Profile Of Hon Calixte George
Calixte George was born in St. Lucia and had his early education at the Roman Catholic Boys School before attending the premier Secondary School on the island - St. Mary’s College. He graduated from St. Mary’s in 1958, having attained both the Cambridge School Certificates Div. 1 and Cambridge University Higher School Certificate. At the Cambridge School Certificate level he obtained distinctions in Chemistry, Botany and Mathematics and became the first student to gain three (3) distinctions in Science subjects at one sitting. At the Higher School Certificate level he concentrated on Science-based subjects and was among the first group of St. Lucian students to pass three Science Subjects – Chemistry, Botany and Zoology in 1958.
From an early age the young George had acquired skills for the science-based subjects and he continued further education at the University of the West Indies, Trinidad where he graduated in 1963 gaining a B.Sc. (Agric) with General Honors. In 1964 he entered the University of Reading in London and attained a M.Agr. Sc in Soil Science with specialty in Soil Chemistry.
Between the years 1972-1999, Mr. George pursued a number of additional courses among which were: Land Use Planning, Project Preparation and Analysis, Food Systems Development/Economic Analysis of Agricultural Projects, Farming Systems Research and Development; Programme Evaluation; Monitoring and Evaluation of Agricultural Research, Strategic Planning and Research Management, and Utility Reform Management from a wide range of institutions, such as ODA-Directorate of Overseas Surveys United Kingdom, Clapp and Mayne Inc.; Universities of Florida and Minnesota, and the Adam Smith Institute.
Mr. George started his working career as a Junior Science Master at St. Mary’s College in the year 1959. From there he worked for 2 years before proceeding to further his studies at University level. He then worked as an Agronomist at Windward Islands Banana Research. Later he joined the Ministry of Agriculture where he served as Research Officer and on occasions as Chief Agricultural Officer.
In 1979 he joined the regional organization Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) as the Head of the local Unit. Then in 1988, he was made Project Manager of the CARDI/USAID Farming Systems Research and Development Project and had responsibility for all the OECS countries. He also served in the capacity as Deputy Executive Director and from 1990-1993, the Executive Director of CARDI, having to relocate at Headquarters in Trinidad. Upon leaving CARDI Mr. George worked as the Managing Director of St. Lucia Banana Growers Association, Tempere Estate, and Alvan Estate in St. Lucia.
Mr. George has always kept abreast with the political directorate and the politics in St. Lucia and as such, it was in 1979 that he became the President of the Senate under the leadership of the St. Lucia Labour Party. Through this medium he was made the Minister of Communications, Works, Transport and Public Utilities for the period 1997-2001. It was under his tenure that St. Lucia and the other OECS countries saw a turn to liberalization of the Telecommunications Industry in these countries. He was unanimously elected to serve as Chairman of the Ministers responsible for Telecommunications for two consecutive terms.
In 2001, when the Labour party won for the second time, Mr. George was made the new Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. With his wealth of knowledge and experience in that field, he brought new perspective into that Ministry and sought to bring about a revival of the declining Banana Industry. He also directed his energies towards the development of a long term Agricultural Development Policy and provided strategic approaches to the revitalization of the Agricultural Industry. Unfortunately, after a cabinet reshuffle in early 2004 George was transferred from Agriculture to the new Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security, a ministry that embraces the Police, Prison and Immigration.
Mr. George has served on the board of a number of professional, as well as non professional organizations, such as the National Commission for UNESCO, Technical Advisory Committee of the OECS Agricultural Diversification Unit, the Caribbean Food Crops Society and International Root Crop Society, Chief negotiator, OECS Telecommunications Reform; Member - Board of Governors, CARDI; Chairman - Board of Governors, CARDI; Panel member, Agricultural Science Panel CXC, Commissioner - Land Reform Commission, St. Lucia; St. Lucia Civil Service Association just to name a few.
Mr. George has also published a number of scientific papers on subjects such as “The Sustainability of Soils for Vegetable Production in St. Lucia” (MOA, 1969); Science and Technology in the Caribbean, (UNESCO 1992). He has also attended a wide range of Conferences and meetings in the Caribbean region as well as other parts of the world including USA, UK, the Hague, Netherlands, Hungary, Malta, and China.
Mr. George is married to Mrs. Alvina George, a Home Economist and past tutor at St. Joseph’s Convent – they have five children.
July 15, 2004
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