Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Deputy Leader and North East Manchester MP, Mr. Audley Shaw said he is saddened at the passing of former Minister, Member of Parliament and Farmer William George “Billy” McLaren, 84. He also extended condolences to Mr. McLaren's family.
Mr. McLaren who has been ailing for some time passed away this morning overseas.
Mr. Shaw said that, “Billy was a good Manchester man who was well loved by the people of North East Manchester and many others in and outside Jamaica. He grew up in Coleyville and was at one point Jamaica’s largest Irish Potato farmer producing hundreds of tonnes of potatoes per year. He also served the people of Jamaica as a Member of Parliament from 1967 to 1976 and Minister of Rural Lands under the JLP government from 1967 to 1972. He worked tirelessly for the people and always maintained very personable relations. He will be greatly missed.”
Mr. McLaren was appointed head of the Christiana Area Land Authority by Prime Minister Alexander Bustamante in 1962. During his tenure in five years the Authority over-performed on everything in domestic food crop with Irish potatoes production moving from 4,000 tonnes to 28,000 tonnes in four years. While Minister of Rural Lands Mr. McLaren established 13 new land authorities, besides the Christiana one already in existence.
Mr. Shaw said that Mr. McLaren’s contribution to national development and more so agriculture should never be forgotten. He also noted Mr. McLaren's contributions to the development of Jamaica's Diaspora.
Mr. McLaren was conferred with the Order of Distinction, Commander class, by the Governor–General on the advice of Prime Minister of Jamaica Bruce Golding in 2008.