The Legislative chamber that set the scene for public meetings on St. John was dedicated Friday in the name of former Senator Cleone Creque-Maynard.
A sign was unveiled before members of the 31st Legislature, family and friends a sign Friday morning proclaiming the Cleone Henrietta Maynard Legislative Conference Room.
Maynard personally thanked those seated in the chamber who came to offer congratulations.
First elected in 1977, Creque-Maynard served in the 12th, 13th, 15th, and 16th Legislatures. The honoree credited her decades of public service career to the support she received from the political party of her choice.
“Today is not my day,” said Creque-Maynard. “Today is the day I want you to remember the legacy of the Democratic Party.”
More than 40 years after her service in elected office, Creque-Maynard is still affiliated with party members through the Tuesday Morning Democratic Club.
Senate Vice President Janette Millin-Young led the dedication ceremony in Cruz Bay. She counted Creque-Maynard among notable female lawmakers including Lucinda Millin, Lorraine L. Berry, Ruby Rouse and Alicia Hansen.
“Women have long stood shoulder to shoulder with the men in fighting for political and societal changes,” Millin-Young said.
The St. John Legislative Annex was first opened in February 2012. Before that lawmakers did business and held hearings in a former dance hall behind the Julius E. Sprauve School known as the Hilltop Club. Prior to that, Senate hearings, small claims court, traffic court hearings and town meetings took place on the second floor of the Boulon Center, often with overflowing crowds.
Master of Ceremony Iver Stridiron said the naming of the St. John conference room adds Creque-Maynard’s name to those of former Senators Earle B. Ottley and Fritz Lawaetz, similarly honored on St. Thomas and St. Croix.
Known as a fearless leader, Creque-Maynard began taking on the system in the 1970s. She sponsored several pieces of legislation, including one that led to the creation of the St. John medical facility known today as the Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center. She passed a bill establishing the St. John Capital Improvement Fund and sponsored the creation of a franchise allowing ferries to operate between St. Thomas and St. John.
Bill No. 31-018, calling for the renaming of the St. John Legislative Conference Room, was sponsored by Millin-Young.
Millin-Young and Senators Almando Liburd, Tregenza Roach, Clifford Graham, Marvin Blyden, Justin Harrigan and Jean Forde joined the dedication ceremony Friday.
Former Senators Robert O’Connor, Gilbert Sprauve, Adelbert Bryan, Ruby Simmonds, Patrick Simeoon Sprauve, Shawn Michael-Malone and James O’Bryan also appeared in support of Creque-Maynard.
O’Connor, a businessman and former Senator-at-Large who was instrumental in the construction of the St. John Legislative Building, said he was pleased that although there were political rivalries among his Legislative colleagues, they always remained on good terms with one another.
“It is fitting for some place like this to bear her name,” O’Conner said.
St. John Administrator Camile Paris Jr. sent a representative to convey well wishes, as did Delegate to Congress Stacey Plaskett.
Both Governor Kenneth Mapp and Lt. Gov. Osbert Potter were out of the territory at the time of the dedication ceremony.