Ruth Dancia Penn, OBE, QC
Former Deputy Governor of the British Virgin Islands
Ruth Dancia Penn is a former Deputy Governor of the British Virgin Islands.
Penn was the first woman to be appointed as Deputy Governor, and the first British Virgin Islander to serve as Attorney General (1992 - 1999).
She served briefly as the acting Governor of the British Virgin Islands during 2006 in the gap between Tom Macan leaving office and David Pearey taking up his appointment.
In July 2007, Penn announced her candidacy to stand for the 8th district in the General Election held on 20 August 2007 in the British Virgin Islands on behalf of the Virgin Islands Party (VIP). She was elected to office, defeating the incumbent Lloyd Black, and she was appointed the Minister of Heath and Welfare, and as the Deputy Premier of the British Virgin Islands. However, in the General Election held on 7 November 2011 she lost her 8th district seat to Marlon Penn.
In 2007, Penn took up a temporary appointment as an acting judge of the Court of Appeal of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. She was required to give up that appointment shortly after formally entering politics as a candidate.
There had been considerable speculation after the 2007 that when the then Premier of the British Virgin Islands, Ralph T. O'Neal retired, Penn would be named as his successor as leader of the Virgin Islands Party, and would thereby become the first female Premier in the Territory. Her defeat in the 2011 election precluded (or at least deferred) that possibility. Penn subsequently ran again for the legislature in the 2015 General Election, but ran as an independent rather than as a Virgin Islands Party candidate, and ran at-large rather than for the 8th district. She was not elected in 2015.
Professionally Dancia Penn goes by her maiden name, but her legal name has been changed to Mrs Dancia Penn-Sallah since her marriage to Captain Sallah, former Registrar of Ships in the British Virgin Islands.
Honours and awards
She was appointed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE).