They gave years of dedicated service to their professions, which ranged from teaching to catering to senior positions in the public service. And, as a New Year’s gift, nine distinguished Barbadians have been singled out for acclaim in the Queen’s New Year Honours List.
Among them, Charles Livingston Smith who along with fellow retired permanent secretary Shirley Farnum and the Reverend Orlando Seale were named Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).
Smith, who began his career in the public service in 1965 after teaching at the then St John Mixed School for two years, said he was proud to be recognized for his service.
“I had a very satisfying career and it was quite pleasing to see my country develop over the years and know that I contributed to it in some way,” he told Barbados TODAY while recalling that he had started out as a clerk in the Ministry of Home Affairs, and from there was appointed to several other ministries, including housing, finance, international business and agriculture.
Smith, who ended his career as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, said the highlight was really his ten-year stint in the Ministry of Finance, “because I always liked figures and economics.
“I also enjoyed my time at the Ministry of Public Works, as that experience brought new skills to the fore when I had to deal with road construction projects and all of the issues that went along with that.”
Carlton Hinds, a pioneer in the catering industry, was equally honoured to receive the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) award.
“I am happy and elated at this honour,” he told Barbados TODAY while suggesting that he had lived long enough to see the catering industry come full circle “as a lot of people are now getting into it.
“I see it as a benefit to the country in terms of creating employment opportunities for young people,” he added.
President of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados Cedric Murrell, who along with fellow trade unionist Linda Brooks also received an OBE award, said “I treasure this award deeply and share it with the staff of the Air Traffic Control Department, where I spent 42 years, and who gave me the honour of being their union representative for all of those years.
“To me, serving in the labour movement is an honour akin to serving your country during wartime and it gives a deep sense of satisfaction when you are able to represent other people’s interests. I am extremely happy and deeply honoured,” Murrell said.
Alvin Carter was accorded an MBE – Member of the Order of the British Empire – for his contribution to the teaching profession.
However, even though he had worked hard over the years, Carter, who began his teaching career at St Leonard’s Boys before moving on to the Princess Margaret, Deighton Griffith, Louis Lynch and Lester Vaughan secondary schools, said the honour came as a surprise to him since he never thought he would have been considered for a national award.
“I became a teacher because I had a love for teaching,” he said.
The other two MBE awardees are both former chief fire officers.
Clifford Clarke said, “I spent 35 years in the service (1965-2002), and I would attribute my award to the hard work and dedication I put into my job as a firefighter. I especially commend my former chiefs . . . who taught me a lot in the years I worked with them. I am very humbled to have received the award.”
An elated Velmo Cadogan said: “I thank God and those who supported me during the 35 years I spent in the Barbados Fire Service, as well as the Government of Barbados. I spent ten years as Chief Fire Officer and I could not have done it without the support of the entire staff of the Fire Service, as well as those in other organizations who helped and gave advice, like Eric Earle of the Transport Board who advised me on the maintenance of the fire trucks.”