|The Honourable Dr. Rosita Beatrice Missick Butterfield, MBE
First elected female Member of Parliament in Turks and Caicos Islands
The Honorable Dr. Rosita Butterfield, MBE was a politician, parliamentarian, and Speaker of theTurks and Caicos House of Assembly.
Early life and education
Rosita Missick was born on 14 November 1936 in Kew, North Caicos, the third daughter of Isaiah V Missick and Savelitta A Higgs Missick. As a pre-school child, she was tutored at home by Mrs Inez Clarke, later enrolled as a student at the Kew Elementary School renamed the Hubert James Primary School and the Bottle Creek Elementary School renamed the Adlaide Oemler Primary School.
Her elementary school teachers were the late Violet Oseta Higgs Jolly, the late Raymond Gardiner, the late Charles Hubert James, Snr, and Mr Timothy Deane, now residing in Freeport, Grand Bahama.
She also attended the Grand Turk Secondary School, where she was tutored by the late Canon Clifford Jones, OBE, who became one of the Islands' education officers, and Miss Helena J Robinson, MBE, a veteran teacher and past education officer.
After leaving high school in Grand Turk, Rosita, was employed as a teacher for a short period with the Turks and Caicos Government's Education Department at the Kew Elementary School.
In preparation for this, she completed a teachers’ workshop in Grand Turk, the prerequisite for a teaching career at that time. She developed a love in caring for others, and soon applied for a job in nursing. She joined the staff of the Grand Turk Hospital on 2 November 1953.
After four years she obtained a scholarship to be trained as a professional nurse at the Kingston Public Hospital in Jamaica and the University College Hospital. She became qualified as a registered general nurse (RGN).
Following a two year period at the hospital in Grand Turk, she returned to Jamaica to pursue another area of training in her nursing career at Victoria Jubilee Hospital, this time to become a state certified midwife (SCM).
Upon completion of her study at nursing school in Jamaica, Rosita made an impact graduating as the recipient of the Matron?s (Chief Nursing Officer) Prize, for best overall student, and the Chief Surgeon?s Prize for the most efficient operating theatre surgical student nurse.
She was awarded the Evelyn Pierce Medical Nursing Book for the most vigilant student on night duty. Dr. Butterfield also merited the Certificate of Competence to Practice Midwifery without Doctor's Supervision.
A founding member of the Progressive National Party (PNP), Butterfield was the first elected female Member of Parliament to serve in the Legislative Council representing the constituency of Kew, North Caicos. She served in the Legislative Council from 1984 - 1993. She was elected Deputy Speaker from 1986 to 1988 and Speaker from 1991 to 1993. She was also President of the Turks and Caicos branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. As Speaker, she brought order and decorum to the sittings; and was the first Speaker of the council who presided over the sittings dressed in ceremonial attire.
Prior to entering politics, Dr. Butterfield was a Registered Nurse. In 1978, she resigned to assist her husband fully in the family’s businesses. Mrs Butterfield while fulfilling her various parliamentary roles, continued to be fully involved in all aspects of the family’s business as director and secretary to the Butterfield Gold Group of Companies from 1978 to present. Most recently, she served as the chief executive officer (CEO), for all of the companies.
Outside of the political arena, Butterfield along with her husband have always been advocates for better education for the people of the Islands.In her love for supporting underprivileged people in giving them the chance for better education, she has given numerous scholarships to private schools at home and abroad. She also assisted in contributions for better church buildings in Providenciales and North Caicos.
She purchased street lights for the community of Kew, North Caicos, her birth place, and along with her husband paid for the construction of a medical clinic in Sandy Point, North Caicos. She also fund raising programmes to assist underprivileged children in the Islands.
Dr. Butterfield was the co-sponsor for the Inter-Island High School Spelling Competition, a founding member of the Turks and Caicos Community College. She also served as a member of the Board of Governors to the Community College and was founder for the canteen at the Clement Howell High School.
She served as a founding member of the Soroptimist International Club of Providenciales and the local chapter of Women’s Aglow International. In this regard, she also did a considerable amount of charitable work for the senior citizens of her country.
Honours and awards
In 1992, Dr. Butterfield was accorded the honour of Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Rosita and her husband of 38 years, Hon. Dr. Albray V. Butterfield Sr. CBE, had an eight year courtship, when on 22 March 1961, at the Seventh Day Adventist Church, the religious faith of her mother, in Grand Turk, they were united in holy matrimony by Pastor Rudulph Daughmer. They were the parents of Alleveia L. Butterfield-Chan Jon Chu; Albray V. Butterfield Jr.; Adulson A. Butterfield; Keisha A. Butterfield; and Royal S. Robinson Sr .
Dr. Butterfield held various positions in her church life. She served as a mission leader and worker, public relations director, director for the Sunday school, assist the children’s choir and was an exhorter of the gospel at home and a guest speaker abroad.
Dr. Butterfield died on 10 January 2015 at Doctor’s Hospital in Nassau, Bahamas. She was 78 years old. She was accorded a state funeral on 5 February 2015 at the Down Town Ball Park.