Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 23, 2019 (SKNIS): Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Ms. Beverly Harris, has officially retired from the Civil Service after 42 years of sterling service where she held several positions.
Ms. Harris was honoured at a banquet at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort on June 22, 2019, which was attended by senior government officials, including Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, staff of the Ministry of Sustainable Development, close friends and relatives.
In her 42-year career, Ms. Harris climbed the Civil Service ladder where she held the positions of Statistical Clerk, Economic Planning Officer, Chief Statistician, Director of Statistics and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sustainable Development.
The retired permanent secretary received glowing tributes about her work from the Ministry, colleague statisticians locally and regionally, government officials and staff of the Caribbean Development Bank.
Lori-Rae Alleyne-Franklin, Chief Statistician in Anguilla, was one such admirer, friend and colleague of Ms. Harris.
“It was back in the early 2000’s that I met Ms. Beverly Harris after being inducted into the fraternity of Caribbean Statisticians at the annual Standing Committee of Caribbean Statisticians meeting held in the Turks & Caicos that year.
“Beverly’s interventions were measured and pertinent; no waffling, while at the same time thought provoking. It was these qualities added to the fact that Anguilla was always positioned next to St. Kitts and Nevis at the meeting that allowed a very good working relationship and a personal friendship to develop overtime. Her contribution to statistics in the region goes without saying and will not be forgotten,” Mrs. Alleyne-Franklin said.
Mrs. Alleyne-Franklin added: “Over the years, our personal friendship blossomed, with persons even suggesting that we were sisters; don’t know how that could be, as she is towering way over me. As time went on and I became part of the Harris’ family, meeting in person or virtually, sisters, nephews and friends and she similarly becoming part of my family, adding my children to her many nieces and nephews, sons and daughters.
“When time came for retirement from the Statistics Department it was as if a part of me was going but when Beverly indicated she was moving up to the Permanent Secretary it was a relief, as we could still have conversations about Economic Development as well as Statistics. We met at other meetings and found opportunities to meet up either in person or via WhatsApp! usually having a big laugh and talking for hours without realising.”
Dr. Philomen Harrison, Director, Regional Statistics, CARICOM Secretariat, lauded Ms. Harris as a career public servant and a statistician.
“Beverly signifies all that is good about a career public servant and a statistician. She is one of possibly two Chief Statisticians/Director of Statistics that has been called upon to serve as Permanent Secretaries in their countries- having excelled, committed, sacrificed and devoted their lives to creating and improving statistics at the national level and through the community of statisticians – have created a vision for CARICOM Statistics that is reflected in the CARICOM Regional Strategy for the Development of Statistics (RSDS) that was approved by the Thirty-Ninth Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community in July 2018,” said Dr. Harrison.
“Beverly has served country and CARICOM in areas that include – the undertaking of the Population and Housing Census, the largest statistical activity that a country can conduct- a formidable task – as someone said – “anything that you think can happen during census-taking- will happen”. She has undertaken the development of Trade statistics that the region is built upon, National Accounts, the Consumer Price Indices, the Balance of Payments among other areas of statistics, including inroads into Environment and Gender Statistics- a lot for very small countries to undertake. Through the vehicle of the SCCS and the RCCC, she has contributed to the objectives of these bodies that serve to, inter alia, improved the range, quality and comparability of statistics- chairing sessions of both committees including as fate would have it – being the chair for both committees in the same year,” Dr. Harrison added.
In recognizing the tremendous contribution of Ms. Harris, Dr. Harrison ended by saying “I take this opportunity to recognize her leadership and the contribution that she has made regionally to CARICOM Statistics. It is hoped that in her private capacity she continues to realise her personal achievements to fulfill all that she wishes for herself and if she so desires to continue to contribute to statistics development regionally and nationally through the Caribbean Association of Professional Statisticians (CAPS). It is indeed a privilege and a pleasure (dry as her humour was) to cross her path.”
In her farewell speech, Ms. Harris thanked the government and staff members of the entire Ministry, while having words of encouragement especially for young staff members.
“The work that you do is not for an individual but for the country and the people that you serve. As such you should do your best at all times no matter what job you have. As such, I will remind you of this quote by Martin Luther King Jr. “if a man is called to be a street sweeper he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well; to those who work conscientiously, continue to do so; for those whose output needs improving, I urge you to do so,” Ms. Harris said.
She had words of wisdom to those left after her including “be humble in dealing with other persons; help wherever you can; do not be puffed up and look down on the persons you serve, we are all God’s creation; build good relationships; do what is right and live simply; be fair and honest in your dealings with others; be independent in your thinking and do not be easily led; It cannot always be a four-o clock day; do not harbour grudges, instead be forgiving; embrace positive change; and be thankful for all things both great and small.”
Officials in attendance at the farewell banquet included Minister of State with responsibility for Health, Hon. Wendy Phipps; Cabinet Secretary, Mrs. Josephine Huggins; Permanent Secretary in Office of Prime Minister, Mr. Osbert DeSuza; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Delores Stapleton-Harris; Financial Secretary, Mrs. Hilary Hazel; Mrs. Torfrida Rochester, Chief Personnel Officer; Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Hazel Laws; Former Chief Statistician, Mr. Oliver Knight; Former Financial Secretary, Mr. Wendell Lawrence; Accountant General, Mr. Levi Bradshaw; and Former Statistician in Planning Unit, Mrs. Sylvine Henry.
Mrs. Elrether Simpson-Browne succeeds Ms. Beverly Harris as Permanent Secretary in Ministry of Sustainable Development.