Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell toasted retiring Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development, Ms. Sherrylee Smith, as a “mentor and friend.” Senior government officials from across the Bahamas Public Service joined counterparts and colleagues from the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development in paying “the proper tribute” to Permanent Secretary Smith (Friday, June 21) during a Retirement Luncheon held in Ms. Smith’s honour in the Public Hearing Room, Aventura Plaza. Permanent Secretary Smith goes on Retirement Leave July 2, 2019 before officially retiring on October 9 (2019), which will signal the end “to an outstanding” 47-year career in the Bahamas Public Service that began on October 2, 1972 when she entered the Service as a Clerical Assistant.
The adjectives flowed freely as speaker after speaker spoke of PS Smith’s integrity, honesty, professionalism, unmatched work ethic, elegance, competence, skill and on and on. The list of speakers was headed by Minister Campbell, and included Minister of the Public Service and National Insurance, the Hon. Brensil A. Rolle; Secretary to the Cabinet, Ms. Camille Johnson, and Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development, Mr. Michael A. Foulkes. Permanent Secretaries from across Government Ministries were in attendance along with Under Secretaries, Deputy Permanent Secretaries, Directors and a host of other senior government officials and staff of the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development and its Departments and Divisions. “There are some persons in the workforce who will only do as much as they are asked to do; there are some others who will go above and beyond the call of duty but are strictly professional, and then you have the odd individuals who will not only be concerned about the professional side of the relationship, but about the individual, and that is what I have found in PS Smith. That is a quality that is not easily replaceable,” Minister Campbell said. “Ten months ago, I was blessed with a mentor and a friend, and so yes it is hard to say goodbye, but I realize it is what it is. I promise you that if you don’t answer the phone I am going to show up to your house,” Minister Campbell added.
Minister Campbell said while all Governments have goals and/or objectives they intend to implement, the success of those objectives depend in large measure to persons such as Permanent Secretary Smith. “It isn’t the Members of Parliament or the Cabinet Ministers that actually cause the manifestation of those objectives,” Minister Campbell said. “It is persons like PS Smith who come in early in the morning, leave late at night, receive emails at 2am, respond to them on the weekends and just go and do and do and do, and very often, they don’t get the recognition that they deserve. “You, my lady, are deserving of all of the accolades and gratitude expressed here today. It is my sincere belief that someone like you needs to hear the gratitude of a nation and so to the extent I am able to in my capacity, I want to — on behalf of the Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas – thank you for all that you have done. I wish you well, but the truth of the matter is I don’t want you to go.”
PS Smith received numerous gifts, among them, a framed photograph taken of PS Smith, Minister Campbell and Governor-General, Her Excellency, the Most Hon. Dame Marguerite Pindling during the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new extensions at the BAPD Facility, Dolphin Drive, held June 19. Minister Campbell said there is a never-ending message attached to the presentation of the framed photograph taken by BIS Photographer Patrick Hanna. “I want to give you a reminder that you are as elegant as they come. What makes this presentation even the more special is that we were fortunate to be able to photograph you next to the very essence of elegance in our nation – Her Excellency, the Most Hon. Dame Marguerite Pindling.”
Minister of the Public Service and National Insurance, the Hon. Brensil Rolle, described Permanent Secretary Smith as a “blessing” to the Bahamas Public Service. “It is an honour for me to be here this afternoon to say a few words to my friend, to someone whom I have known for such a long time. Everything that was said about you – your humility, integrity, honesty, professionalism, knowledge, it’s all true,” Minister Rolle said. “Sherrylee, you have been a blessing to the Public Service. I feel so honoured to be here and to witness the large turnout of Permanent Secretaries and other senior officials here today. It speaks volumes to the high esteem in which you are held. We are all going to miss you, but life is a journey and as you take the next step, as you move forward into your next career, I want to say to you God’s Blessings. You have helped to make The Bahamas a better place.”