Her Excellency the Most Hon. Cynthia Pratt,
Minister the Hon. Pia Glover-Rolle;
Esteemed public servants, past and present;
Other distinguished guests,
I’m truly pleased and privileged to be here at tonight’s awards ceremony. It has certainly been a lively and well-deserved week of celebration, fellowship, and professional reflection for the public service.
So many procedures we take for granted begin as early morning tasks at the desk of a public servant. Whether it be renewing a passport, requesting a marriage certificate, seeking social support, or applying for a scholarship – government workers spend their days striving to give us what we need, but seldom do we appreciate what goes into such service.
Public servants are not just the face of the state. They support its vital organs and perform its imperative duties. Based on the matter at hand, public servants may carry out any number of responsibilities. They safeguard our security, assemble infrastructure, and preserve our heritage. They serve as practical allies and principled arbiters during the most mundane and monumental moments of our lives.
We would not be the nation we are today without the efforts of our public servants, and their critical contributions to our economy, our society, and, of course, our polity.
Permanent secretaries (PSs), as key leaders in their respective ministries, are especially central to the activities of the state. The PS is the lens that brings the world of government into sharper focus. It is an esteemed and demanding role, one which requires discerning expertise in handling matters of human, managerial, professional, financial, and technical interest.
While a Minister’s term may be a brief five years, or even fewer, there are many permanent secretaries and other government leaders whose service has spanned decades. To those longstanding public servants, who have led and delivered even in difficult times – especially in difficult times – I extend my sincere and heartfelt gratitude. Let tonight’s awards be but a small token in honour of your landmark contributions to this country. Even more noble than the honour of an accolade, however, is the respect you have inspired, not only in my heart, but in the soul of our citizens. Well done.
You truly deserve to be called “legends” of the public service, because the legacy of your contributions to the government will live on far beyond your tenure in government. Countless leaders will build on the foundation you have laid, and stand on the shoulders of your body of work to continue to push for progress in each Ministry.
The culmination of an industrious career, as Galatians 6:9 reminds us, need not be the end of our good works. “Let us not grow weary of doing good,” the scripture says, “for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up!”
So let us carry on with upright undertakings, righteous efforts, and noble labours. Let us commit to good works, inside and outside of government. And let all public servants, new and established, continue to put the human touch, in the human endeavour of government.