BASSETERRE, ST. Kitts — On March 4, family and friends of Ms. Avanel ‘Ellen’ Akers, who until her death last month was a Skills Training Empowerment Programme (STEP) Field Officer, gathered for a home-going service at the House of Deliverance New Testament Church of God on Main Street in Tabernacle Village.
Prime Minister and Minister with responsibility for STEP and Area Parliamentary Representative for St Christopher Seven, Dr. the Hon Timothy Harris, joined family and friends at the service.
“I wish on behalf of my family, indeed on behalf of the Parliament to extend deepest condolences to Darlin Akers and the extended family, Akers and Williams,” said the Hon. Dr. Harris.
The Honourable Prime Minister and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Senator the Hon. Dr. Bernicia Nisbett, left Parliament, which was in session, to attend the home-going service. Also present at the service was the St. Kitts and Nevis Resident Ambassador in Cuba, Her Excellency Verna Mills, who is originally from Tabernacle Village.
“Ellen was well known in the community, well respected as a strong young lady with an independent mind, she could fight her own battles,” said Dr. Harris. “With her last job on STEP, the reports were good. She was one of the few people who could take a hard job and do what was required, and I recommend her work.
“On behalf of the entire Tabernacle community and beyond, I extend again heartiest condolences to the family as you mourn this terrible loss,” said Dr. Harris.
The home-going service was officiated by Pastor Keith Phipps, a brother of the late Ms. Avanel ‘Ellen’ Akers, who is also a STEP Field Officer, and Senior Pastor Octavia Charles-Warner. The entire STEP head office staff and field officers led by Director Emile Greene attended the service.
“Ms. Akers was one of our very outstanding field officers,” said Greene. “Given the work and changes that we are making at STEP, I can tell you we are going to miss her. But the song we are singing today is symbolic of what we can say of Ms. Akers.”
STEP staff paid tribute to their fallen colleague by rendering the song ‘What a friend we have in Jesus.’
“What a friend we have in Ellen, because many of her attributes, her kindness, her frankness, her honesty, her dedication to her work and her attributes you can find in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,” said Greene. “I want us to appreciate the very good work that she has done while she was with us.”
Several glowing and moving tributes were paid, among them by her mother Ms. Iris Williams who is better known as Darlin Akers, and by Senior STEP Field Officer Jason McKoy. The eulogy was read by her niece, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Senator the Hon. Dr Bernicia Nisbett.
Interment was at the Tabernacle cemetery, where her brother Pastor Keith Phipps led the proceedings. Area Parliamentary Representative, Prime Minister Dr the Hon Timothy Harris laid the first wreath followed by family members, community members and her friends. STEP’s Field Officer for Saddlers to Dieppe Bay Keith Hendricks laid a wreath on behalf of the staff of STEP.