Author Archives: cslacey


The Gilbert Agricultural and Rural Development Center (GARD Center) held its 2017 Graduation Ceremony on Tuesday, 3 October 2017, at the Ebenezer Methodist Church Hall, St. Mary’s Street.
This Ceremony was to celebrate the European Union sponsored training programme, under the name, “Improving Opportunities for At-Risk, Probationary and Incarcerated Youth in Antigua and Barbuda” (YAR).
The ages of the youth trained range from 16 – 35 years.  Fifty six (56) students graduated from this programme.  Eight from Agricultural Enterprise; fifteen from Information Communication Technology and thirty-three from Office Administration.
Fifty-three (53)% of these young people have been awarded Internships and fifteen (15) have gained Joyce and Sherma at Graduation-3October2017employment.  The GARD Center wishes to sincerely thank all of our Business Partners who assisted us with Internships and Job Placement during Cohort 1, and we look forward to your continued support.
Special thanks to everyone who participated in our Graduation Ceremony and contributed to its success.

European Union (EU) sponsored – ICT Course

Want to advance your knowledge in ICT?  The GARD Center caters to your needs.
Take our course in Information Communication Technology (ICT) and cover:Female computer tech

  • Parts of a computer
  • Microsoft Office
  • Basic Web design
  • Basic computer repair
  • Manipulating & maneuvering the web
  • Life Skills
  • Remedial Math
  • Remedial English

This course caters to youth between the ages of 17 – 35 years and runs for fourteen (14) weeks at the GARD Center in Mercers Creek, east of Pares Village.
These exciting sessions will run from 12 September – 15 December 2017, Tuesdays through Fridays from 9:00am to 3:30pm.
There is a non-refundable registration fee of $50.


Call 463-4121 / 562-0084

Apply Now and get a jump-start on your career goals.

Giving Tuesday, 29 November 2016

The Gilbert Agricultural and Rural Development Center (GARD Center) welcomes donations at anytime during the year.  Let us all Prepare to give a Special contribution to the Center this November, 2017.
However, ‘GIVING TUESDAY‘  is not only about collecting money. It is about awareness of the opportunity and need for organisations which work with individuals, families, and communities to unite in mission in this season.
Giving Tuesday is a response, started in 2012, to the commercialism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, a time to rally families and communities to assist worthy causes that meet human needs around the world. For United Methodists, it has become a time of designated mission giving through The Advance for Christ and His Church, which assures that every dollar goes to the ministries indicated by the donor.
Over the past three years, the General Board of Global Ministries and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) have matched designated Giving Tuesday gifts up to set levels.
The motivation for mission giving is mission itself.
We at the GARD Center wish to sincerely thank all of you who have contributed to the work carried out by the Center for the last 27 years.  We feel truly blessed to be able to serve our clientele throughout these years and as we celebrate under the theme:  27 Years: Positively Changing the Face of Youth At Risk, we ask that everyone continues to support the Center and encourage you to invite others to share in our success by reaching these Youth, who for whatever reason, may have fallen through the cracks.
GARD Center, empowering and giving our vulnerable youth a 2nd chance to strive for excellence for the betterment of Antigua and Barbuda.

Farm-to-Table 2017

The GARD Center is extremely pleased to have received sponsorship for this year’s Farm-to-Table fundraiser event.
Our principal sponsor for the 3rd annual Luncheon was the James and Maginley Charity & Care Foundation.  We welcomed their extended contribution to the Center this year, by donating cutlery and crockery to assist us with the up-scaling of this event.
Once again, this event was held under the auspices of the Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda, Sir Rodney Williams and Lady Williams, at the GARD Center’s Agro-Nature Park, Mercer’s Creek.
This year we had more Chefs, and Producers involved.  These people were responsible for the expanded and wider mouth-watering menu.
Sincere thanks and appreciation are given to the James and Maginley Charity & Care Foundation and to all of those who patronised this event.
We look forward to welcoming you to our 4th annual Farm-to-Table luncheon and invite you to bring a Friend.

