Heaven stepping aside as SIA boss
Mark Titus, Gleaner Writer
Western Bureau: After serving as chairman of the Sugar Industry Authority (SIA) for 11 years, Ambassador Derrick Heaven is set to demit office on December 31, paving the way for a raft of leadership changes aimed at revolutionising the sector.
"I have decided that as of the first of January, I will become a proud cane farmer, as I would have removed myself from that position (chairman)," said Heaven, while addressing yesterday's Westmoreland and Hanover Sugar Cane Growers' Association's (WHSCGA) annual general meeting at the Frome Sugar Estate in Westmoreland. "I will not be out of sugar; I will be focusing on sugar in a personal way."
Heaven, who is also one of the most respected voices in sugar on the global stage, will also be relinquishing his position as chairman of the International Sugar Organization come next month.
While several players in the sector tried to discourage Heaven, arguing that his decisive leadership was still needed, the man who came into sugar in 1999 as the chief executive officer of the government-owned Sugar Company of Jamaica Limited and subsequently became head of the SIA in 2003, said the time has come for him to step aside.
The departure of Heaven will open the door to significant changes in the leadership of local sugar as, according to him, come January 2015, the post of executive chairman will be split into two offices - a chairman and a chief executive officer.
"We will have a chairman and an executive officer, who will have different responsibilities... all these changes are imminent and will take place shortly, ..." Heaven said, in explaining the impending changes. "There will also be a shift in responsibility from the Sugar Industry Research Institute to the All-Island Jamaica Cane Farmers Association, who themselves will become an executive entity."