Key social and productive sectors within the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture will receive more support thanks to the assignment of an additional Permanent Secretary.
Effective Monday, May 17, Dr. Marcia Potter will serve as Permanent Secretary with responsibility for Education and Scholarship; United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; Historical Research and Projects; Department of Culture; Department of Youth Affairs and Sports; Library Services Department; Higher Education Licensing Board; H. Lavity Stoutt Community College; and the Recreation Trust.
Permanent Secretary Mrs. Carolyn Stoutt-Igwe will be responsible for Fisheries, Agriculture, Ecclesiastical Affairs, and Office Administration. Meanwhile, Mr. Joseph Smith Abbott will act as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration.
The appointments were made by His Excellency the Governor, John Rankin, CMG, upon considering the advice of the Public Service Commission, in accordance with section 92 of the Virgin Islands Constitution.
In early 2019, on the recommendation of the Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie, the names of the ministries were renamed with the Ministry of Education and Culture retitled Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture.
According to the Premier, “The introduction of an additional Permanent Secretary has been in the discussions since the name change in the ministry. I am pleased to see that this has been advanced to ensure that significance is placed on developing fisheries and agriculture as another economic pillar, and in strengthening food security, and ensuring sustainability of the sectors from an education and economic standpoints.”
Deputy Governor, Mr. David D. Archer, Jr. said the shift reflects Government’s commitment to maintaining education and culture as priorities while improving agriculture and fisheries as industries with the ability to grow the local economy.
“All these areas are vitally important to the Territory’s post-COVID recovery, and having two such experienced and competent public officers will mean that the subjects of education, culture, fisheries and agriculture get the attention and guidance they need to thrive in this transitional time,” he said. Mr. Archer added that such occasional re-appointments are a sign of the Public Service’s flexibility and agility in demanding global circumstances.
Permanent Secretaries serve as the chief policy advisors to their subject ministers, and the trio has a combined 67 years of experience within the Public Service.
Dr. Potter first joined the Public Service in 1984, and was appointed to act as Permanent Secretary in the then-Ministry of Education and Culture in 2011. She continued in that post until 2019 when she was re-appointed to the Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration. Dr. Potter has also served as the Territory’s Chief Education Officer and as head of the University of the West Indies, BVI Centre.
Mrs. Stoutt-Igwe first joined the Public Service in 2003. Prior to her appointment as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture in 2019, she served as Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Deputy Governor. She has previously served in various posts including Executive Private Secretary in the Governor’s Office, Deputy Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Social Development, and as Assistant Secretary in the Premier’s Office.
Mr. Smith Abbott first joined the Public Service in 1996 and has served as Deputy Secretary in the Ministry of National Resources Labour and Immigration since 2014. He has also held the post of Deputy Director of the National Parks Trust, and he led the Trust as Director from 1998 until 2014.
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