GARD Center 3rd Annual Farm-to-Table Luncheon, Thank You

The 3rd Annual Farm-to-Table, was recently held under the auspices of the Governor General, Sir Rodney Williams and Lady Williams.
Farm-to-Table Group photo-20May2017
Roasted sizzling pork, cassava crusted layered Mahi Mahi, corn and coconut soup with croutons, Roots and scallop gratin and watermelon and cream cheese frosting cake with balsamic reduction…. Sounds intriguing to you? Well sorry you missed the 3rd Annual Farm to Table Benefit Luncheon on Saturday, 20 May, 2017 where over 200 exuberant guests supported this event under the sunny skies and the stately Casuarina and Neem trees.
The Chinese auction brought much excitement and laughs as the guests jumped to win the weekend for two at the Tamarind Hill Villas and the architectural drawings worth over $4000 from Mr. Curlson James (one the Center’s former graduates), of Rensol Construction and Associates Services Ltd.  As a result of this support, the programs and services of the GARD Center for vulnerable youth will get some of the needed funds to continue the technical vocational training opportunities for the many youth who have dropped out of school or who have done poorly academically. The staff and Board members of the GARD Center wish to sincerely say thank you to all the farmers, chefs, management of hotels and businesses who contributed to this event.
If you missed 2017 Farm-to-Table, start planning for 2018 it will be even better!

GARD Center says Thank You

The Gilbert Agricultural and Rural Development Center (GARD Center) wishes to thank everyone who has supported the Center over the past 26 years of its existence.
The Center wishes to extend a sincere Thank You, to those who have gone beyond the ‘call-of-duty’ to ensure that we are still able to train and assist the Youth of our twin-island state.
As we continue to strive throughout this year with our upcoming programmes which will focus on the training of Youth-at-Risk and Incarcerated Youth, that you will continue to assist whenever possible.
Have a truly blessed, healthy and productive 2017.

Congratulations to Our Recent Graduates

The GARD Center recently held a Graduation Ceremony, on Thursday, 8 December 2016, at the Methodist Church Hall, St. Mary’s Street.
77 graduates successfully completed their courses of study and received certificates in Information Communication Technology, Customer Service, Business Management and Yacht Maintenance.  4 from the ICT class, 17 from Business Management, 19 in Customer Service and 37 from Yacht Maintenance.
The ICT, Business Management and Customer Service trainees paid their own way to take these courses and deserve an extra nod of approval for making this step towards advancing their skills and knowledge in these difficult economic times but staying focused and seeing it through to the end.
This year our donor partners are the Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICAN) and the UK aid from the British people which all forms part of a larger project within the CARICOM Education for Employment (C-EFE) throughout the Caribbean.  Antigua and Barbuda form a part of a collation of three other Caribbean countries to achieve training in the Marine sector.  These countries are St. Lucia and Grenada of which St. Lucia is the lead country.  This project is managed by a publicly supported Canadian college called the Cegepe, which facilitated the development of a curriculum for the accreditation of YM program to be offered by the GARD Center.
The GARD Center and the National Training Agency (NTA) have always had a good working relationship and it is through the partnership with the NTA the Center was introduced to our donor partners in this Youth Skills Development Programme.  The NTA knowing the track record of the GARD Center recommended that we be the training facility to manage the programme, considering we had conducted several other training courses in Yacht Maintenance.
The Center also used this opportunity to recognise and honour 27 of our Tutors, who have volunteered and worked with us over the twenty-seven years of our existence.
The following is an email received from one of our esteemed Tutors, please read his comments.

I have admired the tremendous work that, over the years, the GARD Centre has produced and the wonderful successes that it has had in providing assistance to Antigua and Barbuda’s young people and especially for young women at risk.
In my view one of the most significant things about the GARD programmes, has been its holistic approach, in which it has addressed in its training, not only to the technical or business needs of its students, but also to the spiritual and human relations needs as well.  Sometimes, this has been at great cost to the staff in terms of playing a variety of supportive roles, not only as teachers, but as mentors, Big sisters, parents, financial advisers, legal counsel –  the list could go on almost indefinitely.  Most teaching organisations do not take such a comprehensive responsibility for their students’ success and development.
I have also to say that your vision, energy and drive have been so important to the successes of the GARD Centre. I was around enough during earlier times to know that trials and tribulations that you had to go through and the tenacity you displayed in getting the present building from Minister St Luce – you were like a bull dog – visiting Public Works every day to keep them from doing someone else’s bidding! 
It has been a privilege working with you and if and when you do decide to “retire”, I know that you can be proud of what you have accomplished and happy for all those young women and men whose lives have been enriched by their studies at The GARD Centre.  I truly hope that the Methodist Church also appreciates the enormous contribution the Centre has made to the nations youth and the Church’s ministry.
When I started this email/letter of acknowledgement, I did not intend to say all this, but we don’t often get the opportunity to talk these days, I think we both seem to be busier than ever and it seemed very good opportunity for me to express the pleasure and satisfaction that I have experienced in working with you and the Centre, watching it grow from strength to strength!

