Roger Clarke: Life and politics
Roger Clarke's name was synonymous in Jamaica’s political and social spheres with agriculture.
He has had a rich upbringing in agriculture and its practices from his younger years to the present.
Minister Clarke grew up in Glen Islay, Westmoreland, where he helped his parents and grandparents on their farm, which produced root crops and vegetables.
He attended the Mannings High School and later went on to pursue extensive management training at the now defunct Jamaica Industrial Development Corporation and Harbridge House in the United States in the 1960’s.
He has worked extensively with several sugar estates in Jamaica for almost 30 years, which allowed him to interface with various members of the farming community.
Clarke owned a farm that produces a myriad of crops and is the largest sugar cane producer in St Elizabeth.
Minister Clarke has had a successful political career, having won eight elections comprising two Local Government and six General Elections.
In 1986 he was elected Councillor for the Balaclava division in St Elizabeth, and was nominated Mayor of Black River and Chairman of the St Elizabeth Parish Council.
He was subsequently re-elected in the 1990 Local Government Election where he continued as Mayor.
Clarke also served a four year period as President of the Local Government Authorities from 1988 to 1991.
He went on to a bigger political stage in 1991 when he was elected Member of Parliament for North East St Elizabeth in a by-election.
Three months into the job, he was promoted in early 1992 to State Minister for Agriculture; a position he held for three years and by 1995 he was appointed Minister of Local Government and Works.
By 1998, he was back in familiar territory serving as Minister of Agriculture.
He served as Minister of Agriculture for some ten years and during that period was one of the founding members of the Alliance of Ministers of Agriculture for CARICOM, and served as its chairman for many years.
On January 6, 2012, Clarke was re-appointed Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.
He has identified as his top priorities enhancing Jamaica’s food security, to make farming profitable and rural development as areas of particular interest.
He served in several capacities in the People’s National Party and was vice-president Emeritus since 2003.
He was married with two children.
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