1998-99 Garfield B. Thomas

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Born in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, Garfield B. Thomas received his early education at Bethlehem Practising School, Malvern, and secondary education at Manchester School, Mandeville. He obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Agriculture, earning the Canadian Governor General's Award for standing first in the graduating class, and a Master's Degree, from McGill University, Montreal. He worked with West Indies Sugar Company, Monymusk; was employed in Research and Development at Seagrams in Montreal, and at their Trelawny Estates in Jamaica; he was Field Manager at Seaforth Sugar & Rum, Serge Island, and Agricultural Manager at Alpart Farms Jamaica, where he implemented one of the most diverse agricultural programmes.

In 1974, he and Judith founded Manchester Packers, pioneering the export of non-traditional Jamaican agricultural products, and receiving many local and international awards, including being elected to Honorary Membership of the Jamaica Society of Agricultural Sciences in recognition of "his vigorous promotion of small farmer production for export and outstanding contribution to export agriculture, especially non-traditional crops."

He is Founder and Managing Director of Agricultural Managers and Consultants Ltd., a member of the Management Committee of the Ebony Park HEART Academy for Agricultural Skills, and a Vice President of the Manchester Health Trust.

Garfield is a Justice of the Peace and Lay Magistrate, and was President of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce for four terms, receiving their award for outstanding leadership and service.

A member of the Rotary Club of Mandeville since 1981, and President for the years 1987/88 and 1993/94, Garfield has twenty-three years of perfect attendance. He was District Governor's Special Representative for the formation of the Rotary Club of May Pen in 1990, and Governor's Group Representative for the five clubs of Central Jamaica in 1995/96 and 1996/97. In 1995 he was the first recipient of the Charlie Braham Achievement Award from the Rotary Club of Kingston.

In 2001-2002 he was District Chairman for Community Service; 2002-2003 and 2004-2005 he was District Chairman for Membership Development & Extension; 2003-2004 he was Zone 34 Coordinator for Poverty Alleviation.

Garfield and Judith are both multiple Paul Harris Fellows, Major Donors to The Rotary Foundation, and Rotary Foundation Benefactors; they have attended seventeen District Conferences and sixteen International Conventions.

They have two sons - Paul who is Validation Manager for NortelNetworks based in Texas, U.S.A., and Robert, who has two children, is a Bio-Technologist and is Production Manager at Technituber, a research arm of the Pepsico Company, in Moss Vale, New South Wales, Australia.

Achievements as District Governor (1998-99):

- Introduction of PowerPoint as teaching aid at PETS
- First Rotary Foundation Seminar at District Conference
- 96% Club participation in District Conference
- District Foundation Banquet in Jamaica attended by Rotary International President Jim Lacy with 43 Paul Harris Fellowships awarded
- Support for the Foundation reached all-time high
- Rotary Foundation Grants at all-time high
- Accent on New Generations Programme with inaugural District-wide RYLA residential seminar; inaugural District-wide Interact Assembly and Conference, and inaugural District-wide Rotaract Assembly and Conference
- Initiated District-wide support for children's school-feeding programme in Haiti
- Record number of scholarships awarded
- Introduction of District website
- District with highest membership increase in Zones 33 & 34 with a record five new clubs, including one on a new island (St.John's USVI), earning Director's Recognition Award and RI President's Membership Development and Extension Award.
- RI President's Presidential Citation Award and Appreciation of Service Award.