Former Social Services Director Mellany Zonicle recognized for unselfish service

Minister of Social Services and Urban Development (left) presents flowers to Former Director of Social Services Ms. Mellany Zonicle. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

The Bahamas Government and the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development saluted Mellany Zonicle, former Director of the Department of Social Services, for more than 40 years of service during a luncheon in observance of Professional Social Workers’ Month, Tuesday, March 27, 2018, at the British Colonial Hilton. Ms. Zonicle, who served as Director from 2001-2015 and 2015-2017, was celebrated as an advocate, a strong, passionate, dedicated, and confident trailblazer in social development. Her career in the Department of Social Services began as an Untrained Teacher in 1972.  Seven years later she was appointed a Probation Officer in the Probation Division, now known as the Department of Rehabilitative Welfare Services.  She was eventually appointed as Director with responsibility for Probation Services, Willie Mae Pratt and Simpson Penn Centres and the Welfare Division in Bahamas Correctional Services. She was confirmed as Director in 2001.

The Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Lanisha Rolle said Ms. Zonicle’s service has been marked by how much she cares. Minister Rolle expressed profound thanks to Ms. Zonicle who, she said, has held led the technical work of social services and held the weight of the post of director on her back. Cherely Kelly, Assistant Director, said as a College of The Bahamas student assigned who interned at the former Boys Industrial School, now Simpson Penn, she recognized early that Ms. Zonicle possessed “impeccable” qualities that she wanted to emulate. “Ms. Zonicle’s honesty, trustworthiness, unselfish, quiet disposition, and fearlessness enabled her to gain the respect of former prime ministers, ministers of Social Services, permanent secretaries, senior managers and the entire staff of the Department of Social Services. She was able to uniquely maintain good working relationships with all staff regardless of their status. She was also sensitive to the needs of staff members that were in distress and assisted where necessary,” said Ms. Kelly.

In her response, Ms. Zonicle thanked Minister Rolle and all senior staff of the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development for the special honor she received. Ms. Zonicle said social services touch all areas of Bahamian society, and “consequently, more than ever before social workers require special training and expertise. However, the training alone will not produce well-rounded workers if there is no genuine love for people.” She was showered with accolades, including a tribute in song by Stephanie Lavern Stewart, Chief Welfare Officer. The luncheon was attended by senior officials in the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development, social workers, family, and well-wishers.

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