April 23, 2021

Pesticide-handling course in Cayman Islands completed

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group_1448Though only four-months in the business of pesticide application, Randy Ebanks of Pestkill Ltd. was the top graduate of a recent training programme to educate workers on pesticide safety.

On Monday, 10 October 2016, officials recognised Mr. Ebanks, as well as 17 other participants, at a closing-ceremony for the one-week course on the safe use and handling of pesticides.

Thanking the organisers, Mr. Ebanks noted, “My company’s training covers most everything we completed on this training course, but it was good to learn more about pesticide handling and safety; especially the appropriate use of protective equipment.”

top-student_1440Congratulating everyone involved, Department of Agriculture (DoA) Assistant Director Brian Crichlow said participants were “very focussed, and absorbed the course material well.”

Topics covered during training included: appropriate selection of pesticides, safety and protection, toxicity, as well as minimising chemical exposure and impact on the environment.

Participants were drawn from local landscapers, pest-control companies and participants-cake_1451Government agencies. They attended lectures and formed working groups to create practical field projects on the subject. Each person also received their own pesticide management reference manuals.

Emphasising the safety of workers, the public and the environment, Mr. Crichlow noted that, “in the absence of appropriate legislation and regulation, education is our best tool.”

duo-doa_1442DoA’s Plant Protection Officer Joan Steer coordinated the course, with assistance from Scientific Assistant (Crop Protection) Shariffa Chantilope-Zelaya. Presentations were also made by several other DoA staff, as well as officials from the Department of Environmental Health and the Health Services Authority.

“Hectic and intense” is how Mrs. Steer described the training. “Even so, this will now allow students to carry out their work with more confidence.” She thanked them for their “excellent participation – which was reflected in the testing”, and expressed appreciation to the respective employers for allowing them time to attend the training.

All 18 of the participants passed the practical exams. The majority, based on their combined practical and written exam scores, gained merit- or distinction-level DoA certificates.

The new cohort brings to more than 150 the number of persons who have completed this pesticide training course over the years. Successful participants also go on to share the knowledge and techniques that they have gained from the course with their colleagues in various agencies and private companies.

Recognising the challenges faced by farmers and farm hands in attending the week long annual course, two months ago the DoA launched a new initiative to deliver on-farm ‘training interventions’ in pesticide use and application, in addition to their regular field monitoring and advice.

This practical training on pesticide use and application is designed for farmers, farm hands and backyard gardeners. So far, hands-on sessions have been held for17 staff from five farms in the Bodden Town area. Other farms and districts will soon be added to the programme.

GIS Editor’s Note: Last week at UCCI various academics and practitioners have gathered to look at the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields and their relationship to the development of the Cayman Islands.
This pesticide training course offers an excellent practical example of how STEM applies to the career and education choices that people make, as well as how the significant role that these subjects play in our everyday lives.

Credits: Information Officer Lennon Christian

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