Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Noel Arscott, has expressed “a profound sense of shock, sadness and loss” at the unexpected passing of the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Hon. Roger Clarke. Mr. Clarke died on August 27, 2014. He was 74.
While he is widely associated with his first love, Agriculture, which he served as Minister for over twelve years, the Hon. Roger Clarke also headed the Ministry of Local Government and Works for three years, between 1995 and 1998. One of the signal achievements of his time of office was the creation of the Parochial Revenue Fund in 1996, which transformed the means by which parochial roads are maintained and rehabilitated through a dedicated percentage (66 & 2/3%) of revenue from all motor vehicle licence fees.
Mr. Clarke started his career as an official in Local Government in 1986, when he was elected Councillor for the Balaclava Division in St. Elizabeth, and was nominated Mayor of Black River and Chairman of the St. Elizabeth Parish Council. He was subsequently re-elected in the 1990 Local Government Election, continued as Mayor, and served a four year period as President of the Association of Local Government Authorities, from 1988 to 1991.
At the Parliamentary level, he gave twenty-three years of unbroken service as a Member of the House of Representatives from 1991 to his passing, in both St. Elizabeth and in his home parish, Westmoreland.
In a statement today, Minister Arscott declared “We already miss his hard work, his insightful interventions at the policy, parliamentary and political levels and his jovial and infectious spirit. On behalf of the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, I salute the Honourable Roger Clarke, with the knowledge that every wave of sadness we feel is tempered by the certain knowledge that Jamaica is a far better place, because of his unstinting service as a public servant and entrepreneur.”