Prime Minister Freundel Stuart says there is no room for mediocrity in Barbados. In fact, he is adamant that the island could not have successfully completed 50 years of independence by any means other than the pursuit of excellence.
Speaking during a retirement function at Government Headquarters for the retiring Cabinet Secretary Lucene Wharton-Isaac, the Prime Minister described her as an “exemplar” and “an asset” to Government.
He also hailed her as a woman of very strong character, saying, “whenever I had to consult with the Cabinet Secretary about anything, I was always left the better off for the exposure.
“Her very deep intelligence and her commitment to the pursuit of excellence always impressed me and reinforced my own view that the public service of Barbados has some of the finest human beings you could find anywhere in this region. She is an exemplar of that; very well read, master of the use of the English Language, therefore very impatient with sloppy work and with silly mistakes,” the Prime Minister said.
Wharton-Isaac was Stuart’s Permanent Secretary in 2008, when he was assigned to the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Home Affairs.
According to him, she guided him through all the intricacies of his daily responsibilities, pointing out that even though he held that portfolio for only two-and-a-half years, he could always rely on her.
Wharton-Isaac later took up the role of Cabinet Secretary when her predecessor retired. And Stuart said what he admired about her then was that she was not afraid to ask or seek clarification as she traversed new territory, nor was she too proud to say, ‘I do not know’.
The Prime Minister thanked her for being a “splendid civil servant” and for the contribution she made to the Cabinet in the two years and nine months she was there.
During the retirement function, Wharton-Isaac, who officially retires on October 10 after working 49 years in the public service, was also hailed by her colleagues as “meticulous”, “caring”, “gentle”, “compassionate”, and “having a heart of gold”.
In response, Wharton-Isaac, who is currently on pre-retirement leave, said she was pleased she was able to make a meaningful contribution to the public service, disclosing it was the only place she had worked, having started on September 4, 1967.
“I have totally enjoyed my working life in the public service and I have absolutely no regrets. After all, this is where I was allowed to grow and develop into the person I am today, with the assistance of several other public servants . . . I valued my reassignments and I valued all of my transfers and I never thought I was being penalized by being transferred; I saw it as an occasion to learn and to grow,” she stated.
The retiring Cabinet Secretary urged civil servants to build relationships with persons in other ministries so that when they needed help for various tasks, it would be forthcoming.