Agriculturalist Laurie passes on
THE MAN whose name had become synonymous with agriculture in Barbados has died.
Keith Laurie succumbed to pancreatic cancer, like his cousin, former Prime Minister David Thompson, yesterday. He was 81.
Laurie, who led the fight for greater recognition for the island’s Black Belly sheep as prime mutton, and who encouraged people to see the giant African snail as food and not just a pest, is survived by his wife Marina and three children.
He was a past president of the Barbados National Trust, a former senator and a consultant to a number of international agricultural entities, including the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture.
Dr Karl Watson, who paid tribute to Laurie’s “searching mind”, said the agriculturalist had made a sterling contribution to the Barbados National Trust but his real passion was the environment.
“I have always found that he had a searching mind and a curiosity about the world in general. I thoroughly enjoyed his conversations, especially his conservations whenever he saw something he did not like happening in the environment,” Watson said.
The current president of the National Trust further called Laurie “a repository” of an enormous amount of knowledge relating not only to the local sugar industry, but to the industry in the region.
“He was passionate about the Black Belly sheep and he led the way in standardising the breed and sensitising the public that Black Belly mutton was just as good as [international] mutton.”
In addition, Watson said Laurie was an avid supporter of Arbor Day and Clean-Up Barbados celebrations.
“He loved his island and that love expressed itself in a variety of ways. We will sorely miss his counsel in the National Trust. He was one of those gregarious people who was well liked by everyone.” (HLE)