Allan Rickards dies at 79

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Allan Rickards dies at 79

Thursday, October 01, 2020

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JAMAICA'S ailing sugar industry lost one of its staunchest defenders on Tuesday with the death of agriculturist and former chairman of the All Island Jamaica Cane Farmers' Association Allan Rickards.

The 79-year-old Rickards has been ailing for some time, but even when ill he continued to defend the local agricultural community in general, and the sugar industry in particular.

His death came almost on the anniversary of the day he ended his long stint as chairman of the All Island Jamaica Cane Farmers' Association with a parting shot at successive governments for their lack of attention to the agricultural sector.

At the time Rickards argued that agriculture ministers over the years have not had support from fellow Cabinet members.

“I can tell you for a fact that ministers of agriculture go to Cabinet and have a hard time being heard. Other industries are deemed more important, so agriculture never gets the attention that it deserves,” Rickards was quoted as saying.

“Every agriculture minister is my minister. The constituency is agriculture and the Government is whoever sits in the seat as minister, and I continue to tell those appointed to serve in the office, let us talk as one people; my minister is my minister,” added Rickards who was a vocal supporter of the People's National Party (PNP).

Yesterday outgoing PNP President Dr Peter Phillips joined those expressing sadness at the death of the veteran agriculturist.

Phillips noted that Rickards had been a powerful voice for agriculture in Jamaica for decades, a well-respected authority on sugar, and a giant in the industry.

He said Rickards was committed to the fight for a fair shake for sugar workers and their families and was relentless in his mission to rescue and revive the sector.

“Allan gave hope to the sugar workers, and farmers generally, that better would come. He was fearless in representing their causes and believed that their rights had to be protected from those who sought to exploit the industry for selfish reasons,” Phillips said in a news release.


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