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Sugar industry players welcome new SIA boss

Published:Monday | January 5, 2015 | 6:30 PMMark Titus

While praising the contribution of outgoing Sugar Industry Authority (SIA) boss, Ambassador Derrick Heaven, local industry experts are expressing optimism that new chief executive officer (CEO) George Callaghan will be a success during his tenure.

"I would be hard pressed to find anyone more qualified for that position in the industry. George has the appropriate training and has worked at the factory level, served as secretary of the All-Jamaica Cane Farmers Association, and has done tremendous work as head of the Sugar Transformation Unit (STU). So he is well endued with the tools needed for him to lead the entity in this time," said Allan Rickards, president of the All-Island Jamaica Cane Farmers Association (AIJCFA).

"What he needs now is the fortitude to be impartial in terms of his administration and building on Ambassador Heaven's greatest achievement which is to have a constructive and positive relationship between factories and farmers."


Rickards added: "Derrick Heaven is par excellence, and I do hope the minister will utilise him in the upcoming vital negotiations regarding the new sugar regime in Europe."

The departure of Heaven, one of the most respected voices in sugar on the global stage, opens the door for significant changes in the leadership of local sugar as the post of executive chairman, which Heaven held for the past 11 years, has been split into two offices, with Callaghan as the CEO.

Several changes have already been effected, including a shift in responsibilities from the Sugar Industry Research Institute to the AIJCFA, which will become an executive entity.

"He (Callaghan) is certainly no Derrick Heaven, and you don't have too many Derrick Heavens," Karl James, general manager of Jamaica Cane Product Sales, told The Gleaner yesterday.

"In fact, Jamaica was privileged to have Derrick as the executive chairman of the Sugar Industry when he came on, but George comes with solid credentials and knowledge of the local sugar industry, and it is expected that he will do well."

Heaven 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, He has also served as chairman of the International Sugar Organization.

Pan Caribbean Sugar Company (PCSC), through its local point man, Delroy Armstrong, also welcomed Callaghan's appointment, and said his firm hopes this new appointment would bring effective changes to the local industry.

The industry will name the new SIA chairman and his board by month end.