Four students from the parishes of St. Ann and Manchester are this year’s recipients of the Rio Tinto/Alcan Legacy Fund Agriculture Scholarship.
The students, who are pursuing studies at the Portland-based College of Agriculture Science and Education (CASE), are Tomai McLean; Celine Sitladeen; Daunja Galloway and Vanessa McMurrine.
The awards, totalling more than $2.7 million, cover the cost of tuition, boarding, meals, among other education-related expenses.
Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Audley Shaw, congratulated the scholarship recipients in his address at the handover ceremony held at the Ministry’s Maxfield Avenue offices in St. Andrew on October 13.
He charged the students, as they proceed in their studies and eventual careers, to “forge strategic partnerships with larger ecosystem players to find innovative ways to contribute to the advancement of agriculture, particularly through the rehabilitation of mined-out bauxite lands. An incredible gem lies here, and it would be irresponsible not to capitalise on the opportunities”.
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Minister Shaw said that the scholarship programme underscores the commitment of the Ministry and the Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI) to enhancing bauxite communities through the productive use of mined-out bauxite lands.
“The relationship between mining and farming should be a strong one, especially in a country such as Jamaica where the two disciplines are so intrinsically linked to our economic well-being,” the Minister noted.
Chairman of the Rio Tinto/Alcan Legacy Fund Board, Sherene Golding Campbell, said she is pleased that the Fund is achieving its mandate and providing assistance to those in need.
“I hope that we might see one or two of you in future years,” she told the students. “The Fund is strong; it’s doing well, and we are very, very pleased that it can do the work that it was set out to do, which is to benefit agriculture education in those select parishes and also to provide loan guarantees to small and micro farmers,” she said.
Expressing thanks on behalf of the recipients, Tamoi McLean said the initiative has greatly changed their lives and “enabled what would have seemed impossible”.
The Rio Tinto/Alcan Legacy Fund agriculture scholarship is offered to students who live in the parishes of St. Catherine, St. Ann and Manchester.
These include high-school pupils in grades nine to 13 and those who matriculate for programmes in agriculture and agriculture-related disciplines at the College of Agriculture Science and Education (CASE), University of the West Indies (UWI) and other approved institutions.
The targeted parishes are the areas where the entity’s bauxite mining and alumina refining operations were located for 59 years, prior to the conclusion of its local engagements in 2001.
The scholarship programme, which is financed through the Rio Tinto/Alcan Legacy Fund, managed by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), is intended to promote social development activities by investing in the recipients’ skills training and advancement.
Source: Four CASE Students Get Rio Tinto/Alcan Legacy Fund Agriculture Scholarship as published on the Jamaica Information Service.