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Eugene Skerritt retires, to special dinner, but was he pushed?

by Bennette Roach

Mr. Eugene Denzil Skerritt

Eugene Denzil Skerritt was celebrated for what was described as his, “sterling contribution for just about thirty five years of dedicated service to the Agriculture Sector and senior leadership and management in the public service…” at a ‘Retirement Dinner’ given in his honour on  Saturday, August 4, 2012, hosted by the Office of the Deputy Governor at the Montserrat Cultural Centre.

The most senior and longest serving Permanent Secretary had not yet quite reached retirement age (55 years) said in his final response to the accolades and sentiments of current and former public servants with whom he worked, “…And so I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the outpouring, for the sharing, for your presence…”

One of his already long retired and former co-workers, had reminded, that he had said, “I would die for my farmers…!” That no doubt had prompted this:  “I accept my title as gentle giant I hope to do much better than Samson…,” after which he declared, Änd so as you leave this evening, leave knowing that I am indeed truly happy to have been given the opportunity to be able to share with you this evening and to say thanks for all you have done.

His final words no doubt addressed the many issues throughout his career having worked in every ministry. He asked, “…your forgiveness for those things that I might have done which may have caused you some problem and we can fix it within the next fifteen,” having earlier referred to the biblical reference to a man’s allotted life span of three score and ten (70 years).

That last reference was also mentioned as warm and best wishes were extended over and over, but as part of the citation delivered by Chief HR Officer, Mrs. Daphne Cassell, she added, “I was also asked to extend best wishes from Mr. Franklyn Michael and Mr. Walter Christopher and their families, thank you.”

She then toasted Eugene. “I also think it fitting that we should stand and really extend our warm wishes to Mr. Skerritt’s ‘thirty-five years,  that’s about half a life time that he has dedicated to the Montserrat Public Service…”

The Record

According to the HR Chief, Skerritt began his near 35-years (34+) public service career in Montserrat as a Trainee Agricultural Assistant on September 12, 1977. Following that, he pursued a Diploma programme in General Agriculture at the Jamaica School of Agriculture.

Having returned from training, Mr Skerritt immediately bought into the “yes we can do it” attitude,

He began work with young people, especially in helping to change their perception of Agriculture.   He was instrumental in reviving the 4H movement, took on managerial responsibility for the Extension/Production Co-ordination Unit.

Obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Agronomy at the Texas A&M University from January 1987 to July 1989.

Became Principal Agricultural Officer in January 1991.  During this period, he also performed the role of Director of Agriculture in an acting capacity.

After twenty years of public service experience, Mr Skerritt was appointed to the top management position of Permanent Secretary, Office of the Chief Minister in March 1997; later moved to the Ministry of Communications and Works, Ministry of Education, Health and Community Services, with responsibility for Labour; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Housing and the Environment in January 2004

He then headed the new portfolio grouping of Ministry of Youth Affairs, Culture, Tourism and Sports (MYACTS) later  re-designated, as the  Ministry of Youth Affairs, Community Services and Sports (MYACSS)

Mrs. Cassell interjected: “This breadth of senior public service management experience is enviable and required much tenacity.”

He was President of the Civil Service Association, Scouts Master, Church Leader (sometimes called Deacon)

For those years, “The Government of Montserrat recognizes the sterling contribution of Mr Eugene Denzil Skerritt for thirty four plus (34+) years of dedicated service to the agriculture sector and senior leadership and management in the public service,” the new HR Officer closed.

It was not clear when the news reached the public that Mr. Skerritt had either retired, or asked to retire. I asked His Excellency Governor Davis as head of the Public who dodged as to whether Skerritt took early retirement or was ‘pushed’ from the service, with a record as enumerated and detailed above. The Governor only response after saying that Mr. Skerritt’s departure was on a private arrangement, said: “We had an agreement with Mr. Skerritt, that agreement is private and personal…If  you wish to get any further information you should talk to Mr. Skerritt.”

Skerritt in his response at the celebrated dinner had given the hint that since he was the PS of MYACCS, which was made redundant and closed, the fact that he was the most experienced and senior PS, notwithstanding, and with the new talk (silent and otherwise) of cutting the public service, he became the sacrificial lamb. The Government is currently searching for a PS Education.

However Skerritt, perhaps showing a little tinge of regret, still said he was happy for where he has come and for what he has achieved. In parting, he seemed to lament as he named some key ministries and department in which he had worked saying: “I have made the case for those things under the portfolio… and I’ve spoken to persons with conviction in regards to our little Montserrat and what we do. So should I be sad because I’ve reached retirement? No, I am very happy, I am happy because for one, I believe that because we believe that Someone has to be in control, that anything that happens to you along the line could only happen through His permissive will.”

The dinner event which began at 6.30 p.m. opened with a usual prayer followed by welcome and opening remarks by the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Sarita Frances. This was followed by the citation, remarks by several persons from the Ministry of Agriculture, Environment. Both Minister Easton Farrell-Taylor and Colin Riley pitched in along with toasts and best wishes from guests as well as presentations.

