|Retiring BGIS staffer, Malcolm White (left), accepting a Certificate of Appreciation from Acting Chief Information Officer, Peter Greene at the farewell function.
Last Friday, staff of the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS) paid tribute to one of its stalwarts who is set to go on retirement leave at the end of December.
Sixty-five year old Driver/Messenger, Malcolm Rudolph White, who gave yeoman’s service to the department for 35 years, was given a rousing send-off by his colleagues and friends during a brief ceremony.
The quiet, down-to-earth My Lord’s Hill resident, referred to by his colleagues as "Mr. Reliable", was visibly touched by the tributes paid to him.
Mr. White first came to the BGIS as a substitute driver in 1975, and was appointed permanently in 1976, initially working in the department’s Mobile Cinema Unit.
"I was a bit astonished to see that the films that I saw as a child at the Mobile Cinema, I came here and still saw those films. I had the privilege of operating the same Mobile Cinema and showing some of the same films…In those days we had to go to the British High Commissioner’s office in Roebuck Street to get news reels coming from England. When we finished showing those educational films, we used to entertain the youngsters with Bud and Lou or Charley Chaplin," Mr. White recalled.
|Then: A youthful Malcolm White with his beloved Pajero. (BGIS Archives)|
Malcolm has many fond memories of the department, particularly working with contemporaries such as former Chief Information Officers, Margaret Hope and the late Oliver Jackman; former Deputy CIO, the late John Manning; and former Information Officers such as Andrea Gollop Greenidge and Judy Thomas, now with the Department of Culture?? and the Department of Emergency Services, respectively.
"I enjoyed working with those staff members; it was a pleasure to work with those guys. We lived like a family," he said.
One assignment which stood out for Mr. White was the Cubana Airline crash off the coast of Barbados on October 6, 1976 in which 73 passengers lost their lives. It has left a lasting impression on him.
"I was at lunch at home and I received a call telling me come to the office right away… When I got there I was told we had to go to the harbour because one of the Cubana planes had crashed in the sea. That was a sight because we saw the bodies as the boats brought them in," he recalled.
Mr. White’s interests go way beyond the offices of the BGIS. He is an avid lover of sports and the former national footballer has travelled throughout the Caribbean and as far as Germany representing his country.
"I started football when I was around 14-years old and you will find this funny, but at 65 I am still playing with the youngsters. Don’t mind I can’t outrun them but I am still there playing football with them. That is my way of keeping fit," he said with a chuckle.
Also known to his close friends and peers as "De Gunn" or "Gunner" from his childhood and football days, Mr. White could also be described as a renaissance man.
He is self-taught in the use of the computer and the internet as well as in minor car repairs. "The first car I had I took it to the mechanic because it had a problem with the carburetor and two days later when I got it back, the car had the same problem.
So, I decided to go and buy a workshop manual and I studied the said car. I found out the problem and was able to solve it… the car worked superbly from then," he recounted.
|Now: Malcom poses with his signature MP 924|
And what plans does Malcolm have for his retirement? "I always wanted to visit England and now I will get the chance to go there. I’ve also visited America on a few occasions but was never able to see the snow, so I hope to be in the USA around January or February so I can experience the winter," he said.
The staff of the Barbados Government Information Service wish Malcolm all the best as he embarks on this journey and new stage of his life. Happy Retirement!