Official Statement on the Passing of the Federation’s Oldest Living National, Ms Celian Irene “Martin” Powell

The Ministry of Social Services, Community Development and Gender Affairs pays tribute to the oldest citizen – and the oldest woman – in our Federation, the late Ms Celian Irene “Martin” Powell of Zion Village, Nevis, who will be laid to rest on Saturday, October 19, 2019. She had been a resident of the Flamboyant Home in Nevis for a number of years.

Ms Powell, who died on September 30, 2019 at the age of 107 years, is the only citizen in our Nation’s recorded history to have lived this long. She was born on January 19, 1912 to Dorcas “Jimmy” Manners and “Tutsie” Powell but lost both parents at an early age. Her early life was one of hardship. She was the mother of two daughters, Iris and Maria, from whom she later gained some 10 grandchildren, including Mr Carlisle Powell of Nevis, and Deputy Principal of Charlotte Amalie High School in St. Thomas, USVI, Mrs Erma Powell-Skelton. Ms Powell’s matriarchal stock was further enhanced by 17 great grandchildren (including cricketer Kieran Powell) and seven (7) great great grandchildren. Among her progeny are educators, athletes, law enforcement officers, business executives, politicians, a lawyer, a doctor and building contractors. Ms Powell has been fondly remembered by her family and close friends as being a tower of strength whose absence from their lives will be deeply felt.

Minister of State with Responsibility for Social Services, the Hon Wendy Phipps, indicated that Ms Powell had lived a full life.

Minister Phipps said: “Celian “Martin” Powell’s life was well lived. It was a lengthy sojourn that would have allowed her to experience the impact of two World Wars; the failed West Indies Federation; our Nation’s eventful journey from colonization to Associated Statehood, and finally to Independence; the tragedy of the Christina Disaster; the demise of our centuries-old sugar industry; and the rise of our tourism and allied services sectors. Not many people would have had a front row seat to witness all of these life altering events,” Minister Phipps said.

Minister Phipps noted that she would have first known of Ms Powell almost 30 years before she ever met her. Ms Powell’s granddaughter, Erma Skelton, was a classmate of Minister Phipps at the University of the Virgin Islands, and Erma would have consistently spoken fondly of her grandmother – who obviously made a profound and indelible impact upon her life.

The management and staff of the Ministry of Social Services, et al reiterate sincere condolences to the immediate and extended family, and friends of the late Celian Irene “Martin” Powell. Sympathy and gratitude are also in order for Ms Powell’s caretakers at the Flamboyant Home in Nevis.

The Federal Government of St. Kitts and Nevis thanks God for the life of the late Ms Celian Irene “Martin” Powell. May her soul rest in peace.

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