Abaco’s newly appointed Senior Deputy Family Island Administrator, Maxine Duncombe, was appointed on Aug. 21.
She spent her early years in Cooper’s Town attending Cooper’s Town Primary School, and later Cooper’s Town High School, which is now known as S.C. Bootle High School.
“It is where I got my grounding,” she affirmed.
Duncombe went straight into public service after graduating from high school in 1984 working for a year at the Department of Social Services before taking a leave of absence to pursue tertiary education at the College of The Bahamas (COB). She obtained a diploma in Social Work.
Her first posting was in Marsh Harbour at the Administrator’s Office for South and Central Abaco. Duncombe took another leave to pursue her bachelor’s degree at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, before completing her master’s degree at York University in Toronto. She was assigned to New Providence in 2001.
In 2003, she became a senior officer in Eleuthera until 2009. She transitioned to the Department of Local Government as a Family Island Administrator in Green Turtle Cay for a year then relocated to North Andros and the Berry Islands.
By January 2012, Duncombe became the first woman to serve in a new, autonomous Mangrove Cay. She was later redeployed to the Ministry of Labour and National Insurance in 2013 for four years. She had the pleasure of serving as the government’s representative on the National Tripartite Council. Her portfolio also includes working on International Development Bank (IDB), International Labour Organization (ILO) and union related matters at Ministry of Labour.
Duncombe said that the transition from dealing with social issues involving individuals and families was not difficult for her. In fact, she said working on the Family Islands has always been a passion for her, and that it was a natural fit for her as an administrator because she always saw herself working in the Family Islands.
Her experience has allowed her to administer public policy on a higher level while in New Providence. Although it was a learning curve, she embraced the exposure that came as a result of it.
Now she has come back to a place she calls home.
“I am pleased to be back; I am no stranger to Abaco,” she expressed. “I am prepared to make further contributions wherever I am called to serve, and I am fortunate that Abaco was my assignment.”
As an administrator, her responsibility is to administer the affairs of the Ministry of Transport and Local Government; to function as a link between the Central Abaco District Council and local government town committees by working with their agendas to ensure that they respond to the needs of the community; and to assist the Public Treasury Department with securing the government’s revenue.
In the absence of a senior officer, she takes the lead as administrator with regard to Disaster Preparedness. However, in the scheme of all Central Government officers, the administrator was the most senior officer until the appointment of a Parliamentary Secretary and establishment of the Office of the Prime Minister on Abaco.
“So in relation to other ministries, we work together as a team to ensure that the policies of each department are carried out in accordance with the laws of The Bahamas.”
As one of the administrators stationed on Abaco, Administrator Duncombe said that Marsh Harbour is unique compared to other Family Islands. She has observed that most people are drawn to this particular area because of its development and because the people here make them feel comfortable.
In her time away from Abaco, Duncombe is pleased with the changes she has seen, and would like to see Abaco continue on the path of development it is on. She would also like to see our youth better equipped to become owners of the economy rather than being employees only.
Her hope is to see entrepreneurship promoted and encouraged although she realizes that it would take time, but once movement begins to take place in that direction, the youth will feel like they are in more control of their destiny.
“This would help to cut down the unemployment rate among our youth,” she surmised. “If we look at our young people as being part owners and bridging the skills gap that exists among our youth, there’s no telling where we can go as a country.”
To date, Duncombe has contributed 33 years of service to public office with the majority of those years spent at the Dept. of Social Services. The experience has allowed her to work in almost all areas of social work in particular training, family service, child welfare matters, community support and also administration.
In her spare time, Duncombe spends quiet time meditating, but on the flip side, she is passionate about music. She is a member of the Church of God.