Ministry of Agriculture loses both Chief and Deputy Chief
January 11, 2013
Ministry of Agriculture loses both Chief and Deputy Chief

The Ministry of Agriculture is now in search of a new chief agriculture officer.This comes as the man who has been at the helm for the past three years, Reuben Robertson, will be retiring in June, according to a well-placed source.{{more}}

Robertson, who has contributed 35 years of service within the Ministry of Agriculture, is said to have reached the retirement age of 55.

Since the beginning of the New Year, Robertson has not been in office.

This publication was, however, informed that Robertson is on vacation and will not be resuming duties following his vacation.

SEARCHLIGHT contacted Robertson, who admitted to being on vacation and said he “will be going on retirement leave” soon after.

Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar, when contacted on Wednesday, had no comment on the matter, but noted that his ministry has always had an open door policy with the media.

“Presently I am not in any position at this point and time to make any comments, but as soon as the relative information becomes available, it will be public knowledge and made available,” he said.

While serving as chief agricultural officer, Robertson was instrumental in a number of initiatives deemed beneficial to the development of the agricultural sector.

He worked closely with the Minister in the implementation of Operation Cut Back and Plant Back which were initiated to combat the Black Sigatoka disease that has crippled the local banana industry since 2009.

Because of such projects, the banana industry, although still struggling, has recorded a reduction in the prevalence of the disease.

The cocoa field rehabilitation project, where 100 acres of the crop are expected to be planted by the end of this year, is another major accomplishment of the man who is referred to by his colleagues as “chief”.

The question remains however, who will be the next chief?

The possibility of former deputy chief agricultural officer Michael Dalton taking up the position no longer exists, as SEARCHLIGHT has learnt that, on January 2, Dalton resigned as deputy chief. He has been on secondment to IICA since late last year.

The other two leading contenders for the soon to be vacant position may be Lesley Grant and Ashley Caine. They, together, have a total of 40 years experience in the agricultural sector. (AA)