Food Safety Training Courses – Covering the What, Why, and Who!

Food Safety” is a complex issue that has an impact on all segments of society from the general public to government, industry and academia” (Bad Bug Book: Handbook of Foodborne Pathogenic microorganisms and natural toxins).
What is Food Safety?  Food safety involves the safe handling of food from production to consumption.  Since contamination of food is possible at any point in the food chain – at the farm/producer level to the consumer, procedures must be put in place to ensure that the food consumed is safe.
Why is Food Safety Important?  Food borne illnesses affect both the general public and at-risk populations (elderly, children, immuno-compromised persons for example).  Many events of food poisoning may go unreported.  These events may be mild while others may lead to death in vulnerable persons.  In theory, food poisoning is 100% preventable.
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP)
HACCP is a management system in which Food Safety is addressed through the analysis and control of biological, chemical and physical hazards from raw material production, procurement and handling to manufacturing, distribution and consumption of the finished product.
HACCP provides businesses with a cost effective system for control of Food Safety.  The preventive approach to HACCP not only improves Food Safety management but also complements other quality systems.
Any company involved in the manufacturing, processing or handling of food products can use HACCP to minimise or eliminate food safety hazards in their products.  HACCP is a legal requirement in many countries BUT WHEREVER IN THE WORLD, HACCP WILL BENEFIT YOUR BUSINESS.
The Gilbert Agricultural and Rural Development Center (GARD Center) now has the service of certified HACCP trainers and offers training in basic food safety techniques and in the principles of HACCP.  Help is now available to develop and implement your prerequisite programs and HACCP systems.
Saves your business money in the long run
Avoids you poisoning your customers
Food safety standards increase
Ensures that you are compliant (with the law)
Food quality standards increase
Organises your process to produce safe food
Organises your staff, promoting teamwork and efficiency
Due diligence defence in Court (Food Safety Authority of Ireland)

Global Entrepreneurship Week, 14 – 20 November 2016

Entrepreneurship Awareness Month, Antigua and Barbuda, November, 2016

Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda celebrates Global Entrepreneurship Week with the rest of the world!!!
This is the world’s largest celebration of innovators and job creators who have launched and those who will launch start-up businesses, which bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare.
The GARD Center continues its twelve (12) week Business Management Course, with emphasis this month on Global Entrepreneurship Week, 14 – 20 November 2016, and the benefits of the Global Entrepreneurship Network.  This course focuses on training Management Skills as an Entrepreneur.
A media blitz is planned to heighten awareness of Entrepreneurship to the wider public.  This starts on Saturday, 12 November, 2016.  The Center will appear on the much listened to:  Market Place radio programme, on Observer Radio, which targets Entrepreneurs and promotes their businesses.  GARD Center will continue to get the word out about the positives of Entrepreneurship.
On Tuesday, 15 November 2016, the Center will continue to highlight Entrepreneurship in Antigua and Barbuda on an ABS television discourse with budding young entrepreneurs, “Donut Ace.”  This will also be followed with an interactive talk-show on ZDK radio, which is hosted by a renown local interviewer.
The GARD Center will also be a part of the Agri-tech Extravaganza, sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture, on 16 & 17 November, at which it will have a booth to disseminate information to those interested in starting a business.  We will be promoting Entrepreneurship in Agriculture, through its diverse disciplines, such as, agro-processing, crop production, nursery management, livestock farming, etc.
The Center will continue to promote Entrepreneurship and its courses on its website and Facebook page.