Tribute to Covid-19 hero Carika Weldon as she quits lab role
A massive surprise thank you banner was raised yesterday for the Government’s scientific adviser on her last day on the job.
Staff at the Molecular Diagnostic and Research Laboratory in Warwick displayed the sign for Carika Weldon, who was unable to attend, and thanked her for her efforts over the pandemic.
Geraldine Smith, who came up with the idea, said: “We want her to know that we appreciate her, appreciate everything that she’s done for our community and that we wish her all the best moving forward in the future.”
Ms Smith, who works for the Bermuda Hospitals Board, added: “Looking at Dr Weldon as a Bermudian and a young Black female, she certainly raised the bar for all of us and even the young people behind me who she’s worked with.
“She couldn’t do it by herself and she recognises that, so we’re just proud of the team that’s worked with her.”
Dr Weldon returned to Bermuda in early 2020 to help to steer the island through the coronavirus crisis.
She handed in her resignation last month and said that the Government had ignored her advice.
Lisa Douglas, of Celebrations Yard Carders, who created the sign, said she took on the job despite other demands because of the importance of Dr Weldon’s contribution to the island.
Ms Douglas said: “Anyone who knows me knows I’m extremely busy, but I knew I had to carve out the time to do this.
“To me this is of national importance because we need to show Dr Weldon what she has done, not just for the health field but for Bermudians at large.”
Ms Douglas added that Dr Weldon was a stellar example for young Black women.
She said: “She’s shown a path to greatness and she’s inspired myself — and I’m older than she is — to just continue to follow your path, to inspire others by being true to yourself and above all else to choose what is right for you at the end of the day.”
Sharon Smith, Dr Weldon’s godmother, said the scientist’s work over the pandemic was a “tremendous feat”, particularly given the stress she had endured.
Ms Smith added: “I’m just glad that we could do this for her to show that we Bermudians still appreciate her and most of all that I just wish her all the best.”
It is not known why Dr Weldon was unable to visit the lab to see the banner.
But Ms Smith said that her goddaughter knew about the event and was humbled by the display.
She added: “I told her she’s very modest, but sometimes we have to accept our flowers while we’re here.
“She’s done her part. She’s blessed us all with her knowledge and her skills and I’m just grateful and very proud of her.”
Keizhari Knight, a lab supervisor at MDL, said that Dr Weldon would be a “great miss” and highlighted her kindness to staff.
She added: “She was a great value to the lab. We are going to miss her a lot.”