 

 

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

by Bennette Roach

Mr. Eugene Denzil Skerritt

Eugene Denzil Skerritt was celebrated for what was described as his, “sterling contribution for just about thirty five years of dedicated service to the Agriculture Sector and senior leadership and management in the public service…” at a ‘Retirement Dinner’ given in his honour on  Saturday, August 4, 2012, hosted by the Office of the Deputy Governor at the Montserrat Cultural Centre.

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The most senior and longest serving Permanent Secretary had not yet quite reached retirement age (55 years) said in his final response to the accolades and sentiments of current and former public servants with whom he worked, “…And so I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the outpouring, for the sharing, for your presence…”

One of his already long retired and former co-workers, had reminded, that he had said, “I would die for my farmers…!” That no doubt had prompted this:  “I accept my title as gentle giant I hope to do much better than Samson…,” after which he declared, Änd so as you leave this evening, leave knowing that I am indeed truly happy to have been given the opportunity to be able to share with you this evening and to say thanks for all you have done.

His final words no doubt addressed the many issues throughout his career having worked in every ministry. He asked, “…your forgiveness for those things that I might have done which may have caused you some problem and we can fix it within the next fifteen,” having earlier referred to the biblical reference to a man’s allotted life span of three score and ten (70 years).

That last reference was also mentioned as warm and best wishes were extended over and over, but as part of the citation delivered by Chief HR Officer, Mrs. Daphne Cassell, she added, “I was also asked to extend best wishes from Mr. Franklyn Michael and Mr. Walter Christopher and their families, thank you.”

She then toasted Eugene. “I also think it fitting that we should stand and really extend our warm wishes to Mr. Skerritt’s ‘thirty-five years,  that’s about half a life time that he has dedicated to the Montserrat Public Service…”

The Record

According to the HR Chief, Skerritt began his near 35-years (34+) public service career in Montserrat as a Trainee Agricultural Assistant on September 12, 1977. Following that, he pursued a Diploma programme in General Agriculture at the Jamaica School of Agriculture.

Having returned from training, Mr Skerritt immediately bought into the “yes we can do it” attitude,

He began work with young people, especially in helping to change their perception of Agriculture.   He was instrumental in reviving the 4H movement, took on managerial responsibility for the Extension/Production Co-ordination Unit.

Obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Agronomy at the Texas A&M University from January 1987 to July 1989.

Became Principal Agricultural Officer in January 1991.  During this period, he also performed the role of Director of Agriculture in an acting capacity.

After twenty years of public service experience, Mr Skerritt was appointed to the top management position of Permanent Secretary, Office of the Chief Minister in March 1997; later moved to the Ministry of Communications and Works, Ministry of Education, Health and Community Services, with responsibility for Labour; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Housing and the Environment in January 2004

He then headed the new portfolio grouping of Ministry of Youth Affairs, Culture, Tourism and Sports (MYACTS) later  re-designated, as the  Ministry of Youth Affairs, Community Services and Sports (MYACSS)

Mrs. Cassell interjected: “This breadth of senior public service management experience is enviable and required much tenacity.”

He was President of the Civil Service Association, Scouts Master, Church Leader (sometimes called Deacon)

For those years, “The Government of Montserrat recognizes the sterling contribution of Mr Eugene Denzil Skerritt for thirty four plus (34+) years of dedicated service to the agriculture sector and senior leadership and management in the public service,” the new HR Officer closed.

It was not clear when the news reached the public that Mr. Skerritt had either retired, or asked to retire. I asked His Excellency Governor Davis as head of the Public who dodged as to whether Skerritt took early retirement or was ‘pushed’ from the service, with a record as enumerated and detailed above. The Governor only response after saying that Mr. Skerritt’s departure was on a private arrangement, said: “We had an agreement with Mr. Skerritt, that agreement is private and personal…If  you wish to get any further information you should talk to Mr. Skerritt.”

Skerritt in his response at the celebrated dinner had given the hint that since he was the PS of MYACCS, which was made redundant and closed, the fact that he was the most experienced and senior PS, notwithstanding, and with the new talk (silent and otherwise) of cutting the public service, he became the sacrificial lamb. The Government is currently searching for a PS Education.

However Skerritt, perhaps showing a little tinge of regret, still said he was happy for where he has come and for what he has achieved. In parting, he seemed to lament as he named some key ministries and department in which he had worked saying: “I have made the case for those things under the portfolio… and I’ve spoken to persons with conviction in regards to our little Montserrat and what we do. So should I be sad because I’ve reached retirement? No, I am very happy, I am happy because for one, I believe that because we believe that Someone has to be in control, that anything that happens to you along the line could only happen through His permissive will.”

The dinner event which began at 6.30 p.m. opened with a usual prayer followed by welcome and opening remarks by the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Sarita Frances. This was followed by the citation, remarks by several persons from the Ministry of Agriculture, Environment. Both Minister Easton Farrell-Taylor and Colin Riley pitched in along with toasts and best wishes from guests as well as presentations.