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The Hon. Roger Clarke, Minister of Agriculture and Member of Parliament for Central Westmoreland, is a name synonymous in Jamaica’s political and social spheres with agriculture. He has had a rich upbringing in agriculture and its practices from his younger years to the present.
Minister Clarke grew up in Glen Islay, Westmoreland, where he helped his parents and grandparents on their farm, which produced root crops and vegetables. He attended the Mannings High School and later went on to pursue extensive management training at the now defunct Jamaica Industrial Development Corporation and Harbridge House in the United States in the 1960’s.
He has worked extensively with several sugar estates in Jamaica for almost 30 years, which allowed him to interface with various members of the farming community. Today, he owns his own farm that produces a myriad of crops and is the largest sugar cane producer in St. Elizabeth.
Minister Clarke has had a successful political career, having won eight elections comprising two Local Government and six General Elections. In 1986 he was elected Councillor for the Balaclava division in St. Elizabeth, and was nominated Mayor of Black River and Chairman of the St. Elizabeth Parish Council. He was subsequently re-elected in the 1990 Local Government Election where he continued as Mayor. Mr. Clarke also served a four year period as President of the Local Government Authorities from 1988 to 1991.
He went on to a bigger political stage in 1991 when he was elected Member of Parliament for North East St. Elizabeth in a by-election. Three months into the job, he was promoted in early 1992 to State Minister for Agriculture; a position he held for three years and by 1995 he was appointed Minister of Local Government and Works.
By 1998, he was back in familiar territory serving as Minister of Agriculture. He served as Minister of Agriculture for some ten years and during that period was one of the founding members of the Alliance of Ministers of Agriculture for CARICOM, and served as its chairman for many years.
On January 6, 2012, Mr. Clarke was re-appointed Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. He has identified as his top priorities enhancing Jamaica’s food security, to make farming profitable and rural development as areas of particular interest.
He has served in several capacities in the People’s National Party and is currently Vice President Emeritus since 2003.
Mr. Clarke died on August 28, 2014, leaving widow Sonia and two children.
Viewing of the body
9am-3pm Thursday, September 11- People’s National Party Headquarters, 89 Old Hope Road
9am-12noon Friday, September 12 – Sharon Baptist Church in Santa Cruz, St. Elizabeth
3pm-6pm Friday, September 12- Mannings High School, Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland
A wake will also be held on September 12, at Independence Park, in Savanna-la-Mar.
The official funeral service will be held on Saturday, September 13, at the St. George’s Anglican Church, Savanna-la-Mar, in Westmoreland. Interment will follow at a family plot in Glen Islay in Williamsfield, Westmoreland.
Members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) will perform ceremonial duties for the funeral, which starts with tributes at 10:30 a.m.