Eileene Lucia Parsons, OBE
Former Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Council of the British Virgin Islands
Eileene Lucia Parsons is a former Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Council of the British Virgin Islands.
Early life and education
Eileene Lucia Parsons was born on 5 July 1930 on the island of Tortola and she went to live with her mother's aunt Constance Parrott. She and her aunt moved to St Thomas where she attended Charlotte Amalie High School.
Parsons higher education continued in Puerto Rico where she learnt about dressmaking and Industrial Arts.She took an associate degree on the Virgin Islands and BSc in promoting tourism at Florida International University.
Parsons taught at schools in the American and British Virgin Islands as well as working as a secretary to high profile administrators at the college and the Department of Education. For five years she was the registrar and bursar at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College. In her spare time she was involved with a number of cultural and sporting initiatives as well as writing for the local paper and co-writing a book on the history of the performing arts.
Parsons also served as Cultural Officer from 1984-1989 and has been active in culture and sports. She founded the Community Singers and the BVI Heritage Dance Company. She has also written extensively for publication in local newspapers and co-authored the book 1834 - 1984 - One Hundred and Fifty years of Achievement and Development through the Performing Arts.
She also chaired the BVI's Festival Committee from 1975-83.
In 1983 Mrs. Parsons entered the arena of politics as a candidate for district five, she contested the seat unsuccessfully in the 1986 and 1990 elections. In 1995 as an Independent candidate, she was elected number one from a field of 24 candidates, with the highest number of votes cast to date in the territory; thus becoming one of the first two women elected to political office.
Mrs. Parsons served as a member of the Opposition from 6 March - 31 May 1995, and as a member of the Government back bench from 1 June, 1995 - 24 February, 1997. On 25 February 1997, she was appointed Minister of Health, Education and Welfare, becoming the first female Minister in 30 years of Ministerial Government. Mrs. Parsons retained her seat in the fourteenth Legislature, polling the fourth highest number of votes as Territorial candidate in the general election of 17 May 1999. On 21 May 1999, she was appointed as Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Health, Education and Welfare in the Virgin Islands Party Government. That appointment was revoked on 20 July 2000.
She contested the 2003 general election as a candidate for the National Democratic Party and became Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Council, serving from July 2003 to 2005.
Mrs. Parsons is the mother of two - a daughter (now deceased) and a son.
Honour and awards
She was appointed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2013.
The Eileene L. Parsons Auditorium at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College was named in her honour.