Ms. Eliza “Liza Liburd Jeffers” Flanders of Hamilton became the newest centenarian on Nevis when she celebrated her 100th birthday Nov. 30.
“At the Ministry and Department of Social Development, we are always happy to come and celebrate when seniors make these milestones. It’s a big deal for us! A very big deal for us! We have always been boasting about how many centenarians that we have, and we are happy that Eliza Jeffers would have added to that number of centenarians,” Hon. Eric Evelyn, Minister of Social Development, who has responsibility for the island’s seniors, said.
She joins the only other living centenarian on the island, Ms. Mary Browne of River Path in Gingerland, who celebrated her most recent birthday Nov. 1.
“We are very proud that you would have reached this milestone, this landmark, and we want to assure you that my ministry will always be there to give all of the moral support that we can,” added Minister Evelyn, who was accompanied by staff of the Senior Citizens Division in his ministry.
The minister thanked her for what she has done for Nevis while presenting her with a token of appreciation.
“We want to thank you for the contribution that you have made to this constituency and to the island of Nevis, and we are here once again from Social Services to applaud you and to make this simple presentation. We are making this presentation on behalf of our ministry in collaboration with the City Drug Store and as I said we are looking forward to coming back year after year, after year,” he said. “So may God continue to bless you on behalf of the Department of Social Development and Social Services we say a very, very happy birthday. May God continue to bless you, be merciful to you and may you be around for many, many more years. Whatever you do continue to do. Continue to dance and you will be blessed abundantly.”
Mr. Evelyn referred to her birthday as a historic day for Nevis and his ministry, and applauded her vibrancy, which he had witnessed when he first met her three years ago dancing at a seniors fun day at the Elquemedo T. Willett Park.
The social development minister also commended her family for their care and support. Ms. Flanders, who is visually impaired, resides at her home in Hamilton. She mothered one child, a son, but raised many others as her own, most of whom travelled to Nevis to be with her to celebrate her milestone.
“I want to give a bit of praise and commendation to the family members who have been taking such fantastic care of Eliza because it’s good when somebody can reach this milestone and still be in the comfort of their own home and so commendation to the family members who would have done this,” he said.
The Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis, presented her with a Certificate of Recognition acknowledging her milestone on behalf of Mr. Evelyn’s ministry, and also congratulated her on behalf of the people of Nevis.
“On behalf of all the people of Nevis, as the Premier, I am delighted to be here this morning with you and with your loving family to say congratulations on attaining this significant milestone of 100 years…It seems that God has blessed you so abundantly that he has given you five score and based on all that we are seeing it is my hope, my fervent desire, my prayer that we will be able to come back and celebrate additional birthdays with you,” he said.
The Premier also commended her family for their love and care.
“I would want to take just half a minute more to say how proud I am of your family … You are 100 in your own home surrounded by your own family, and clearly the fact that many have travelled, as I asked some of them where they live, they say they live in places like New Jersey and Florida, they have come a long way to be with you on this significant day, and I believe it’s the love of family that sustains us just as the love of God. It gives us endurance, strength and longevity and so Madame Eliza, from the government our token of appreciation and our congratulations to you on this your 100th birthday,” he said.
Hon. Spencer Brand, Area Representative for the St. Paul’s Parish, presented Ms. Flanders with a bouquet of fresh flowers. He said he knew her since he was a boy growing up in the Stoney Grove area and said he was surprised to see she still had the pep in her step and vigour in her dancing.
“You were one of those persons who helped to mould us youngsters in the Stoney Grove area. Sometimes you would have said things to us that perhaps you may have believed we were not listening, but we did take the advice and the suggestions and the guidance you would have given us as youngsters growing up in Stoney Grove,” he said.“You have made Stoney Grove and Hamilton not only a better community but you have certainly made the entire island of Nevis a much better community. We will continue to be indebted to you for the many years that you have worked hard on this island. We want to thank you and we want to say how grateful we are you are still with us.”.
Also present was Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, and Mr. Robelto Hector, Former Area representative for the Parish of St. Paul’s.
“Congratulations from the Federal Government,” Prime Minister Harris said. “I bring special greetings from Senator Wendy Phipps (Minister of State with responsibilities for Gender Affairs and Social Services). We have brought a basket to share with you as a token of appreciation. Again congratulations, may God continue to bless you and bless your family.”
Prime Minister Harris, who is also the Federal Minister of People Empowerment, said the government was appreciative of older persons in the society, especially the ones that have reached the 100-year mark, and noted that it has to find a way to show even greater appreciation and love for those who have attained that milestone.