Sugar alive

Sugar may have taken a backseat in Barbados’ economy because of its dwindling contribution to the gross domestic product and foreign exchange over the years, but don’t say that to dedicated workers of the industry, Francine Belgrave and Cedric Eastmond.

The sugar industry is very much alive and holding its own in the hearts and souls of these two, who have a combined 59 years of toiling to keep the wheels of this sector grinding.

“Sugar vs tourism: which is better for Barbados” might have been the debate as outstanding sugar workers Cedric Eastmond and Francine Belgrave engaged Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy (centre) in conversation on the Ilaro Court grounds.

It was this dedication and their outstanding contributions that earned them the respect of their peers who nominated them for 2017 Crop Over awards.

They were honoured during the Prime Minister’s Crop Over appreciation party on the lawns of Ilaro Court where emcee for the evening, Wayne Simmons, explained that the recognition for outstanding service replaces annual decorations for the champion cane cutter and champion loader.

He said Crop Over administrators this year “cast the net wide, particularly with the significance of the sugar industry diminishing, and we now look beyond the fields to persons who have made their contributions in the industry that has kept Barbados afloat”.

Belgrave was first called on stage on the evening of August 11 to be greeted by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and hailed by the large crowd for her outstanding service in the sugar industry.

Reading Belgrave’s citation, Simmons said she was the only female electrician in the sugar industry and had been in that position at the Portvale Sugar Factory for the last 18 years.

“On any given day, you can find her handling the installation and the maintenance of all the electrical equipment in the factory. She is a woman of few words but a firm believer in the fact that this industry is here to stay, noting that we try to distance ourselves, but sugar is the bedrock of Barbados and so this industry will always have its roots in our existence,” he read.

Co-workers nominated Belgrave for the recognition, because of her “commitment to the job and for her excellent contribution to the factory and, by extension, the industry”.

Eastmond is also from Portvale Sugar Factory, having been there mainly as a pan-boiler since 1976, following in the footsteps of his father who inspired him at a young age.

According to Simmons, Eastmond “noted with pride that when he entered the industry, factory life was based on ethics and morals”.

“In addition to his regular duties of pan-boiling, Eastmond is inter-roped into the other factory operations, maintaining the general order which includes ensuring that employee safety is paramount. His presence is appreciated as an inspiration to his co-workers, and he has the ability to influence them to get the job done,” his citation read in part.

Eastmond’s peers named him as the man to be recognized based on his dedication to his job, “usually foregoing lunch in order to monitor his station, and for his excellent contribution to the factory and, by extension, the industry”.

5 Responses to Sugar alive

  1. Jus me August 19, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    How to use people!!!
    .lesson one given by the Hon PM
    Poor suckers, honest and diligent, preyed on by these
    Political Leeches.

  2. Carson C Cadogan August 19, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    I hope that it is not alive for much longer.

  3. Ossie Moore August 21, 2017 at 7:57 am

    Sugar vs Tourism:

    Sugar – am I blind ? Were is the sugar industry , what sugar industry are we talking about ?

    Tourism – an ass kissing industry.

    • Jennifer August 21, 2017 at 10:41 am

      Oh Ossie. You like you looking through new glasses. Hahahhahahahaha.

  4. Karin Blundell September 6, 2017 at 9:48 am

    Good for them for keeping the industry going. It’s a great Barbadian heritage.


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