The Daily Herald writes that Youth and Family (CYF) on Saba organised a well-attended farewell cocktail reception for outgoing social worker Errick Spence on Monday evening, at its office in The Bottom. Social worker Tessa Alexander facilitated the introductions, after which the ceremony stared with a steel pan rendition of the Saba Song by Karel Sorton. Island Governor Jonathan Johnson was present as were Investigating Judge Sydney Sorton, Island Councilmen Ishmael Levenston and Rolando Wilson, Principal Diane Wilson, police representatives, church leaders and civic leaders from other institutions.
Speaking on behalf of staff, including team leader Ankie Blank, incoming social worker Monique Dacosta voiced their appreciation of Spence’s work and the need to acknowledge all that Spence has done for the Saba community.
Former CYF supervisor on Saba and St. Eustatius Sandra Voorneman attended the event as a personal gesture of appreciation for Spence and his work. She said the soft-spoken, humble professional has an innate ability to work with community stakeholders without seeking recognition for his efforts. Voorneman recalled meeting Spence three years ago and having a hard time visualizing his fit with the position, not knowing that his unassuming presence would help consolidate the institution. “He is intuitive and sensitive to what children’s needs are, and in this sense it will be Saba’s great loss that he has to leave,” said Voorneman. She hopes that other youth leaders in the community will step up to continue his work as a role model, especially in guiding young men.
Few knew that Spence has a family and children in his native Suriname, and that his years working on Saba had been personally difficult in that sense. His wholehearted dedication to the community was something that resonated in all speeches held during the reception and the personal accounts of those in attendance.
Nurse Joyce Smith gave a touching speech attesting to the deeply felt impact he has had on many in the community, especially in motivating local youth. She recounted the enthusiasm of local boys who looked up to him for guidance. Some of the boys he guided were there to cater the event.
Patricia Linzey read farewell remarks from Anastacia Simmons who also attested to the energetic support received by the Court of Guardianship at times in enforcing difficult childprotection measures.
CYF staff presented Spence with a token of appreciation and a painting by local artist Suzan ten Holt.
In his short speech, Spence recognised all community stakeholders and the way in which they had supported his work.