Pan Caribbean Sugar creates scholarship to honour Roger Clarke
Christopher Serju, Gleaner Writer
Pan Caribbean Sugar Company Limited has set up a scholarship in honour of late Agriculture Minister Roger Clarke.
Come next year, the person with the best academic record, among the 20 tertiary-level students studying on scholarships from the company, will receive an additional $50,000 as the first recipient of the Roger H.C. Clarke Memorial Scholarship.
"The country has lost one of its best leaders. Sugar has a lost a great friend," Wu Huaixiang (Harry), chief executive officer of Pan Caribbean Sugar Company, said at the company's annual scholarships awards ceremony at the Bernard Lodge Sport Club, St Catherine, last Friday.
Eight children of employees were presented with three-year scholarships to various tertiary institutions. This brings to 24, the number who have benefited over the past three years at a total of more than $20 million.
"I felt as if I had suffered a personal loss," Wu told The Gleaner, explaining that when news of Clarke's death last Thursday reached Bernard Lodge, he was in a managers' meeting, where it was met with shock.
When talks with trade unions on the issue of a termination package for workers stalled and there was real concern that the sugar crop would be disrupted, it was Clarke who engineered a resolution.
Wu advised the students that the award would go to the best-performing student in keeping with the company's decision to "pay respect to this great man".
Meanwhile, he warned them against complacency at this point in their lives.
"Try harder. Don't think that it's time to relax ... . Don't say because I have reached (university), I can take it easy. So many bright guys come to this stage and fail their examinations. They are not stupid. They are smart," he said. "They fail because they do not recognise that even more hard work is required to make the transition to this high-performance platform," he said.
The Pan Caribbean executive explained that education was central to Chinese culture and the company was committed to continue to provide more study opportunities for Jamaicans who were serious about improving their qualifications. But it was not enough to be bright.
"Make the company proud of you," he said. "Don't say because I am bright, I can be naughty ... . The temptation will be there, so it can be easy to go astray," he said.
"Don't forget your parents and the sacrifices they made for you to be here today. You will never know how hard they had to work."