Tribute to 40 years
Mon, May 07, 2012 - 12:05 AM
The Central Bank of Barbados is currently celebrating its 40th birthday.
Staff and well-wishers were feted last Saturday night during a gala at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre which was attended by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler.
Tuk band rhythms, drama, singing and dancing helped to set the tone for the grand celebration and dinner.
Glowing tributes and best wishes came from the likes of the first and longest serving governor of the bank, Sir Courtney Blackman, and gifts poured in from three of the agencies with which the bank has had long-standing relationships.
But it was not all about praising the institution, however. It was also an occasion to toast members of the more than 270-strong staff. Long service awards were presented to staff serving between ten and 38 years. The Emotional Intelligence Award, which was introduced two years ago, was also handed out.
Four women received awards for 38 years of service. They are Angolyn Kirton, Sheila Legall, Yvonne Parris and Maureen Hoyte, who together total more than 150 years of service at the bank.
Hoyte is the longest serving employee and is due to retire in a matter of months.
She fondly remembers leaving a leading commercial bank to join the bank for a $50 pay increase, which brought her monthly salary to a “whopping” $450.
Thirty-eight years and three departments later, Hoyte insists she would not change a single thing if she had to do it all again.
“It has been a wonderful, wonderful experience working with the bank, one which I really, really treasure,” she said.
That is, of course, with the exception of the big old manual accounting machines, which have long been replaced by computers.
She is looking forward to spending some quality time with her husband Fred and their grandchildren, working in her garden, getting more involved in activities at St Bartholomew’s Anglican Church, and travelling.
Legall has worked in the accounts department from the time she joined the bank. She said she was one of the pioneers when the bank took over debentures from the Government of Barbados.
“My children were born there, I got married there, everything,” Legall said.
She is not at the age of retirement yet, but she said her health and the length of her daughter’s studies will determine how much longer she stays at the bank.
Kirton joined the bank as a clerical officer in the accounts department and moved to one other department before returning to accounts as deputy financial controller.
Like the others, she said she has made a lot of lasting friendships at the bank and would have shared in the joys of marriage and birth of children with her colleagues.
She said some of the teamwork and closeness went with the move to the larger facilities with all the departments under the same roof as opposed to four, yet the “camaraderie was still there but in a different form”.
She said they would still hang out in the cafeteria and do things with the sports club.
She said that while people have passed through the bank, the turnover rate has not been high. And even when people retire, the friendships continue through the bank’s Niece And Nephew programme.
Parris has been in a teacher’s role from the time she joined the bank at 19, on her return from England. She said she had more knowledge about the machines they used and was able to pass on some of those skills.
She is now in the human resource department and looks back fondly on her years at the bank. Parris has benefited from the provisions for staff at the bank, which has allowed her to improve herself and provide for her three children even though her husband has passed on.
Their starting dates might have been different but, having worked together for close to two decades, the leading ladies say the bank helped their personal and professional development by facilitating study opportunities and staff loans that helped with mortgages, car payments and the education of their children.
They say training was a big focus for Sir Courtney and that succeeding governors carried on the tradition.
“[Sir Courtney’s] dictum was that he was not educating you for the bank, he was educating you for Barbados. In that way he was very big on training, as all our subsequent Governors have been,” Hoyte said. (YB)
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