The director of the BVI Humane Society shelter, Mr Manog ‘Vijay’ Bissoondutt, is the territory’s newest recipient of an honorary MBE from Her Majesty The Queen for his contribution to animal welfare.
Mr Bissoondutt joined the Humane Society aged 16 in 1995, around 27 years ago, working to help support Tessa Gunter, then manager of the shelter. After Ms Gunter’s death in 2013, he took on the role of shelter manager.
The animal sanctuary constantly operates at maximum capacity and relies on fundraising events throughout the year to survive. The shelter cares for a variety of animals that often arrive unwanted, abandoned and abused. Under very difficult circumstances, Mr Bissoondutt is said to have shown a high level of compassion and care towards these animals and towards the owners who were forced to hand them over.
Mr. Bissoondutt also spends his time educating the wider community about the importance of animal welfare. This includes mentoring students from local schools who volunteer at the shelter as a community service.
His Excellency Governor John Rankin, CMG, said:
“In a profession where you see a high turnover of shelter workers due to compassion fatigue, Vijay’s 27 years of outstanding service to the territory’s abandoned and abused animals is testament to his unwavering dedication. Vijay works tirelessly for unwanted animals and is often the first person people call to save an animal or try to save their own.
“Running an animal shelter is selfless and sometimes heartbreaking work. This award rightly recognizes his outstanding achievement and unparalleled service to the Virgin Islands. It also helps to highlight the importance of animal welfare in the territory.
In his response, Mr Bissoondutt said he felt honored to have received the award, adding: “Working with animals in the BVI is extremely challenging but very rewarding at the same time. I didn’t make it here myself, and I would like to thank the other two workers at The Humane Society, and all of our wonderful volunteers and the wider community who are stepping up to help support and save the lives of so many. animals in the Virgin Islands.
Her Majesty The Queen’s Honors are awarded to individuals in recognition of their outstanding achievement. Members of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) are honored on the basis of their outstanding achievement or service in their field which has had a lasting and real impact and which stands out as an example to others.
Honorary distinctions are awarded to foreign nationals (outside the Kingdom).