The impact of the changes in the European Union (EU) sugar regime on the Monymusk community in Clarendon is explored in a book written by Registrar at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Campus, Dr. Donovan Stanberry.
The book, entitled ‘How Trade Liberalization Affects a Sugar-Dependent Community in Jamaica: Global Action, Local Impact’, was launched recently at the UWI, Mona Undercroft.
It details how the end of centuries of preferential treatment of Jamaican sugar in the British/European market in 2005 affected the social and economic realities of Monymusk, which depended on the sugar industry, and further highlights the situation in the area since 2015.
It describes the response of Government to the changes in the EU sugar regime, and subsequent rollout of an EU-funded adaptation strategy.
A former Permanent Secretary in the Agriculture Ministry, Dr. Stanberry draws on his vast experience as a senior civil servant involved in the process, in writing the book.
The subject area is one that is close to his heart, having spent the first 18 years of his life in Race Course, Clarendon.
“My own life has been profoundly influenced and shaped by the sugar industry in that part of Jamaica. I have had a lifelong fascination with sugar, which pervades the atmosphere during the crop time,” Dr. Stanberry said.
He said that the differences in the way of life of residents of the sugar-dependent communities, during the in-crop and out-of-crop seasons for sugar cane, was evident.
“Growing up, I always noticed the predominance of poverty in Vere, especially during the out-of-crop season, I saw how Lionel Town became alive with activities on pay days and the general bustle of economic and social activities during the crop as against out of crop,” Dr. Stanberry pointed out.
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., who is also Member of Parliament (MP) for Clarendon South Eastern, welcomed the publication.
He said: “It is important for us to note that Dr. Stanberry has taken the time to chronicle and to extend to us his thoughts, his scholarly examination, his reasons, and his experiences inspired by his upbringing.
“He has done what I have always thought that many in his position should do – to record their opinions and evaluations for the benefit of those to come,” he added.
Minister Charles Jr. said that the evaluation done by Dr. Stanberry “will help to determine what is the best position for our country and our people”.
During the launch, Dr. Stanberry presented copies of the book to various entities, including the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) for inclusion in its library.
‘May this assist in your dissemination of information about this industry,’ he wrote in the copy given to JIS.