Mrs. Viola Maxima Hanley of Gingerland turned 90 years last weekend, an achievement the Hon. Hensley Daniel Minister of Social Development on Nevis believed, was a reward for her devout Christian values.
During a birthday celebration attended by family, friends and well wishers on Monday May 07, 2007, at Grove Park Road, on day after her birthday, Mr. Daniel said in brief remarks that Mrs Hanley like many other Nevisians who had recently celebrated their longevity lived a simple life.
“It seems to me that the people who are reaching these milestones there is something common about them and I say it for the benefit of all the young people. They are simple people who go about life espousing the Christian values of care, discipline, respect and honesty,” he said.
Another noteworthy trend Mr. Daniel referred to was that the celebrants were surrounded by caring children, grandchildren and great grand children who enjoyed the company and had showed appreciation. The elders he said, had responded and somehow took it to mean, that they had reason to continue to live and to live well.
Mr. Daniel took the opportunity to convey best wishes to Mrs. Hanley on behalf of Premier the Hon. Joseph Parry and his other Cabinet colleagues.
Area Representative the Hon. Robelto Hector who was also on hand for the celebration gave personal greetings and congratulated Mrs. Hanley on her milestone.
Meantime, Mr. Alistair Yearwood, Advisor in the Ministry of Tourism on Nevis who served as chairman said, Mrs Hanley had much to do with his formative years when his family migrated to Nevis from Trinidad.
He referred to her as being a pioneer in tourism on Nevis for having operated the first rental villa on Nevis in the 70’s
“Violet is a pioneer in tourism on Nevis. Sea Haven is one if not the first villa rental on Nevis and Violet was in charge of running it. My father lived in Trinidad and therefore this house was here and needed somebody to operate it and it operated as a villa rental. This was not easy for any young folk around. In those there was not any gas electricity, telephone and water. None of those were available in that area of the island.
“One had to cook on a wood range, kerosene lamps a windmill had to pump the water, life was not easy. Apart from being a very accomplished seamstress she produced an excellent cuisine. My lasting image of Violet has always been that of a person who is steadfast, God-fearing stern and accepted absolutely no nonsense however she is always fair and she could cook,” he reminisced.
In response Mrs. Hanley recounted her earlier years and spoke of her undying dedication to her church, the Gingerland Methodist Church. She said she had left school as a teenager to help to build the church, later joined the Girl Guides and the church choir.
“There is where I work for the Lord. I was not working for money. God gave me the strength and I do it and I was so happy, happier than now I could put me hand on a penny.
“Money turn some of us stupid, so it is better for us to work and labour for what we want don’t put our trust ’pon man, neither husband or no one because if we put or trust on them, we will never reach the pool. Jesus help each and everyone this afternoon and I thank every one. God bless every one thank you,” she said.
Also in attendance at the celebration was Mrs. Marjorie Morton President of the Nevis Island Assembly.