land was handed over to slaves.
"We have not only beautified the landmark, but we are preserving the symbol and embracing the memory of what Virgin Islands' ancestors went through."
The Stickett project, which began in November 2010, included the
building of a gazebo, sidewalks, a retaining wall, parking lot, recreational park and landscaping.
Regarding the beautification portion of the project, Hon. Pickering said, "Beautifying the area is another way of reaching out and creating community pride and worth."