Mary Mitchell saluted for unwavering contribution to the Public Service

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Former Treasurer (1982-1990) Garnet F. Knowles, Former Treasurer Eugenia Cartwright (1998-2017, Retiree Mary Mitchell, Acting Prime Minister the Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, and Minister of Economic Affairs the Hon. Michael Halkitis. BIS Photos / Yontalay Bowe

Writer: Kathryn Campbell

A cross-section of the Public Service gathered to pay tribute to Mary Mitchell, Treasurer/Accountant General of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, as she retires after 46 years of service. Ms. Mitchell was celebrated for her outstanding commitment as a caring, compassionate change-agent at a gala Retirement Luncheon Banquet at Baha Mar Resorts Friday, December 3.

Present were: Acting Prime Minister the Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin; Minister of Economic Affairs the Hon. Michael Halkitis; the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham, former Prime Minister; relatives, church family, former classmates, former colleagues and well-wishers. The theme for the event: “The Excellence of Your Manner.”

The livestreamed, three-hour event was marked by tributes, entertainment, presentations, and a Junkanoo parade. Among those participating was Apostle Benjamin Smith, Rev. Ian Ferguson, Harold Dorsett, the Legacy Singers and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Band. On behalf of Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis, Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Technical & Vocational Training, the Hon. Glenys Hanna- Martin, in a keynote address, acknowledged Ms. Mitchell for a “remarkable” career and her impressive and outstanding contribution to the people of The Bahamas. “Throughout the Treasury Department, your colleagues and subordinates speak highly of your excellent leadership abilities and no-nonsense sensibilities. “You have been a role model par excellence and your continued and outstanding push to advance and excel is an inspiration to all of us,” said Minister Hanna-Martin.

Based on reflections of the staff of the Abaco office who experienced the ravages of Hurricane Dorian, Minister Hanna-Martin said Ms. Mitchell’s compassion to them is a sign of her true value as a remarkable leader – “you care.”

“And it is this care that no doubt led you to public service and caused you to give all that you could to your nation.” She thanked Ms. Mitchell for her service, sacrifice, selflessness in advancing the collective cause. In her response, Ms. Mitchell described her tenure as a “good” journey.

“I am indeed been proud of being able to serve the people of this country and the accounting staff over these 40 plus years. “The Lord has been with me. He is faithful and saw me through all these years.”

“The accounting staff always rose to the occasion. When we had challenges we pulled together and we were able to achieve whatever our goals were.” Among her outstanding recollections was the beginning of COVID-19 in 2020 when the Department was required to work remotely. “The treasury team, headquarters, all districts and departments, all accounting officers and Freeport officers were able to pull together and carry on the work, and most of that was done remotely. Because systems and protocols were in place we were able to
function and carry on the work fully remotely for two months. The staff was able to rise to the occasion at a difficult time.”

She expressed thanks to her daughters, family, former and present colleagues overseas and locally, church families, alumni of Government High School, birthday club and friends.

Minister Halkitis thanked Ms. Mitchell for her years of public service, dedication, hard work and commitment to mentoring young public servants and young people in general. Ms. Mitchell received gifts of appreciation from the staff of the Public Treasury. Her tenure as Treasurer/Accountant General ended officially at the end of November. In 1975 she began her career in the Public Service at the Treasury Department and served in various positions and sections.

She serves as a deacon, treasurer, care ministry head and coordinator of the Community Centre for Life at Nassau Fellowship Centre. She is also the founder, president and program committee chair for Student Youth Advisory Services, a non-profit organization, which provides advice and mentoring to students and young adults on college and scholarship opportunities. She is the daughter of the late Bishop Harold and “Mother” Melvese Mitchell. She has two daughters, Shantelle Lopez and Keisha Oliver. During the luncheon Ms. Mitchell recognized and presented gifts to three of her predecessors — former Treasurers who have retired from various areas of the Public Service and have had a tremendous impact on her. They are Eugenia Cartwright (1998-2017), Franklyn Kemp (1990-1998), and Garnet Knowles (1982-1990).

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