The man who held the top position at the Barbados Family Planning Association (BPFA) is calling it a day.
George Griffith, BPFA executive director, officially retires from the agency on January 31, 2015, but will proceed on pre-retirement leave on September 1.
“The BFPA is the place I think I’ve made my best contribution,” he told Barbados TODAY.
Griffith joined the association as assistant executive director almost 23 years ago, and was promoted to the post of executive director three years later.
In a message to the association, he promised to help “until my last breath”.
“I am going to be focusing a lot of attention on men’s health, and I believe I would be able to do more for the association when I’m out of office because I’m bound sometimes by too many rules and regulations,” he said.
“I’m not criticizing rules and regulations, but I’ll be able to get out into communities and do more. I have a passion for music. I’ve gone back to music, farming and I want to do some writing. There’s hardly anything written about the contribution of the family planning movement to the social and economic development of Barbados and the Caribbean, and I’ll be taking on that as a project. It should take me two and a half to three years.”
Griffith was speaking following the BFPA’s 60th anniversary service held yesterday morning at St Mary’s Anglican Church in Bridgetown.
It was acknowledged that financing was the major challenge facing the body at this time in light of a 50 per cent decline in Government’s subvention over the past five years.
The executive director said Government now contributed in the region of $500,000, leaving the association to raise up to 43 per cent of its own finances.
“We have to accept that the Government might not always be able to give what it [gave before], but we are grateful for the support that goes back to 1954, and we trust that the day will come when the Government will be in a position to turn things around for us. But we are not sitting on our hands.”
And despite its financial challenges, BFPA officials insist they will not be cutting back on the services being offered to the public.
Meanwhile, in an address to the congregation, BFPA president Ruth Phillips noted that the body had made a significant contribution to members of the public since opening its doors some 60 years ago, and had been a source of hope and inspiration.
“The social, economic and cultural landscape of today’s modern Barbadian society reflects in a very positive way, the DNA of the BFPA. The comprehensive range of high quality services now offered to the public from the Clyde Gollop Family Health Centre at our Bay Street headquarters compares favourably with reproductive and general medical services offered anywhere across the Caribbean region,” she said.
Among those attending the service were Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave and his wife, and members of the diplomatic corps.