After serving well over 100 years collectively, eleven dedicated members of staff, including two Permanent Secretaries, have bid a fond farewell to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.

At a recent retirement function held at Almond Bay in Christ Church, staff, past and present, gathered to say their goodbyes to their colleagues and share fond memories of their time spent together.

In delivering his tributes, Head of the Civil Service, Martin Cox lauded the retirees for their sterling contribution and dedication to the Government of Barbados through the Foreign Service.

Former Chief of Protocol in the Ministry, Antoinette Forte-Williams, singled out one of the retirees, Mary White, an accountant and attach?? at the Embassy in Brasilia, Brazil, for her professionalism and approach to the tasks at hand.

Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, thanked the retirees for their contribution and offered a ???special thank you??? to outgoing Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Charles Burnett, who spent over 30 years in the Foreign Service.

???I want us to ensure that we continue the reputation and the standards that this little country has become known for. And, a critical part of that has to do with the contributions that the officers of this Ministry make on a daily basis.??Additionally, when Charles Burnett took up the post as Permanent Secretary, he took on challenges thrown at him and faced them head on, and I want to commend him for that,??? Senator McClean said.

Retired civil servant, diplomat and former PS, Michael King, urged the six of the eleven retirees present to capture in writing ???the essential elements of being a Foreign Service Officer???. He also advised them to act as mentors to those who remained behind.

In thanking those gathered, Mr. Burnett said, ???Forty four years ago, I embarked on a path, to work in the public service after having offers to work in the private sector and turning it down. I wanted to contribute to my country and I thought that was the most important thing that I could do.??And, 44 years later, I am satisfied that that decision was not only correct but the only meaningful one I could have made,??? he underscored.

The retirees were: PS responsible for Foreign Affairs, Charles Burnett; PS assigned to Foreign Trade, Bentley Gibbs; Accountant/Attach?? in the High Commission at London, Anica Bostic; Executive Secretary to the Permanent Secretary, Foreign Affairs, Marva Branch; and Accountant/Attach?? in the Consulate-General at Miami, Marcia Drakes.

Also retiring were Senior Clerks at Headquarters, Shirley Forde???Brathwaite and Eulese Hinds; Senior Executive Officer at Headquarters, Patricia Mayers; Senior Accountant at Headquarters, Emelda Thompson; Executive Officer at Headquarters, Miriam Trotman; and Accountant/Attach?? at the Embassy at Brasilia, Mary White.

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