Some of the 16 retirees honoured by the Ministry of Education pose with officials.

Sixteen persons who recently retired from the Ministry of Education were recognised for their years of service to nation building at a Retirement Awards Ceremony and Cocktail hosted by the Ministry of Education Library Services and Information Technology at the Nevis Performing Arts Centre (NEPAC) Saturday.

“We are here tonight to pay collective tribute and to say thanks and of course to show our gratitude to an exceptionally special group of people…a highly distinguished group of individuals who I dare say, have collectively contributed over 500 years of selfless service to nation building,” Mr. Kevin Barrett, Permanent Secretary in the ministry, said while delivering the welcome.“This group of people through their varying areas of service, they have carefully crafted, they have spent long hours in moulding and shaping, sometimes out of children where no one else saw possibility…but they have helped in making possible every conceivable profession across Nevis today.”

Mr. Barrett referred to the honourees as a distinguished group of individuals who had intelligently and skillfully finessed and unravelled the combination to the true potential of thousands of children on Nevis, through the most delicate of methods and sometimes, through firmness and bronze which was always done through love and care.

The honourees were Ms. Myrle Brookes, Ms. Lornette Queeley-Connor, Ms. Sheila Drew, Ms. Vera Maloney, Ms. Earlene Maynard, Ms. Gail Mills, Mrs. Pamella Pemberton, Mr. Clevelan Williams, Mr. Merrill Carbon, Mr. Studdert Daniel, Ms. Camelita Lee, Ms. Tressy Maloney, Ms. Ilena Mills, Mrs. Jackie Mitchell, Mrs. Judy Parris-Rawlins, and Mrs. Palsy Wilkin.

“There are many persons here who would have had a big impact on me and on so many of the other people coming up here on the island of Nevis, and somebody once said that a small thank you goes a very, very long way,” Hon. Troy Liburd, Junior Minister of Education, said in his remarks.“So, we here in the Ministry of Education thought that it would be very important that when persons have worked hard and they have contributed, and education is one of those places where you really contribute to bringing the future along to teaching our children, to raising our children, and to making generation after generation into the people who they are. So, it is important that we say a thank you to all of you.”

Hon. Mark Brantley, Senior Minister of Education also expressed his gratitude.

“I am grateful to be here on this day, at this time, at this inaugural ceremony to make a commitment that we ought to do this every year, and so we will have to find the resources somehow but it is important that we say to all of our people that you matter, that your contribution matters,” he said.“Many of you who are sitting here tonight can point to many of us that you would have helped, that you never gave up on when other people say ‘that that boy slow or that girl can’t learn’. You persevered and because of that perseverance Nevis is a much better island, and the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is a much better country.” 

Ms. Earlene Maynard, a former school principal and former Director of the School Meals Programme spoke on behalf of the retirees.

“We are grateful that we are given our flowers while we still can smell them. Too many persons retire unceremoniously. Therefore, this expression of gratitude is a step in the right direction,” she said.“Finally retirees, as we continue our journey remember, we have retired not expired. Let us all find new passions and possibilities because there is life after retirement. May God give us all good health as we continue to build Nevis because I still think I am a work in progress and I can still serve my nation and my young people in some shape of form and I trust all of you have that feeling as well.”

Other tributes came from the Shekhina Dance Theatre; and musician Ms. Abigail Kichelle Herbert. Her Honour Hyleeta Liburd, Deputy Governor General on Nevis; and Hon. Farrell Smithen, President of the Nevis Island Assembly were also present.