Bassy - Love Vine
November 6, 2009
It takes more dan academics

Time and time again ah does tell dem fellars dat in my book, dis country was built by ah special group ah people, who by strange coincidence, never got ah break at school, not even ah shot at Secondary school much less University. Check out what level ah education dat was attained by de founding fathers ah Bonadie, Greaves, P.H. Veira, Singer Veira, De Nobriga, Trotman’s, Val-U , Reddock, Gonsalves Liquors, Jax, Lickle Man O.T. Randy and lots more. De only certificate dem had was dey Birth Certificate.{{more}}

I think of Henry Gaymes who had to drop out ah Timmy’s school at Form 3 because his single parent mother, didn’t have de twelve dollars to pay his school fees. Dah same Henry later became de Director of Finance, de highest post in de Public Service. I think also of Clarence Keizer, who like Henry, his single parent mother, couldn’t afford to keep him in school, so he too had to leave Timmy’s school at Form 3 to go wuk to mind heself and he mother.

Clarence passed away quietly at his home on Monday. Ah remembered him when ah was ah youth doing my Christmas job in 1955 as Cash Boy at United Traders Ltd. Traders was owned by de rich white folks of de day and Keizer was ah young man den, one of “two lickle black boys” Clarence and Sonny Derrick who ran de Customs and Shipping department. It is felt dat his experience and expertise in Shipping and Customs wuk landed him a coveted break at Geest, de Banana magnate of de 20th century. Banana was de life blood ah de islands and Geest held de trump card, he controlled de only market in England and de ships to transport de Bananas. When de English manager, Mr Box returned to de UK, Keizer became manager. Just fancy dat, “de lickle black boy” who couldn’t finish secondary school because ah poverty, never got ah Subject, no Degree, was now de head of ah British Firm dat was in control of de biggest industry dis country and indeed de Windward Islands had/have ever seen. Keizer had to be highly regarded and respected by de British to be entrusted wid such ah prestigious position. De trade union movement was hostile in dem days but Clarence was respected and loved by all, wukers as well as de Trade Union bosses, ask de Cross-Buns.

Ah came in contact again wid manager Keizer when ah was trying to get ah job on one ah de Geest boats. He was on de ship’s bridge having tea wid de captain when ah went foh ah interview. Ah remember him putting in ah word foh me, telling de captian dat ah was ah good chap, but dey was no vacancy.

In de game of life Clarence played his cards well and won de heart of one Norma Ince-Keizer, one ah SVG’s great Scholars and Educators, Lie-Za say is Norma who played de master card and won Clarence. Well some winning took place, and de takings was great, three lovely daughters genetically blessed with dad’s wisdom and mom’s scholarship. No mistake about it Clarence Keizer made ah sterling contribution to dis nation.


Is like death wants to mek sure ah feel its sting. Last month it was my Mom and good friend Calvin Nicholls, this month it is my wife’s aunt, “Tanty Madeline”. She, like my wife is humble territory people. Ah poor lady whose husband died years ago, dey had no kids so she took a likeness to her nieces and nephews. Whenever she come spend time, she brought ah spirit ah energy in de house and she also brought along her groceries, her bread, milk, sugar etc. nobody could change dat, ah very independent and organized person. Over de last couple ah years when she made ah few trips to de Hospital, we figured dat all was not well. She too sensed what was coming and started to prepare foh de other side. When de end was inevitable, she produced her burial outfit, her Bun Pan Book, her Funeral songs and so on. Tears came to my eyes when my wife was relaying de story dat all d’s years Tanty Madeline had secured her wedding outfit, de dress, hat, stockings, gloves are as new as her wedding day, Her final request is dat she wants to be buried in her wedding outfit. And best of all she wants to be buried wid her wristwatch on her hand. Ah guess she wants to time de journey over to de Promise Land, St Peter might not approve but Heaven will be having ah wedding, and Tanty will be dressed foh it!


Will somebody tell Jomo Thomas to save his breath, Dis Ref-ah-run-dem is more dan ah Riff-around-dem to Gonsalves and Campbell and now Reverendum Job. And Jomo, secretary ah de PNC is right, put off de voting till after de elections, but in de meantime get ah team ah Constitution Experts, Rampal and two more to listen to de claims ah both sides and thrash out all de differences and bring back ah document dat de words “Vote No” will no longer be an option. Dey’s too much pull-it-tek-all hostility surrounding dis Doc-yuh-mint dat is suppose to be ah guiding light foh de way forward. And dey’s too much money being badly spent on de Vote Yes calm- pain, its now four million plus thirty million, man it borders corruption. And wid dat is gone ah gone again.

One Love Bassy

Bassy Alexander is a land surveyor, folklorist and social commentator.