Farewell to Ford

CHIEF Secretary Sir David Ford yesterday expressed his thanks to members of the Legislative Council for their support in his seven years as the head of the civil service.

In his farewell speech to the Legislative Council, Sir David, who will retire from the top job at the weekend, thanked members for all the kindness, friendship and support which they had shown during his time as Chief Secretary and as chairman of the Finance Committee.

''My Wednesday and Friday afternoons will never be quite the same again. I am very sad to be leaving Hong Kong but I have two consolations,'' he said.

''Firstly, I can continue to serve Hong Kong as Hong Kong's Commissioner in London, and secondly, I leave my post in very capable hands.'' In his speech, made during the motion debate on an effective and efficient civil service, Sir David said the relationship between Legco and the civil service had been crucial and in his experience, it had also always been good.

Sir David, who was the Secretary for the Civil Service before taking his present post, said the Government remained committed to the maintenance of a first-class civil service.

Elsie Tu, chairman of the Legco House Committee, said Sir David would be missed.

She joked that he would be back in Hong Kong either as a temporary visitor or as a permanent resident if the legislature could ever manage to find a definition.