The Government of The Bahamas thanked Director of Immigration Vernon Burrows for more than 40 years of dedicated service to the Immigration Department during a farewell reception on Friday, October 24.

The event held at the Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort was attended by His Excellency Arthur Hanna, Governor General; the Rt. Hon Hubert Ingraham, Prime Minister; Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon Brent Symonette; the Hon. Perry Christie, leader of the Opposition; and other senior government officials.

Mr. Burrows was presented an array of gifts, amongst them a plaque carved in crystal with words describing his dedication to the public service.

Minister of State for Immigration the Hon Branville McCartney, in his remarks, lauded Mr. Burrows as “a man of great stamina on the shoulders of whom we stand today.”

Mr. Burrows, 59, joined the department on October 4, 1965, and rose through the ranks of the organisation as Messenger, Clerk, Trainee Immigration Officer, Chief Immigration Officer, Assistant Director of Immigration to Director of Immigration.

“Forty-three years of employment, over four decades of service to one organisation is phenomenal,” Mr. McCartney said.

Mr. Burrows spent time in every immigration office in every island of The Bahamas, “and he has given exemplary service to The Bahamas Government with dignity and decorum,” Mr. McCartney said.

“Vernon Burrows left an indelible impression, legacy in this department that is etched in the annals of time. He is stepping off the state – to another, and he will never be forgotten,” he added.

Vernon Edward Linheart Burrows was born on January 2, 1949, in New Providence. He is a career civil servant who has given more than 40 years of service to this country in the Department of Immigration.

He has the distinction of being the only person in the Department of Immigration’s 69-year history to have risen through all ranks to become Director of Immigration in December, 1999.

During his tenure as director, he has travelled throughout the world attending all major migration conferences and initiatives. He is regarded as one of the more knowledgeable and respected migration managers in the region.

He has established an excellent working relationship with his counterparts within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), neighbouring countries and also international agencies such as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

His achievements within his own organisation are numerous. However, he has given all the credit to the department’s staff, some of whom he mentored and others who have performed beyond expectations in the department’s offices scattered throughout The Bahamas.

Most recently, the department under his leadership introduced a border control management system that will be implemented at all the major ports of entries within The Bahamas by the end of October, 2008.

In September, 2008, the department introduced a comprehensive E-ID card system for the issuance of work and residence permits and certificates currently being issued by the department. These initiatives are expected to establish The Bahamas as the leader in the region in secure documents and border management.

Mr. Burrows is the father of two children, a son, Vernon Seth, and a daughter, Turia Michelle. He is an Anglican and a member of Saint George’s Anglican Church.