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Francis to be laid to rest today

Francis to be laid to rest today


Former Agricultural Officer Emanuel Francis will be laid to rest this afternoon.

Francis, who died at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital on January 4, 2011, after a brief illness, was 84 years old.{{more}}

The funeral service will take place at the Kingstown Seventh Day Adventist Church, beginning at 2:30 p.m.

Francis, who resided at Queen’s Drive at the time of his death, spent 32 years as a member of staff of the Ministry of Agriculture, having started as a probationary worker on September 16, 1945. He first took up duties as foreman of the Botanic Gardens, at a salary of $30.00 per month.

On 1st March 1946, Emanuel was among 8 candidates selected by the Department of Agriculture to inaugurate the Agricultural Apprenticeship Training Course at Camden Park Experiment Station. He successfully completed this course, in first position, at end of March 1947, and was awarded a Certificate in Agriculture.

Emanuel was then employed permanently in the Department of Agriculture, as an Agricultural Instructor in the Park Hill/New Adelphi area of the North Windward District, at a salary of $60.00 per month.

On 1st July 1947, Emanuel was transferred to Leeward Land Settlement Estates, as Assistant Manager, at a salary of $80.00 per month.

He next took up an appointment as Livestock Overseer at the Camden Park Experimental Station; he, however, kept up a persistent appeal for a transfer to the Park Hill/Three Rivers district, as Agricultural Instructor. This request was granted in May 1954.

Emanuel was promoted to Senior Agricultural Instructor in the Three Rivers district in 1956, and in September 1957, was sent to the Eastern Caribbean Farm Institute (ECFI) in Trinidad, to pursue a 2-year diploma course in Agriculture. The course finished in June 1959 and Emanuel was successful in getting the Diploma in Agriculture, with distinction in Crop Husbandry.

In 1962, Emanuel was selected to pursue further training in Agricultural Extension in the USA. He left home in May, on a six month assignment, which took him on short courses to Cornell University in New York; the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois; the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri; and 3 of the 6 months at the Berkeley and Davis campuses of the University of California. He returned to St. Vincent end of November 1962. This trip is considered as the high-light of his entire Agricultural Career and much experience and knowledge were gained. A 2000 mile trip through the entire state of California, to observe practical extension methods, which took three weeks by a University bus, was most rewarding. Also, living with a farm family in Biggs County, Northern California for 2 weeks was another highlight.

Soon after his return home, Emanuel was selected for further training in March 1963. This trip took him to Costa Rica and Jamaica for a period of 6 weeks, to undertake courses in Rural Youth Leadership. Later that year he was made 4-H Organizer, on an islandwide basis, within the Ministry of Agriculture, where he was promoted to the Agricultural Assistant grade. Emanuel worked as 4-H organizer from 1963 to 1968, traveling throughout the island, organizing and supervising clubs, and taking the 4-H movement to where it received national recognition and its own allocation in the Government’s estimates. International recognition and affiliation were also obtained, which commenced bringing in financial support for the movement from overseas. Emanuel made another trip to Jamaica in 1965, taking 4-Hers to an international competition.

The year 1971 brought a transfer of Emanuel over to the Arrowroot Association as Field Officer for one year, to assist in the revival of the Arrowroot Industry. He was very instrumental in bringing back the 225 acres of arrowroot, left abandoned by Basil Balcombe at Langley Park, into cultivation again. In addition to this, many small farmers at Owia and Sandy Bay were assisted in replanting their fields. Peters Hope Estate planted approximately 30 acres and the industry moved that year from 6,500 barrels of starch to 8,000 barrels. He also started the ball rolling for the erection of a new arrowroot factory at Owia, by writing up a preliminary project and sending copies to the various agencies. This took a full decade, however, before the factory was finally commissioned to grind arrowroot.

After returning to the Ministry of Agriculture from the Arrowroot Association, Emanuel was placed as Agricultural Assistant in the Buccament Valley. Emanuel was promoted to the grade of Agricultural Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture in 1976 and placed to supervise the windward area. In 1977, however, he was appointed Executive Secretary to the National Exhibition ’77 Committee. This was a great challenge and maybe the biggest and last assignment ever given to him in the Ministry. The Exhibition was a tremendous success, but two weeks later in September, Emanuel retired from the civil Service at the age of 51 years. A gratuity of some $16,000 was received, and a pension of $380.00 per month was paid him for that time.

From the date of Emanuel’s first appointment to the then Department of Agriculture, on 16th September 1945, to the time of his early retirement, 15th September 1977, was a period of exactly 32 years; however, a period of approximately 1 year and 3 months was spent at Mt. Bentinck Estates.

Asked what was considered to be the most rewarding period of his service in the Ministry of Agriculture, the reply was “most definitely the years 1963 to 68, when I worked with the 4-H movement”.

His influence on the young people whom he motivated was most rewarding; even years later, as he met many of those persons in prominent positions in the country, they would take time off to tell him of their youthful experiences.

Emanuel Francis was born in Park Hill, on September 4, 1926, to a family of 12 children. Before joining the Ministry of Agriculture, he worked as a teacher, having passed the first, second and third-year Pupil Teachers’ exams.

He married the former Noreen Gonsalves in July 1947, and together they had 10 children, among them Minister of Transport and Works Julian Francis, Engineers Elroy and Bradley Francis, Land Surveyors Silvanus and Keith Francis, Banker Joan Daniel and Lecturer at the Community College Sharon Hadaway.