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Ah Ju-c story


Ah want to welcome back Ju-c to SVG. And ah want to big-up ECGC manager, Ozzie Davy foh pushing to mek de return ah Ju-c ah reality. Ah believe Ozzie wanted to do de honourable thing, by showing appreciate-shun foh de many lunch-time dat Red Ju-c wid ah Red-belly cake saved his life; all dat Red and dey was no ULP back den. But Ju-c in its hey-dey was de poor man’s friend, nobody dared to bad- talk Ju-c. When Vincent-shuns going abroad on vacation, dey relatives uses to send ah list ah food-stuff to bring, de first item was Ju-c, den breadfruit, fry-fish and Tri Tri and den de last item was Ju-c again. Christmas was not Christmas widout Ju-c in de house, dat was de only time ah year when every child got ah whole bottle ah Ju-c to drink.{{more}} And just like how de Port does be block-up as persons clear dey Christmas barrels, was de same mass confusion foh days at de Ju-c factory, trying to get ah case ah Ju-c foh dat special Season.

Ah refuse to be ungrateful to Lady Ju-c, it was ah five star hotel meal foh me de day Granny ain’t cook, and she gave me ah whole 10-ounce bottle ah Red Ju-c and ah jam bun foh lunch. Ah remember how dat one bottle uses to full me up wid gas, ah was uncomfortable till ah did ah lickle ritual by tapping de stomach to break de gas and speed-up digestion, and den out came dah loud sounding Borrrrrr! Oooops excuse me.


Ah was ah lickle youth back in December 1952, it was just before Christmas when Ju-c opened its doors. De Met-dis had an Open Air Sunday School in de Village, thanks to those one-dah-full Sunday School Teachers who came to de village every Sunday afternoon: mother Emily Innis, Lilly Wilson, mother Winsboro and Lady John, wife of de G.G. those were de days when first ladies remembered dey roots wid humility. De Ladies introduced us lickle kids to house-to-house Carolling, now-ah-days Carolling is ah competition, dey kill de spirit. Nights and nights ah practising. One night after practice, Christine Smith’s parents had given her ah six cents to buy her first Ju-c, and dat one 10 oz. bottle shared foh all twelve ah we. Dat could never happen today.

De factory started wid an Englishman name Jerry Palmer as de first manager. He had two sons, dat same Jonathan Palmer and his brother, bad like hurry-cane. De factory had introduced Ju-c sister, Pepsi, but it contained plenty gas, and school children had ah Jingle we uses to sing. Lickle Jonathan and his brother went home, singing out loud foh dey Dad: “Tell Mr Palmer de Pepsi full ah gas, he must tek it and shove it up his A double S!” Jerry busy flying plane today, but he must remember dat “cut A double S” he got?

Sonny Derrick succeeded Palmer and kept de company growing. And when Derrick left, Ken Gonsalves managed Ju-c foh decades. As manager, Ken got de company to support sports and culture in ah meaningful way. Den after 40 years Ken retired and is like Ju-c followed him out de door, not long after de company closed-down, unfortunately leaving all its faithful wukers widout proper severance up to dis date. And what is dis wukers Go-venom-men doing about dat??? Nutten!!

So it is ah breath ah fresh air to have Ju-c reopening its doors, employing forty people, including eighteen ah de ole Ju-c wukers, and promising to take on some more when de factory expands. Shamefully, dis country has been seeing ah number of businesses closing down, ah trying to remember when was de last time ah factory was opened in dis country; what is easier to tell is dat during dis 14 years ah ULP, is ah lot ah businesses including Bigger Bigs Factory wid 60 wukers, dat closed down, and more companies line up to close,. Most refreshing however, is to drink ah SVG bottled Red Ju-c again. Ah hope my doctor, De Shong does not read dat ah drinking Delicious Red Ju-c again.

Talking bout Delicious Red Ju-c, back in 1979 when de Vincy Mas was moved to July, dey was ah night of Traditional Folklore Pageant, Quadrille, string band, bun drum etc. As de producer ah went to Ju-c’s manager, Ken Gonsalves foh ah sponsor foh de Murray’s Village Bum Drum, de pride ah de village. Leonard Williams aka Monkey Kong, de most feared monkey man was part of dat band, so too was Jerry Joseph aka as Jerry Rounce (jumbie) who was de speech-maker in de band. De slogan back den was: “Ju-c is a delicious drink.” Ah coached Jerry all week trying to get him to include dat line in his speech. While he was on stage delivering his malapropos, ah went stage-side ah called to him saying: “don’t forget to say Ju-c is a delicious drink!” He looked at me, shook his head, turned to ah packed Vicroria Park, live on Radio and said: ” Buy Ju-c Ladies and gentlemen, Ju-c is ah malicious drink!” Needless to say Victoria Park was in ah uproar. Foh In-deep-and-dense, Reflect on de way de country heading: Crime! Corrupt-shun! Two face legal system! Victim-I-soy-shun! Rape of woe-man and country! And wid dat, is gone ah gone again.

One Love Bassy

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