April 27th was a special day for the community of Paix-Bouche as villagers celebrated 100 years with beloved Meonette Gussie Bannis arguable the youngest looking centenarian on island.
A number of people from the community itself and surrounding communities joined in the celebration which began with a mass at the Paix-Bouche Roman Catholic Church.
H. E President Charles Savarin and his wife, the Hon Member of Parliament for Portsmouth, Ian Douglas and the Hon Member of Parliament for Paix-Bouche, Roselyn Paul, who also acted as Minister for Social Services, all joined in the celebration.
The highlight of the mass was the second reading delivered by the lady of the moment herself.
Meonette Gussie Bannis affectionately known as Ma Léonce was born in the village of Dublanc on April 27th 1916. She had 10 siblings and herself bore two children. She married and moved to Paix-Bouche in 1968.
Ma Léonce is known as a community person lending support to at all community events. At the age of 100 she is still an avid walker and often visits the sick and shut in. Interestingly, she has never been hospitalized until the age of 99 to nurse a broken hand.
MP for Paix-Bouche and acting Minister for Social Services, Roselyn Paul, addressed the birthday reception following the mass.
“We are here as friends, family, well-wishers and villagers to stand in appreciation and commemoration of this great 100th anniversary of a woman who still stands quite strong and tall… The Government of Dominica does not leave our centenarians on their own. We continue to provide tremendous support to centenarians and other senior people in Dominica through institutions such as the Dominica Council on Ageing and the Social Welfare Department within the Ministry of Social Services, Family and Gender Affairs. Today you will be joining the other centenarians who receive every month $500 and a cooking gas.”
Now that Government is doing its part, H.E Charles Savarin encouraged villagers to lend their support to the queen of the community.
H.E the President presented Ma Léonce with a congratulatory letter on her milestone and a gift from the Office of the President.
Several other presentations were made from the Ministry of Social Services, the Paix-Bouche/Dos Dane village council, the Dominica Council on Ageing and the Paix-Bouche Young Action Club among others.
Ma Léonce is the second centenarian celebrated in the Paix-Bouche Constituency this year and brings the number of centenarians living on the island to 22.