Black Immigrant Daily News
Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Pearnel Charles Jr, has come out in defence of being the recipient of a recent award from the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) for outstanding contribution to the sector.
This was after stinging criticisms from some Twitter users on Saturday after a media practitioner shared a photograph of both Charles Jr and his State Minister, Franklin Witter, posing with the awards.
In captioning the photograph on his Instagram account, Charles Jr said: “I am humbled to receive this award from the Rural Agricultural Development Authority, one of our agencies under the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, in acknowledgement of outstanding contributions to the industry for 2022.
“I am particularly honoured to receive this acknowledgement alongside my State Minister, the Hon Franklin Witter,” he wrote.
The minister said it was his “pleasure” to serve the ministry during such a critical era when food security is at the centre of all conversations.
“The award came as a genuine surprise, but I am deeply honoured and motivated to continue the good work as we improve efficiency and productivity in the sector with the aim of establishing food security,” he concluded.
RADA also posted photographs on Wednesday with both ministers being honoured.
“RADA Board and Management made presentations to the Hon Pearnel Charles Jr, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, and Hon Franklin Witter, Minister of State, on the occasion of their first year in office,” the agency stated.
On Saturday, journalist Damion Mitchell took to Twitter to seemingly question the honour that was bestowed on Charles Jr.
“I have a dozen questions about this post by the Agriculture Minister @pcharlesjr, but I will just let this image rest here for a while, go read the story of Napoleon (Bonaparte) crowning himself king, and then circle back,” tweeted Mitchell.
In response to those remarks, Charles Jr said that “interpretation is far, far, far from my intention”.
He then outlined what he said were some “interesting facts”, to counter negatives which he said spread easily.
Pearnel Charles Jr
“Here are the top three things for this week (yes, just one week) that are worth retweeting:
“1. With our RADA team, we celebrated the RADA certification in ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Systems Management. A huge step forward in driving production through efficiency.
“This is a critical international standard that provides a framework for improving quality in service delivery and enhance capabilities. Big!
“2. With our RADA team, we opened the new $110 million RADA parish office in Hanover to provide a better working environment for our RADA team and suitable space for farmers to be engaged.
“3. With our RADA team, we opened two farm roads valued (at) over $17 million to provide ease of access for farmers and residents in Back Street and Grass Piece in Manchester, as well as surrounding communities.
“Also noteworthy is that the Government has seen this year, through the hard work of our RADA team and farmers/fishers, three consecutive quarters of growth in the sector, with the last being 17.4%.
“This now makes six consecutive quarters of growth,” stated Charles Jr.
Despite the clarification, criticisms of the minister’s formal recognition by RADA came.
Twitter user, @JahCess, commented: “As my granny would say, ‘self-praise is no recommendation’”.
To that remark, Charles Jr responded: “You do know we did not award ourselves right????? This was actually a surprise at an event where RADA was being ISO certified.
“Since I brought it up…. The ISO certification is a huge step forward in driving production through efficiency. This is a critical international standard that provides a framework for improving quality in service delivery and enhance capabilities. Big!” he shared.
Twitter user, @JackJacstrap, countered: “You cannot be in charge and award yourself. It doesn’t look good”.
Charles Jr responded, arguing that those comments were irresponsible.
“Your reply shows how irresponsible the initial quote and twist out on this is, because it gives you the impression that we are awarding ourselves.
“Do not be dragged down that path. It is false and intentional,” the minister insisted.
@ShariSmikle tweeted: “Honestly, what has been Minister Charles’ achievements since he became Agriculture Minister?”
In outlining some of accomplishments since becoming minister in January of this year, Charles Jr told the social media user that RADA has “provided increased technical support to our farmers, which resulted not only in increased production, but competitive pricing of their produce.
“Also, the ministry continues to boost production with the provision of $1.07 billion under the Production Incentive Programme.
“Launch of the Agricultural Food Safety Manual for Tourism Suppliers (with Mot) – one of our tireless efforts to boost the agriculture and fisheries sector – to create jobs and introduce our farmers and fishers to new markets.
“OK… let’s get a good list together and get back to you soon. And note…, most of the above are in the last two months (outside of the general yearly figures quoted),” replied Charles Jr.
Another social media user, @dentonna22, was unconvinced by the minister’s outline of his achievements.
“So all of that caused them to award you? You guys are so blind to what governance is, you draw for ‘awards’ from the same ppl (people) you place on (the) board. Do you know all you wrote about is (really) doing the job we pay you for?” the individual asked.
Charles Jr again sought to bring clarity to the development.
“My understanding is that it was a show of appreciation for the leadership given, and efforts made to get the job done.
“And yes, I know we signed up for it, but we all have been working tirelessly in tough times and it is good to know it is appreciated. Big up RADA every time,” wrote Charles Jr.
Amid the criticisms, there were those who took no issue with the recognition of the minister.
“I understand that’s his job. Bt (but) in JA, when a minister is doing their job, we should commend them,” tweeted @Cher_da_Baddest.
She added: “We always cuss when they don’t do their jobs, so we can uplift those who do theirs, with hopes of pushing those who don’t. In most workplaces, when a worker does well, they r (are) rewarded.”
Tweeted @urworldurhealth: “Congratulations @pcharlesjr! Continue working for Jamaica #JamaicaFirst.
“Ignore those persons who worship at the altar of negativism. They are accustomed to failure and at best mediocrity.”
@GerroKing tweeted: “… He’s (Charles Jr) doing a good job, so it (the award is) deserved”.
Commendations for the agriculture and fisheries minister also extended to his Instagram page.
“Congratulations minister! Your heart for our people is evident in your passion and dedication to transform lives through sustainability and general impact,” wrote Instagrammer, jacqueltucker73.
“Congrats to both @official_frank_witter and @pcharlesjr for your leadership. Hats off to @radajm for good work done in this year,” said mrclarendon.