I am more than what I was
By Leonard St Hill | Fri, July 13, 2012 - 12:01 AM()
In gratitude for your indulgence as publisher of selections from my diary of social commentary, permit me the rare introspection that distinguishes who I am from what I used to be.
Consistent with the peculiarity of Bajan culture in which greater respect is paid to the status of any public authority once held than to the function being performed in present time, I am described as “former Chief Town Planner” but uncharacteristically never as past president (1975-1979) of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and founding managing director of the Securities Exchange of Barbados.
To the eight years’ professional experience in St Lucia, England, and Nigeria (after five years academic and naval training as constructor lieutenant (RCN(R)) as qualification for appointment as head of the Town & Country Development Office in Barbados), there has been added 45 years’ professional experience regionally and beyond of the variety that has enriched the insights that inspire my diary of social commentary. The true authority for my commentary comes from who I am by the grace of God, not who I used to be.
My most reverent reflection is on the fact that only those under the age of 65 need to be reminded of my status when the Prime Minister, now Minister responsible for Town and Country Planning, was still at secondary school.
I am still a practising professional planning consultant.
I came to Barbados in 1964 with the experience of director of public works and chairman of the Central Housing & Planning Authority, St Lucia, and planning officer of the Lagos Executive Development Board, Nigeria, to constitute a three-man professional team to frame the seminal Development Plan under the Act Cap 240, which as head of the office I presented to the minister in 1967.
I am the sole survivor of that team continuing in private practice as a planning consultant, which I was professionally before and am after I was “Chief Town Planner”. I firmly believe that who I am is more important than what I was. Chief Town Planner was an office held by grace and favour. Planning consultant is a professional qualification earned by training and experience.
There comes to my mind sometimes that twist of fate in 1962 when St Lucia government ministers, preoccupied with their interests in the impending doom of the West Indies Federation, forgot the vacancy for a planning officer in the Windward Islands Architect’s Office, funded as a Colonial Development and Welfare Scheme, that was never filled: What would my life be now had it been then? Only God knows.
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