The content originally appeared on: The Anguillian Newspaper

Dr Linda Banks with family members

On the afternoon of Friday, February 25, 2022, family and friends of Dr. Oluwakemi Linda Banks gathered on the lawn of the Governor’s residence to witness Her Excellency, Governor Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam, present her with the Medal as Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, on behalf of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
The ceremony began with prayer being offered by Rev. Lindsay Richardson. He expressed thanks to God for blessing Dr. Banks with the propensity to serve, and prayed for continued blessings upon her, her family and her friends.

Dr Banks addressing attendees

“Lord, you have blessed your servant with many gifts and talents,” he prayed, “and through the years she has used those blessings to be of a blessing to others, not just to her family, but her community, her church and the people of this land. We are thankful for her contribution to our people in so many ways. We pray your blessings upon each of us, as we come together as family and friends to support your servant at this special time…”
The National Anthem and the National Song were played by the Royal Anguilla Police Force Community Band, and Michael “Dumpa” Martin and Perry Hughes provided musical entertainment. Admirably, Dr. Banks’ youngest brother, the renowned Clement “Bankie” Banks performed two of his classical songs, “Cherish the Rock” and “The Prince of Darkness”.

In her remarks, Her Excellency, Governor Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam described Dr. Banks as one who has made valuable contributions to Anguilla’s social and cultural development:
“We are here today to pay tribute to Dr. Oluwakemi M. Linda Banks who was appointed as a Member of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, in the 2020 Birthday Honours of Her Majesty the Queen, for her services to the social and cultural development of Anguilla.
“Of particular note is her professional pioneering work as a champion of mental health and social issues; her community leadership emphasising the role of girls and women in society; and her contribution to the preservation and promotion of Anguilla’s rich cultural heritage.

“It is in recognition of these valuable services that Her Majesty the Queen has conferred upon you to be a Member of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. It is with great pleasure that, on Her Majesty’s behalf, I present you with the medal. May I congratulate you, Dr Oluwakemi M. Linda Banks, on your honour.”

In responding after receiving the medal, Dr. Banks said in part: “Your Excellency, Governor Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam, Honourable Members of Government, distinguished guests, family and friends: This is a moment that is both humbling and uplifting, and I thank God for the privilege of being here today. This award is for my work in social and cultural development, and I stand on the shoulders of all the persons who have worked along with me over the years to make this possible.

Dr. Oluwakemi Linda Banks, MBE

“I dedicate this to the memory of my beloved mother, Majorie, and my father, Victor, who taught us the value of love for family and community, and of service to community. I also dedicate it to my sister, Gloria, called “Glee”, because of her vibrant personality which brought joy to so many. To my brothers, Victor, Val, Ken and Bankie — and their wives. They all hold a special place in my heart. They have been behind me every step of the way, and I say thanks. I remember being called by my mother, the penniless philanthropist, but they shared my ups and downs. They challenged me about self care, but they were there to catch me when I fell, and fall I did — sometimes even literally.

“I am also surrounded by ever-supportive nephews and nieces. I am so proud of them all for blazing the trails in so many directions for the benefit of Anguilla and the world. And, of course I appreciate my dear daughter, Olufunmike, who has paid me the greatest tribute a child can give to a parent, in that she has carried on my legacy as a Clinical Psychologist. In addition, she has recently made me a proud grandmother through the birth of her son, Jahari Courtney Legacy.

“I want to say thanks to all my family and friends. I extend my deepest appreciation to the Governor and her team who has pulled out all the stops to make this celebration one that I had never anticipated. To all of you who have blessed me with your presence today, I say thanks.”

“I owe special gratitude to the media, especially Nat Hodge, who could not be here. It is he who nominated me for this award, in fact. So, he is actually responsible for me being awarded this prestigious honour today.”

Dr. Oluwakemi Linda Banks, MBE was loudly applauded by family and friends for her outstanding achievement and the honourable presentation made to her.