Premier pays tribute to ‘first lady’ Olga Scott, calling her ‘kind, compassionate, patient and selfless’
A “first lady of Bermuda” was “kind, compassionate, patient and selfless” across a long life of service, the Premier told a funeral service for Olga Scott yesterday.
Mrs Scott, a lifelong advocate for young people who built the charity Teen Services over 55 years, died on June 17, aged 83.
David Burt told the service at St Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church in Hamilton: “It is an honour to be asked to begin tributes on behalf of the Government of Bermuda and also the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party, as we celebrate the life of Mrs Olga Scott and the lasting legacy of compassion, kindness and devotion to our young people that she leaves us with.”
He said Mrs Scott won the title of “first lady”, adopted by Bermudians from the United States, as the wife of Alex Scott, who served as premier from 2003 to 2006.
But he said the term brought no office, no job description and “certainly no budget”.
“The one claim to fame of the one we call first lady in Bermuda is to have the misfortune to be married to a man just crazy enough to enter politics, and chosen to lead his party and country.
“They say love conquers all, and it must have been for the 50 years Olga Scott was married to Alex Scott.
“Every single one was consumed by politics.”
Mr Burt said that in 1967 “Jamaica’s loss became Bermuda’s gain” when Mrs Scott “struck out into the unknown” by moving to the island to lead what was then known as the Youth Health Education Development programme.
It subsequently became the combined charitable force of Teen Services and Teen Haven.
The Premier said that in her work with young people, from the often difficult topics of sexual health and contraception to helping young and unwed mothers, Mrs Scott “came to build a unique service to an underserved community”.
Through “community trust and with incredible commitment and discretion, Olga Scott laid a firm foundation for the support of young mothers”.
Mr Burt added: “We cannot thank her enough for all she did for us.”
Michelle Wade, the director of Teen Services, said Mrs Scott’s foresight was “beyond its time and encompassed many thoughts and ideas”.
“She shared her vision, and allowed her staff to make changes according to developing social trends.”
Ms Wade spoke of her “beam of joy and subtle smile” through the talent shows and events such as the Outstanding Teen Awards celebrating the achievements of young people.
“Mrs Scott was still involved in the operation of Teen Services as a board member as well as a member of the Haven Trust right up to 2022.”
Ms Wade described Mrs Scott’s happiness when young clients of Teen Services obtained their high school diploma.
“She believed everyone deserved a second chance, no matter the challenges,” she said.
Marilyn Simmons and Marilyn Smith appeared on behalf of the charity Continental Societies Incorporated. Mrs Scott joined the local branch shortly after arriving in Bermuda.
The organisation marked today as an official day of mourning in recognition of “the legacy of Olga Scott and her support to children and youth”.