She might be known as a social activist with special interest in politics, using the airways to challenge popular opinion but there’s more to her story than this.
Sylvine Henry is the fourth of her mother’s six children born in Haynes Smith Village on 7th March 1948. Born of working class parents, she knew from an early age that education was key to a better life. She attended the St. Johnson Primary School and the Basseterre Senior School in 1961 where her love of books, debating and education blossomed. Young Henry knew that she wanted to become a teacher to help other poor children find a way out of poverty.
She taught at primary and secondary schools between 1968 and 1985 and evening classes at the University of the West Indies from 1988 to 2000. Always the academic achiever, she concentrated on mathematics and economics. Her doors were always open to children who needed extra assistance with maths which she offered free of cost.
In 1984 she completed her Bachelor of Science in Economics which shifted her career from teaching to working as a statistician at the Planning Unit. Her love for maths came alive as she was able to collate and analyse data and contribute to the economic development of St. Kitts and Nevis.
After work, Mrs. Henry along with some members of the Maranatha Church, visited the prison as a part of their ministerial outreach program. She not only encouraged the inmates but assisted several of them with finding a home and a means of earning a living. It was normal to hear vagrants shout her name as she gladly fed many of them; never judging any of them for their condition in life. She gave to many families without seeking thanks or recognition.
Unfortunately, in 2018 she lost her sight but that did not stop her from contributing to society. She still continued to use the airways to share her knowledge, fight for social justice, women’s rights and challenge others to strive for better. This disability directed her towards the Association of Persons with Disabilities where she became an active member advocating for the rights of disabled persons.
Always an educator, Sylvine Henry picked up her phone and called the radio in 2010 to share her knowledge of economics and fight against misinformation, a trend that continues till day. She is known as an outspoken person who loves to discuss politics but her belief in God and family are the most important things in her life. She has three children and seven grandchildren and is very close to her sister, retired Inspector Carol Williams.
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