A walk through a guard of honour symbolised the end of a chapter for Senior Immigration Officer, Theophilus Orlando “Wally” Walcott, as he said farewell to friends and colleagues during a retirement ceremony yesterday.
He was the last of a group of “pioneering” police officers who made the transition from the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) to form the Barbados Immigration Department back in 1979.
Under the theme The Last Man Standing, Mr. Walcott, who has a total of 47 years of service, was characterised as a man who loved his peers regardless of position, always spoke a positive word, was always well dressed, and was a friend and mentor to many.
Minister of Home Affairs, Information and Public Affairs, Wilfred Abrahams, were among those paying tribute to Mr. Walcott.
The Minister said he knew of him for a long time, and from interactions with his peers, it was clear that he was well respected and loved.
He questioned the veteran about how he was able to achieve the love and admiration of not just some, but all of his peers, and his simple reply was: “I treat everyone with respect”.
Mr. Abrahams told the audience that during that conversation with Mr. Walcott, the retiree admitted that though he had spent a long time with the department, he wished he could spend more, as he would miss everyone, from the Chief Immigration Officer to the last person who joined the department.
“The best tribute that could be given to ‘Wally’ is for us to bear him in mind in our interactions with each other and the public,” Minister Abrahams said.
He pointed out that Government’s policy was to transform the Barbados Immigration Department into one of the “most relevant, efficient and purposeful departments” to take the country forward.
Meanwhile, Chief Immigration Officer, Wayne Marshall, noted that the hallmark of a man was when he was at his best or at his worst.
He stated that even while experiencing serious health challenges, Mr. Walcott came to work daily and executed his job without a flinch, and was always professional. “It was a job well done. May you continue in the best of health…as you go into a new life of retirement,” he said.
Deputy Chief Immigration Officer, Margaret Inniss, described Mr. Walcott as a man of integrity, and one who became a coach, mentor and friend to many whom he worked with over the years. “I saw the champion in the last man standing,” she said.
Assistant Commissioner of Police, William Yearwood, said he joined the RBPF in 1979 and was always impressed by “Wally”.
“He loves people. Giving service to others is his nature and his love for people can be seen in his work,” he said, while offering Mr. Walcott best wishes in his retirement on behalf of the senior command team of the RBPF.
Mr. Walcott also received tributes from Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, which came via a letter, other retirees, and colleagues and friends.