PLP reacts to passing of Leonora Sneek-Gibbs

The community of St. Eustatius has learned with horror of the untimely passing of Mrs. Leonora Sneek-Gibbs after a short illness. The shocking news engendered a collective numbness of disbelief in the community; Statia was in mourning.

First of all on behalf of the Progressive Labour Party we want to extend our heartfelt condolences to her husband Councilman Nicolas “Koos” Sneek and the rest of the family and her friends. We also extend feelings of sympathy to the entire community of St. Eustatius that has lost a favorite daughter. Her contributions to this community extend beyond what our words can convey. The fruits of her labor stand testament to her love and dedication to the people of Statia. Her progress from humble beginnings serves as example to others to seize the opportunities for personal fulfillment in life. May her soul rest in eternal peace.

Leonora Sneek-Gibbs like so many Statians left her island of birth to seek an education and further develop herself personally. Unlike so many others, she returned to Statia many years later to make her contribution. She undertook this mission with an energy and dedication that is rare. Nora, as she was affectionately known, immersed herself in Statia’s community in many ways.

She was a civil servant managing of the government’s human resources department, her field of study; she was a dedicated member of the Methodist Church; she was a leading member of the Statia Lions Club to the end, together with her husband and attended many regional and international Lions meetings and conventions; she was also a founding member of the Quota Club on Statia and still served on its board at the time of her death; she was involved in many other community organizations and groups and represented the island in a host of committees and delegations both at home and abroad.

Nora entered the political arena to make her contribution there as well; first joining the Statia Democratic Party and later establishing her own Statia Action Movement (SAM); for the DP she was elected to the island council and became a commissioner. Not long after that she was elevated to the national government when she represented the DP in the government of Miguel Pourier as State Secretary of Constitutional Affairs. Nora was the standard bearer of Statia’s quest to remain within the Netherlands Antilles when the country threatened to fall apart. The country got a temporary respite when the other islands also chose in referendums to remain in the Netherlands Antilles. Nora worked to consolidate that success.

One venture that took up a lot of her time in the last few years was her S.P.I.C.E. foundation dedicated to cultural and educational activities. Nora was in the process of establishing her SPICE Academy to be a educational institution aimed at affording the youth better opportunities for development. Unfortunately, she would not see the launch of this venture.

There is a lot more to be said about Nora, but the message is clear. Statia has lost a stalwart, an iconic figure, a person who dedicated everything she had to helping and supporting others in the community. Like all of us she was not perfect but that was no excuse for her pressing on tirelessly answering the call to service, as a good Lion and Statian. May Nora rest softly and sweetly.

On behalf of the Progressive Labour Party of St. Eustatius.

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