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Changing of the guards


There will be ah changing of de Guards at The Salvation Army this weekend as Majors Ronald and Junie Ellis hand over the Garrison keys to Majors Henry and Pearline King. De Ellises spent eleven years here and came close to Brigadier Leopold’s record of eighteen years ah service in SVG.

De Ellises will take up an appointment in Bo-bathe-us where dey spent dey honey-moon twenty-seven years ago. De Kings are no newcomers to Salvation Army wuk. he hails from Belize and his wife from Jamaica. she’s from my Granny yard, and she better mek sure and have some information to give me about my roots in Jah-mek-yah. Dey have ah nice young family of three lickle children and this Sunday we will formally present them to the nation at ah Welcome Service.{{more}}

Salvation Army Officers are ah special bunch ah people. Ah don’t know what Pastors or Priests get foh salary, but when ah saw what Major Ellis got foh ah salary, ah realized that dey does teach dem at Salvation Army Training School how to do miracles with small money. Officers’ salaries come from the tithes and offerings of members and in SVG The Salvation Army has de second smallest membership of all de Churches. But donations also from the many generous people here. Don’t ask about de wuk of The Salvation Army. We were de first to start ah School Feeding Program and after forty years we are still feeding de kids daily. We never, ever turn away ah child, if there is no cooked food, we mek ah healthy snack.

One of our Ministries is called “The League of Mercy”. regular visits to Hospitals, Institutions, Ole People Homes, Shut-ins etc. We would love to mek every body happy at Christmas but we don’t have de funds; anyhow some five hundred needy ole people look forward to our gift packages every Christmas, plus Gifts to inmates of de Prisons, mental Health Centre de Lewis Punnett Home.

We are involved in ah great deal of Social Wuk, so much so that many people don’t see us as ah Church; but we are; ah Salvationist is first ah foremost ah Born Again Christian. But ah man is Body and Soul, Physical and Spiritual; and we believe that ah good way to ah man’s soul is to mek sure that individual has food in his stomach, wears ah clean suit ah clothes, and possibly some way to rest his/her head, then s/he is ah excellent candidate to sit down and speak to about that special part of the anatomy de Soul. But having said all ah dat, would you believe that foh whatever we do, lickle be it or much, we give Almighty God All de Praise and de Glory.


Ah feel bad that not ah soul remember to mention ah word of Rhymer’s passing. Egbert Providence, de Mighty Rhymer from de older generation ah Kaisonians, de man who took Vincy Mas in July by storm in 1977. Ah was there at Lyric Cinema when the oldest man in de Kaiso business, dressed in ah long sleeve plaid-shirt, black felt hat and ah flash-light in his back pocket, incidentally he never went on stage without that flash-light in his back pocket. When Rhymer was called on stage, he skipped two steps and mounted de stage. The crowd that was waiting all night foh some live humour, sensed it was coming from Rhymer so dey gave him ah warm welcome. And of course he mek sure he walk with his home crowd from Redemption Sharpes as well.

Ah don’t remember which band did de back stopping; Rhymer didn’t have any musical scores so it took ah while foh dem to get his key and melody together; but when de band struck de first few bars, Rhymer flung back both arms as wide as he could and then he put down one hot piece ah whine-in down to floor board, fellars stage-side down in pit went crazy, who aint kick off dey shoes, took off dey shirt. More to come when Rhymer let loose his first few lines: “Please don’t come up Redemption Sharpes, For Randolph Russell is all de boss; You can get free mauby and ice, Randolph Russell is very nice”! And de crowd exploded, who wasn’t rolling on de ground, jumping on de benches. Now polly-ticks was heating up and Randolph Russell was not only de representative foh Redemption Sharpes but also Minister of Health, and he was losing his popularity, so you will overs why this song literally “break down de Cinema”.

Needless to say that after that smashing debut, Rhymer rose to kaiso fame. The following year 1978, Rhymer was de first Kaisonian to release his song foh de season. He went to Radio 705 with de Bamboo Melodians and recorded his song. He was very aggressive and threw out ah challenge to Mighty Toiler de reigning Monarch; some hot picong and biting lyrics that went something like this: “Jump up and ley we play mas; Toiler, Rhymer coming fast. Toiler really de king, he ain’t singing nothing; he not singing so straight, Rhymer go beat him foh ’78”! And de crowd love that one too, but it didn’t go down too well with Toiler.

Town folks never heard of Rhymer before 1977, but foh many years he was very active in Shat-belair with de Maypole Dancers, he uses to sing with de String Band. He later moved to Kingstown to look foh wuk and indeed he found one. Ah believe Mr. Russell was impressed with his first song and no doubt that helped to land Rhymer ah job with the Ministry of Health. Then one year we didn’t hear from Rhymer and ah went to look foh him to see what was de problem. He told me he had resigned, his wife who never saw him perform in de Tent, didn’t know what he was doing on stage to mek him so popular, until she saw him performing on TV, and she didn’t approve of de way he was whine-in. In ah jovial way he told me: “She say when dem young ladies see how me does carry on, dey will want to tek me way from she”!

So Rhymer decided to put down his pen and call it ah day. But he never stopped rhyming, folks when dey meet him loved to shout him up: “Rhymer ah don’t see you, you bin way” and he would respond “So de people say”! Rhymer will be remembered by the older Kaiso fans, somebody was saying that Rhymer told dem he finally got selected to sing at de Big Yard, that show comes off on Resurrection Morn when Rhymer will sing at de break of Dawn! May he ret in Peace. And with that ah gone again.

One Love Bassy.