Staff of the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS) bade a fond farewell to three stalwarts of the organisation who have rendered yeoman service over the last three decades.
Stenographer, Melnese Williams and Senior Clerk, Gweneth Vaughan will embark on a new stage of their lives after 36 and 38 years, respectively, in the public service. Driver/Camera Assistant, Cameron Layne, will officially retire in February 2015 after 28 years at the BGIS.
For staff their retirement will leave a large void to fill; not only because of their years of experience, but their camaraderie and professionalism will be missed.
The trio was honoured during a retirement soir??e at the Clock Tower, The Garrison, last Thursday.??During the function friends, colleagues and former BGIS staffers and well-wishers paid tribute to them for their dedication, years of service and commitment to the organisation.
Melnese, affectionately called ???Trottie??? by her colleagues, joined the BGIS in June 1978. Described by her workmates as ???one of a kind??? and dedicated, Trottie had a sharp eye for detail.
As noted by friend and Senior Information Officer (Ag), Eyvette McClean, ???If you gave Trottie any correspondence or press release that had something wrong, missing or was not clear, she would bring it to your attention and seek to get it right???.
???Another quality is that she is very confidential. I???m sure many of you have shared things of a personal nature and knew it would go no further. In every workplace, there needs to be a Trottie. She is a fine example of trustworthiness,??? Ms. McClean said.
Whenever visiting the offices of the BGIS, you would find Ms. Williams assisting a client on the telephone to find information, imparting knowledge to a staff member or sharing a laugh with a friend.
She was a maternal figure to many of the younger members of staff and would readily assist when called upon. Trottie said she was looking forward to travelling and spending more time with her family and in the garden.
Gweneth Vaughan, known for her rambunctious laugh and affable personality, was another popular member of the BGIS staff. She joined the organisation in December 1981 as a clerical officer, having undertaken a similar role at the Central Purchasing Department.
Gweneth could be found at her desk daily crunching numbers to ensure the department was well managed financially and that officers were paid on time. If there ever was an accounting problem, rest assured Gweneth would be on hand to solve it.
From the newest staff member to management, all came to Gweneth if they wanted to know about budgets, estimates or monetary votes.??Information Officer, Joy-Ann Gill, a close friend of Gweneth, described her as a caring and loving woman with a sensitive heart; willing to give her last, or go beyond the call of duty to help a colleague or friend.
???She was never confrontational, always with a promise of ???I???ll get back to you??? or ???I???ll check on it and call you back???. Sometimes, within the space of five to 10 minutes, she came back to you. Furthermore, she even went or should I say walked the extra mile – meticulous in her actions, she would call Personnel Administration Division [to ask a question or two].???
But apart from being a fountain of knowledge on public sector finance, Gweneth is a great cook, which several staff members can attest to. Her conkies are a popular dish every year at the BGIS and many days, there would be a treat or meal for some deserving member of staff.
Gweneth is also very young at heart and a fitness enthusiast. Many evenings she would be seen jogging along Browne???s Beach or at The Garrison with her workmates.??She too is looking forward to spending more time with her family, particularly her 91 year old mother, and travelling abroad.
Cameron Layne, affectionately called ???Cammie??? by colleagues, came to the department from the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation on August 7, 1986. During his nearly three decades here, Cammie has transported officers across the length and breadth of Barbados to various assignments, even accompanying them on visits aboard.
He has rubbed shoulders with numerous heads of government, including Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerritt of Dominica, Dr. Keith Mitchell of Grenada and Dr. Kenny Anthony of St. Lucia.
Reflecting on his time at the BGIS, he expressed pleasure at the growth of the organisation over the years, and highlighted the progress that had been made, particularly in the area of programming.??He credited the late John Manning and Peter Roy Byer for contributing to the high standard of programming at the department.
Looking back on his tenure, Cammie said: ???I feel very good leaving the department after such a nice time. There were some good days and some very rough days but, you have to mix the bitter with the sweet.???
Cammie urged his colleagues to keep up the high standards of work, adding that he was also looking forward to spending more time with his family, exploring the island and slamming some dominoes with friends.
Gweneth, Melnese and Cameron will truly be missed by staff and friends of the Barbados Government Information Service. We wish them all the best and may they enjoy a long, healthy and happy retirement.