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Tribute to E.G. King, a close friend and distant cousin

Tribute to E.G. King, a close friend and distant cousin


by C.I. Martin

E.G. King and I entered the Grammar School on the same day and completed the course at the same time. Together we also learned to play tennis and in that game there is a saying “Some day you will meet your uncle”. This means that at some time or other you will meet the man who will beat you. From the time we were both in the entry form in the Grammar School I realized I had met my uncle.

EG was probably the first student to win the island scholarship doing science subjects. Consequently he went straightaway into medical school. In the critical second MB examinations he was a prizewinner and I, who was in the same university residence (Taylor Hall) with him at the time, took great pride in his achievements. It meant he was not only my uncle but also the uncle of the cream of the crop of the Caribbean.{{more}}

Many people could not comprehend his very intense personality. Often I had to explain how we could hold conversations which were really monologues by him. I would assure them that he and I had known each other for a long time and in any case he talks sense so I only had to interject “yes, yes” from time to time. Later, when those same people got to know him better they admitted he was a very fine fellow indeed.

Errol could be fiercely loyal. Having won the island scholarship I noted that he was researching American universities and writing off for application forms. “What are you doing that for?” I asked him. “Brother Roy (Ambassador Austin) has to get a scholarship too and I am doing some preliminary research for him.” It was not difficult to appreciate the strong bond between those two. Both poor boys, the one from Paul’s Lot, the other from Bottom Town, who realized the Grammar School was their escape route from poverty.

The other day he came into my office, pounded on the desk and shouted, “Cims, why are they treating Victor (Hadley) like that? They don’t know Victor. So and so (naming the writer of the offending article in question) is an arse, he is an arse, Cims.” It is not only that he was at school with Victor, but on that fateful day of the javelin I was on the playing field with him and it was Victor’s younger brother Jeffrey, a very cool and self-assured character, who tried to sort matters out. Errol never forgot it.

The Nobel prizewinner, Sir Arthur Lewis, who won the St. Lucia scholarship at a very early age, took two years off working in the Civil Service, before going on to university. I often think had Errol done this he would have escaped some of his life’s sorrows. I was two years his senior and spent a year working before going to UWI. That year at least afforded me time to make a fool of myself over a girl or two before again becoming involved in the relentless beating of books.