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Farm worker's body to arrive from Canada this week

Published:Wednesday | August 24, 2011 | 12:00 AM

Laura Redpath, Online News Coordinator

The body of the Jamaican farm worker who was killed in Canada this month is expected to be flown home this week, following his tragic death in what was initially reported to be a work-related accident.

Alvin McIntosh, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Labour, told The Gleaner on Monday that the ministry received the preliminary report on Omar Graham's death, and was awaiting the police report.

"We have been in touch with the relatives from the day the accident occurred. It is really unfortunate.

"I gather he drove into a tree. During the course of this week, the body should be flown down provided that the police complete their investigation and the body is released to the liaison officer," McIntosh said.

According to the Agriculture Workers Alliance in Canada, despite the accident being under investigation, preliminary reports have indicated that Graham was killed Tuesday, August 16, as he towed a trailer which was packed with tobacco, in Paris, Ontario.

"The accident is still under investigation but preliminary reports indicate the man was fatally ejected from the pickup truck when the rig he was hauling flipped off the road," the Agriculture Workers Alliance said.

Seventh j'can killed

Graham is reportedly the seventh Jamaican farm worker, over the last decade, to be killed while on the farm work programme in Canada.

According to the alliance, Ned Pert, 39, was killed in 2002 on a tobacco farm when a bin fell on top of him; William Bell and Desmond McNeil were killed in 2005 when a car hit them as they cycled to work; and Paul Roach, along with Ralston White, died when exposed to toxic fumes while cleaning a vat on an apple farm.

Adrian Smith, another farm worker, also reportedly drowned last month in a lake while on the programme in Ontario.

More than 6,000 Jamaican workers leave for Canada each year under farm work programmes.