Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Professor Kenneth Hall has commended the St. Ann Jamaica Bauxite Partners (SAJBP), for its contribution to the country’s productive sector.
“There is bauxite mining, there is agriculture, and there is community development,” Professor Hall said, during his tour of the plant on March 16.
The purpose of his visit, he said, was to gain first hand experience about the work that was in progress at the company.
“We want to know what you are doing. We want to be informed, so that we can speak on the basis of first hand experience. I have been to the mines, I have seen the cassava, I have seen the community and I have seen the chicken farms,” he said, pointing out that the aim was to bring focus to the productive sector.
When the Governor-General visited the company’s agricultural experimental plot of sweet cassava, Land Reclamation Supervisor, Alfred Henry spoke of the plans that the SAJBP had for the produce.
“We are planting about 20 hectares of cassava on the reclaimed land and our intention is to go into the value added product, where the community will actually benefit from this. We are thinking about cassava chips and cassava pancake mix, so right now we are running a pilot project and based on the performance of this project, we will then move out into the community,” he said.
Mr. Henry explained that the company would be working closely with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), so that persons could be trained in various aspects of the project, especially in processing.
“We are expecting to get a lot of spin-offs from this project, because the cassava does not require much attention or technology, the cost of production is very low and you can get reasonable yields,” he said.
The SAJBP’s General Manager, David Howe, told JIS News that he was delighted to host the Governor-General and his team, including Her Excellency, Mrs. Rheima Holding Hall; and Executive Director of Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI), Parris Lyew-Ayee.
“It was great that we were able to show everybody all the stages of what we do from mining to reclamation, how we get the bauxite, how we send it down by train to the plant in Discovery Bay and on to the ships for export. It was also great that they could see the work of the community and that we could show some of the projects that we have,” he said.
Mr. Howe also noted that the SAJBP was involved in other crops, such as pepper and squash, and that the company was also assisting with educational and environmental projects in the parish.
In an interview with JIS News, Mr. Lyew-Ayee said he was particularly impressed with the chicken project, and the pride of the workers.
“That kind of pride and ownership is something that we can’t pay for,” he said, and encouraged the SAJBP to continue to assist persons to improve their lives.