On behalf of the Government and People of Montserrat, I wish to recognize everyone gathered here today, to pay respects to the memory of the Right Honourable Margaret Annie Dyer Howe. I extend condolences to the family especially her beloved husband, Mr.Howe and to her adopted daughter, Joycelyn, as well as to other close relatives and friends.
Having the opportunity to pay tribute to such a distinguished Montserratian, is a privilege that I do not take lightly.
It is said that though “good men must die,death cannot kill their names”. This has become evident over the past weeks since the passing of Mrs. Howe as we have listened to citations, interviews and tributes, all highlighting her numerous accomplishments and signal contributions to our island.
At the age of 23, Mrs. Howe had already begun to reveal her mettle as a leader, when she served as Vice President of the St. Patrick’s Credit Union and featured in organizations which took care of the elderly. She also focused on the role of women and vocational training for teenage mothers and pregnant teens – an absolutely remarkable achievement.
Mrs. Howe accomplished much as a Minister of Government, but she obviously did not need political office to motivate her for quality service to her island. During the years 1987 to 2001, a gap in her political career, she not only managed the Montserrat Water Authority with distinction, but also co-founded the very successful Howe’s Enterprise and established the Small Business Association. She thus used what was apparent loss, to shift her focus to another area on which to stamp her authenticity and to demonstrate excellence. Giving to her community and country was always her overriding interest.
Mrs. Howe has left us much to emulate as a nation, and others following me will no doubt give a chronological account of her life. I have chosen simply to focus on an aspect of her personality that no one who knew her for any length of time could ignore: in all she did, this formidable professional and passionate champion of women’s rights had a calm, unshakable dignity about her that set her apart. As one of our writers observed in 2018, “in her quiet way, she carried powerful credentials as an apostle of the underprivileged”. Yes, Margaret Annie Dyer-Howe was an ordinary woman, who produced extraordinary outcomes, breaking barriers and securing a legacy for the island which she loved so much.
I want to end with a quotation from the Citation connected to her award of the Order of Excellence in 2018:
“Evidently, Margaret Mary (Annie) Dyer-Howe was a prominent player in three major sectors of Montserratian society and with bankable success. She was humanitarian in temper, enlightened in governance and creative in economic enterprise.”
She certainly has a viable claim to being one of this island’s most accomplished women of all time.
May this rest from her labours only be interrupted by the loud ¬≠¬≠trumpet of God calling her to eternal life.