Sandy Point-born Kittitian in Tortola celebrates 100 years

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, MAY 7TH 2013 (CUOPM) – A Sandy Point-born Kittitian residing in Johnson’s Ghut, Tortola, reached the 100 years milestone in March.

Mr. James A. Taylor attained the age of 100 years on March 24, 2013, a milestone that was celebrated with his immediate family, relatives, friends neighbours and the Government of the Virgin Islands.

“He remembers what he want to remember and forgets what he wants to,” said one of his daughters Mrs. Patricia E. Gilbert. This may even be one of the things responsible for Mr. Taylor’s longevity and relatively good health.

There to celebrate the milestone of Mr. Taylor at his home in Johnson’s Ghut were Representative of the 5th District Hon. Delores Christopher and Representative of the 6th District Hon. Alvera Maduro- Caines.

Those who may have turned up expecting to see a frail looking person with challenges associated with such an age would have been pleasantly surprised as Mr. Taylor walked out to his porch aided only with an ordinary walking stick. He looked really remarkable as his voice was strong and sure; a little challenge on the hearing side, and maintained a pleasant smile.

Speaking with Virgin Island News Online, the centenarian said that while he is thankful to God for being alive at the age of 100, he has no wish for longer years.

“I am just taking it as it comes, I wouldn’t say I want to go for another year or two or three if the father choose to give me health and strength to go more, well that is it but if not to him be the glory for what he has done for me.”

He said that trusting in God is his main focus. He eats a bit of almost everything. “I don’t have any favourite or anything, I eat anything.”

Mr. Taylor said that since migrating to the Virgin Islands in the 1940s from St. Thomas, USVI, he spent his life working in the carpentry field and being involved in sports, especially volley ball and cricket.

His advise to others was to do whatever they have to, with modesty.

The government of the day came good at their commitment of honouring centurions and presented Mr. Taylor with a cheque for $5,000.00. Honourable Christopher stood in the place of Premier and Minister of Finance Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith who sent his apologies for being unable to be attend the ceremony.

James Alfred Taylor was born on the island of St. Kitts on March 24, 1913. He came to the Virgin Islands as a young man in 1941 and has resided here ever since. Mr. Taylor grew up in Sandy Point. He attended a boys’ school in Basseterre and also the St. Paul’s School for boys and girls. He is a skilled carpenter and joiner and loved making fine furniture. He learned his trade as an apprentice under Mr. Mortimer Warner in St. Kitts. He left St. Kitts by motor launch which sailed to Charlotte Amalie.

Prior to settling on Tortola, he lived in St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands where he worked for a short time. Having heard that carpenters were needed in Tortola, he came to the island to explore the possibilities of working here.

Mr. Taylor was married twice in his lifetime, first to Winnifred Olivia Warner in 1938. She died in 1981. Then at age 78, in 1991 he married Linnett Veronica Ramcharran. They are now divorced.

None of his four children, two boys, two girls, were born on Tortola. However, one was born in St Thomas. All his siblings have passed on.

He has visited St. Croix and St. John for short periods and never travelled to the United States of America or the United Kingdom.

Mr. Taylor appears in very good physical shape; eyesight is still good and walks around almost straight up without his cane, doing light chores around the house.

His memory is still fairly sharp and he remembers Road Town with its one dirt road and no lights. He loves cricket, the game he played while growing up in St. Kitts. He is a Methodist since and remains praying and thanking God for bringing him this far.

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