His Excellency Vernon Lorden Shaw, S.A.H.
President of the Commonwealth of Dominica
Wednesday, 1st October, 2003
As you are aware I will be vacating the Office of President on 1st October, next. Let me take this opportunity on behalf of my wife, the rest of my family and on my own behalf to publicly extend sincere congratulations to President-Elect, His Excellency Dr. N.J.O Liverpool my successor in office and my dear friend and brother. We wish him a successful term of office. Congratulations also to his dear wife Verna, First Lady to be.
My wife who has been a tower of strength to me and the rest of my family, join me in thanking God, the Father, our rock, our salvation and our fortress for having instructed me and guided me with his counsel during my term of office.
Thanks to you fellow Dominicans for your invaluable support and encouragement which have been more abundant than we could ever have asked or thought; to our many friends at the Roseau Market who were always concerned about our welfare and who supported us in no small measure, to the indefatigable President's Secretaries and staff for their unswerving loyalty and support.
I sometimes thought that I pushed them too hard but they stood up manfully to the task; to the Secretary to the Cabinet, Financial Secretary, Chief Personnel Officer and Permanent Secretaries for their great support; they might have found me very troublesome. However I am and will always remain a public officer. To the Members of Parliament for their expression of their sincere and warm approbation.
We were truly overwhelmed. We can only say we are unprofitable servants; we have done that which it was our duty to do; to the Bethesda Congregation and Clergy; the clergy and congregation of the Roman Catholic Churches and more particularly of the Cathedral and St. Alphonsus, and to the congregations and clergy of the many other churches island wide who prayed for us and wished us well.
After having spent a three quarters of my life in public office – forty-two years as a public officer, two years as Temporary Resident Tutor of the School Of Continuing Studies, U.W.I, five years as Chairman of the Public Service Board of Appeal and five years as President of this Isle of beauty, Isle of splendour, I return to private life.
There is a deep feeling of peace and joy in our hearts for which we are eternally grateful. May God teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are and help us to spend them as we should.
We are going through difficult times. I would however urge that we do not despair for He has said “I the Lord am with you, Be thou not afraid, I will help and strengthen, Be thou not dismayed.”
Finally I leave with you the following by Georg Neumark:
“Leave God to order all thy ways,
And hope in Him whate'er betide
Thou wilt find Him in the evil days
Thy all sufficient strength and guide
Who trusts in God's unchanging love
Builds on the rock that nought can move.”
May God bless you all; May God bless the Commonwealth of Dominica.