STAR Salute : Delroy Anderson, Clarke’s Town’s Mr Sugar
When the Long Pond Sugar Estate was the epicentre of the economic life of Clark's Town, Trelawny, renowned cane farmer Delroy Anderson, who served as an overseer at the factory for many years, was one of the foremost voices.
Today, while the future of the Long Pond factory is steeped in uncertainty and the influence of sugar stakeholders has significantly diminished, the experienced Anderson remains a much-respected member of the community, whose words carry significant weight.
"I grew up on the estate, so when I left school, I naturally got involved in sugar," said Anderson. "My father had decided to send me to England, but I said no, I am going to stay here ... I really liked life on the estate."
Despite being a past student of Kingston College, Anderson believes his truest education came from his time spent on the sugar estate, where his father once served in a managerial position.
"My father was the estate 'Busha', so that is why they (people) have ended up calling me that now," said Anderson. "I enjoy working in sugar cane, it was like a university. We learnt from the different varieties of cane; you learn what to plant, how to fertilise, what to do to get a good yield, and also to get good juice. It was a wonderful experience, and anybody will tell you that once you work on a sugar plantation, you are very experienced."
Today, Anderson is battling ill health and walks with crutches, but until recently, he was still in the top leadership of the Long Pond Cane Farmers Association, an organisation in which he served as chairman for 15 years.
Despite his health challenges, Anderson continues to operate a farm store, which is strategically located in the Clark's Town square. At one time, he also operated a gas station in the community.
While the new generation of youngsters in Clark's Town holds Anderson in high esteem, seeing him as an iconic figure who exemplified the kind of success they would like to attain in their lives, he is worried that unless a quick fix is found for the problem in sugar, the youngsters might not get the kind of opportunities he got to make something of their lives.
"Right now we have canes lining the place, uncut, and we don't know who is going to take them from us," said Anderson. "We are in limbo at the moment, and the farmers are really cut up with the management structure. The town here is suffering ... I didn't know I would live to see a situation like this."