‘Uncle Ernest’ still batting strong at  103
May 26, 2006

‘Uncle Ernest’ still batting strong at 103

Ernest “Uncle Ernest” OllivIerre is going to be 103 years old on May 30, and he is not planning on declaring his innings any time soon. The Paget Farm, Bequia resident sat down with SEARCHLIGHT on Monday, May 22, and reminisced a bit about times past and his life in general.

“The youths today have it so much easier,” said a still bubbly Ollivierre as he remembered some of his scary fishing exhibitions back in the times when there were no engines on fishing boats. “We had to row if we wanted to live through some of those waters, we had to row,” he said with a chuckle. {{more}}The former whaler and sailor recalled times when he would be on the seas all night, then journey to St. Vincent to sell his catch once it was a large enough haul. “Back then you really had to work for your dollar.”

Ernest told SEARCHLIGHT that although he had at least three close calls and several frightening incidents on the sea, he was never scared. He accredits this bravery to the fact that he was baptized into the life from a boy. “It was my life.” He believes that today’s generation must be thankful for the lives that they have now.

Ollivierre, the ninth of 11 children, told SEARCHLIGHT that one of the secrets to his long life is not allowing anything to stress him, and leaving everything to God. As he reflected on his life Olliverre said that he wished he didn’t live as wild as he did back in the days. “I was a real sweet man back then,” he declared still with a mischievous smile on his face, and his wife Margery nodding in confirmation. “He has children he didn’t get to know,” she interrupted.

Dexter, one of the six children Ollivierre has with his wife, a yacht captain by trade, said that he is impressed with the longevity of his father. “He remembers so much and is still so lively,” commented Dexter who jokingly wished that he could at least reach half of his father’s tally.

Trying to recall the number of children he had proved quite difficult until they agreed on 22, but there are those who believe that the count is closer to 28. “I used to be on the sea so wherever I went I made a few,” Ernest confessed. He told SEARCHLIGHT that he had children in Barbados, Aruba, Guyana, and Venezuela among other places where he sailed, transporting oil among other things. “I sure I have about 100 grandchildren.”

Ernest is looking forward to his birthday and is excited about the prospect of getting a visit from “my partner” Prime Minister Gonsalves, who he says never forgets him. “If he doesn’t come he will send someone and a little change for me,” he said smiling.

For his historic 100th birthday, over 50 of Ollivierre’s friends and family gathered for a grand celebration with singing and dancing. Ernest was honoured with a congratulatory letter from the Queen among other tributes. SEARCHLIGHT featured Ernest’s milestone on the back page of the Friday, June 6, 2003 issue.

Ollivierre said that he is glad for the opportunity to continue to speak to youths when they come to chat with him and if it weren’t for knee problems that he has recently experienced he would still be taking his walks down to the seaside. At his hundredth birthday party Ernest amazed those gathered when he got up and danced.

As for how long he would live Ernest couldn’t be bothered, telling SEARCHLIGHT that he enjoys life but continues to “leave it all in God’s hands.”