Permanent Secretary retires after 40 years in civil service

PS Lionel Nurse receives a farewell gift from Marcina Springer.

Hard work, loyalty and years of faithful service to the Government and people of Barbados were celebrated recently when the Ministry of Transport and Works held a retirement function for Permanent Secretary with the ministry, Lionel Nurse.

The event, held at the L.V Harcourt Lewis Training Centre, saw his wife Eleanor, his two sons, fellow staff members, family and friends as well as Minister of Transport and Works, Michael Lashley, sharing this occasion with the well respected civil servant.

Nurse has spent the last 40 years in the Civil Service, first working with the Planning Office and later as the Chief Town Planner. On being appointed to the post of Permanent Secretary he had stints at the Attorney General’s Office, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Housing, Lands and the Environment and the Ministry of Environment and Energy.

In 2008, he was assigned to the then Ministry of Transport and Works and International Transport, which later became the MTW. Nurse remained with the ministry until he went on pre-retirement leave on August 31.

“The Ministry of Transport and Works is unique and in a sense the only genuine ‘works’ ministry needing a hands-on approach. Our work significantly impacts the lives of the people on a daily basis and thus more highly visible and open to public scrutiny,” Nurse remarked during his address.

He added that while being at the ministry he was able to put on the ground many initiatives which, if he was at other ministries, may have just remained as plans and policies.

Nurse stated he was particularly proud of the Sustainable Development and Green Economy approaches which have been applied to road design and traffic flows. He is also proud of the policy which has been put into place where they are now seeing a reduction in the ministry’s energy bills for its buildings and street lighting.

Another source of great pride for the PS is the ministry’s HIV/AIDS Programme, which has been expanded to all the ministry’s depots.

Nurse was also instrumental in the commissioning of a specially outfitted medical facility bus, which is not only being used by the ministry in its outreach programme to the various depots, but also by respective ministries in their HIV/AIDS programmes.

He came in for high praise from Minister of Transport and Works, Michael Lashley, who worked with him for the past six months.

Lashley thanked him for his leadership, advice and sterling contribution to the Government and people of Barbados. The minister stressed that persons should seek to emulate PS Nurse as he was a model Civil Servant. He added that he had placed his stamp of guidance on many projects within the ministry.

Chief Technical Officer Frank Thornhill, Deputy Permanent Secretary Anthony Wiltshire, Principal Crown Counsel Winston Coppin, Chief Planning Officer Jonlyn Harewood, and Executive Secretary Kathy-Ann Weekes all paid tribute.

Financial Controller Marsina Springer presented a gift of a week’s staycation at the luxurious Crane Resort in St. Philip for the permanent secretary and his wife on behalf of the minister and staff.

Nurse still plans to keep active after his retirement as he intends to write a book on physical planning and resume his interest in scuba diving. He also plans to continue playing table tennis and become more actively involved in his church, the Church of Holy Trinity at Ruby, St. Philip.

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