Veteran court officer retires

Ermyn Berry was a civil servant for 40 years, 27 of them in court

Described as quiet and unassuming, Ermyn Berry was not allowed to leave her last day on the job in any quiet manner. 

Members of the judiciary and court staff held a surprise farewell ceremony on Oct. 29 for the veteran civil servant, who spent the last 27 years at the Law Courts Building in downtown George Town. 

She received accolades and gifts in the presence of Acting Governor Franz Manderson, judges and magistrates, administrators at all levels, and her co-workers from across the court administration. 

“All of us are … aware of what a dedicated, warm and lovely person Miss Ermyn is,” said Chief Justice Anthony Smellie. “Speaking for myself, I have always been impressed by her kind and graceful disposition and will truly miss working with her here at the Courts,” he said. 

Ms. Berry served as administrative secretary, registering appeals, recording indictments, bundling case files and keeping track of documents for coroner’s court. 

Deputy Clerk of Court Cecile Collins (herself a long-serving member of the Judicial Administration team), said it had been great working with Ms. Berry. “Having her on my team made a difference, and I am truly appreciative for all she has done. Thank you, Miss Ermyn, for being such a dedicated and valuable employee. I will truly miss your fleeting steps as you moved about the office, never delaying to deal with a task.” 

Her career in public service began more than 40 years ago, on Aug. 1, 1975, with the Registrar of Companies, then located in the courts’ administration. She was later seconded to the Currency Board, and in 1988 she was promoted to executive officer and transferred back to the courts, where she remained. In 1997, her title was changed to administrative secretary, a post in which she has served ever since. 

As a mark of the regard in which she was held, throughout her career she was called upon on many occasions to assist in other government departments, such as agriculture, finance, and treasury. She also worked at the Credit Union in the evenings, after work at the courts. 

In a statement released last week, the Cayman Islands Judicial Administration, said: “In keeping with her commitment and dedication to her duties, attested to in tribute after tribute, [Ms. Berry] had over the years diligently grasped opportunities for in-house training to ensure that her skills grew with the bustling court world. For her, that gravitation to training was already part of her ethos, having joined the government service equipped with a diploma in secretarial sciences from the International College of the Cayman Islands. Like many others, she had also taken advantage of the then-available offerings, including Sylvia Gill training and other opportunities such as the Dale Carnegie course in strengthening people skills.” 

In her usual reluctance to be in the limelight or to reflect on her accomplishments and career, Ms. Berry said simply: “My time in government has overall been good; it was not without its difficult times, but I am thankful for the jobs that I had. I got along well with everyone.” 

Now she is looking forward to enjoying friends and family, taking care of her octogenarian mother Glemis Berry, and spending time with her granddaughter Kyannah. High on her retirement goals is greater involvement with the Bodden Town United Church and gardening. 

At her retirement function, Chief Justice Smellie said of her: “Throughout her career, Miss Ermyn has been regarded as a very dependable, efficient and well-respected employee …. I wish for you, Miss Ermyn, a very long and happy retirement.” 

Her career in public service began over 40 years ago, on Aug. 1, 1975, with the Registrar of Companies, then located in the courts’ administration. 

Retiring Court Officer Ermyn Berry is flanked by Chief Justice Anthony Smellie, presenting a gift, and Court Administrator Kevin McCormac.

Retiring Court Officer Ermyn Berry is flanked by Chief Justice Anthony Smellie, presenting a gift, and Court Administrator Kevin McCormac.
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