Press Release: Ministry Honours Retirees in Inaugural Ceremony

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In a ceremony befitting Kings and Queens, twenty newly retired employees from the Ministry of Health and the Environment were showered with accolades during a retirement awards banquet at the former US Air Station in Coolidge.
The gala-style event, which took place on Thursday night, saw six men and fourteen women awarded with plaques, wrapped gifts, certificates and gift bags for their years of services to the government and people of the twin island state.
The six men are Conrad Matthias who recently retired from the Fiennes Institute after 27 years of public service, Rudolph Greenaway who served for 35 years between Holberton and Mount St John Hospitals, Eugene Baltimore who worked over 25 years at the Central Board of Health, Vishnu Persaud who had 28 years between the Solid Waste Department and Central Board of Health, Louis Norricks who was employed by the Central Board of Health for 21 years and Claybourne Wilkins who worked 27 years at CBH.
The female retirees were Ruth Hazelwood from Fiennes Institute, Avis Jonas and Roma Delfish from the Ministry’s Headquarters, as well as Joycelyn Francis, Gwendolyn Simon, Janet Deshong and Joan Semple who are all from the Mount St John Medical Centre.
The Central Board of Health and its Medical Division had the bulk of the awardees and they include former Supervisor of Public Health Nursing, Nurse Coralita Joseph, Alfanella Henry, Pamella Matthews, Gloria Pelle, Gale Isaac Christopher, Donnie Armstrong and Victoria Roach.
Among five of the women, there was a combination of almost 190 years of services between them, with Gwendolyn Simon serving 32, Ruth Hazelwood 37, Nurse Coralita Joseph 39, Roma Delfish 40 and Janet Deshong 41.
Commenting on the former employees’ achievements, Minister of Health and the Environment, Molwyn Joseph lauded them for their dedication and for the sacrifices made on behalf of their country.
“I have seen many of you struggle, trying to give time to your children, to your spouses and they too get sick from time to time but yet you are required to be at work on time and to be at work regularly. From my observation, many of you have succeeded in striking a healthy balance between all your other obligations and your obligations to your workplace, to your employer, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda.”
Joseph disclosed his Ministry’s plans to empower every employee under his portfolio to be better equipped and educated by furthering their studies at home and abroad in a bid to make the health sector more efficient.
“We are going to encourage many of you who have ambitions to go further, even to get a first degree if you don’t have one.  Many of you who want to diversify in terms of disciplines and we are going to encourage that. We are going to look at sending our nurses overseas to work in other hospitals so that they can expand their horizon, they can get in a different environment, enrich their experience so that they can come back to Antigua and serve and be a lot more productive. That will also be done with our doctors and our technical people,” Joseph declared.
The Minister also told the gathering that they are working in the most important sector in the twin island state, the health sector and by extension, the Ministry of Health and the Environment.
Moments before Minister Joseph delivered his remarks, the gathering heard from Permanent Secretary within the Ministry of Health and the Environment, Walter Christopher, Dr. Lori-Ann Henry Johnson who delivered the invocation while the husband and wife team of Ronnie and Sherry-Ann Davis blew the roof off with their rendition of the gospel song, ‘Still.’
Janet Deshong, the longest serving retiree on the night delivered the acceptance speech on behalf of her colleagues and Indira James brought the curtains down with the vote of thanks.
Special thanks and appreciation were expressed to the members and staff of the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force for their hospitality during the event.

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