Mon | Sep 24, 2018

Courtney Fletcher dead at 90

Published:Monday | March 9, 2015 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju

A thanksgiving service for the life of agriculturist Courtney Fletcher, who served as president of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) from 1974-93, will take place at the Saxthorpe Methodist Church on Constant Spring Road, St Andrew, next Saturday.

"He passed on Saturday (February 28)," daughter Doreen Thomas told The Gleaner last week.

The 90-year-old, who died at home, is survived by three daughters and three sons.

Fletcher, who had a passion for agriculture from an early age, became a Jamaica 4-H Clubs organiser soon after graduating from Cornwall College in Montego Bay, St James.

He then went on to work with the JAS for many years, and during his presidency was very vocal about the crippling effect of praedial larceny on agriculture. He called for a national coordinated approach to tackling what, even back then, was recognised as a serious crime.

"Investment in agriculture is crippled and retarded greatly by praedial larceny ... the great thrust forward is unlikely to come without signals of serious intent to stamp out this most awful scourge," Fletcher warned at a meeting of the JAS Board of Management in March 1989.

"The praedial thief demolishes the farmer and hinders development more than any other obstacle he faces in his farmer enterprise, and the country cannot expect him to continue to produce under these circumstances," he further told the meeting.

A year earlier, during an address to the annual general meeting of the St Elizabeth Association of JAS Branch Societies, Fletcher had called for a special division to be set up within the police force to deal specifically with farm theft.

A staunch supporter of the People's National Party, Fletcher was its national organiser for the 1972 general elections, which it won handsomely.

Yesterday, the JAS said that during a board of management meeting last Wednesday, a period of silence was observed in his honour.