‘Brother A’, De good Samaritan
De Papers dis week will be flooded, as everybody says dey two cents bit of Praises foh de life and times of Oscar Allen, better known among his Diamond Family as âBro A.â
De mystification of Oscarâs lifestyle was its simplicity, much too simple foh us to comprehend. He obeyed the Master, Jesusâ instructions in Matthew 19 vs 21: âIf you want to be perfect, go sell all your possession and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven, then come follow me.â And datâs all he did, practiced de Basic Principles of his Christian Faith. Giving and Sharing of all dat he owned which was nothing but himself, his Expertise, Wisdom and Knowledge.
Ah mek no claim to knowing Oscar. He was ah year my junior, but he was two forms ahead ah me in Grammar School, âYoung Turkâ was obviously ah bright scholar. Ah recall back in de early 1970s, Monty Maule and I served on de Social Action Commission of de Christian Council dat disbursed funds to needy persons, craftsmen and farmers wid small projects up to $ 5, 000. Oscar presented on behalf of ah group he headed in Diamond, ah Ginger Project (planting to processing). He was asking foh half ah million dollars. We had it checked by ah young Economist at Devco, Arnhim Eustace, who was very supportive of the I-dare. Of course dat was ah massive project and financing was above our limit. We however approved and sent it over to de Caribbean Council of Churches, who would have taken it to the World Council of Churches. Sadly, nothing was ever heard of that project.
It was Oscarâs initiative dat de Searchlight was formed. âLet us write and photocopy our writings, share them out to de Masses Free,â he said. âDeyâs no limit to our vision, We will get into printing, give opportunity to local writers to publish dey books; get into Radio and TV broadcasting!â He served as ah Director of Searchlight foh ah while, den he moved on to another project; possibly wid Jomo and de Peopleâs Movement for Change.
De last thing he pulled me into was de Cocoa Farmers Association, ah project dear to his heart. As interim Chairman, he spearheaded its formation, prepared a constitution document, got an official executive in place and again, he moved on. Nothing has happened since he stepped aside. âNobody want to plant de corn, everybody want to reap de corn!â
Ah listen tributes to Oscar, people of all walks of life. Ah wonder how many ah we who were fortunate to tap into his reservoir of wisdom and knowledge, ever looked back and said âHey âBro Aâ hereâs ah contribution to yuh works?
âBro Aâ never had ah salaried job, he did ah lickle farming on family lands, he wasnât blessed wid âNatureâs Passportâ to head any ah dem card-Boards that would ah bin well served by his contribution. Morning or evening, he would âbum-ah-ride from Diamond to town to sit as ah panelist on Debates on every topic, arriving late many times, and after de session, he would bum-ah-rideâ back to Diamond wid not even transportation money. But dat is how we are in SVG, way de âImposter Syndromeâ is over subscribed wid high salaried misfits heading Boards and Committees, organizing programs, doh have ah clue of way going on. Piggy-back is dey game, falsely claiming fame, using de expertise of others. Oh how we used and abused Oscar. But de joke is on us, because Oscar knew his treasure is in Heaven. And wid dat is gone ah gone again.
One Love Bassy
Bassy Alexander is a land surveyor, folklorist and social commentator.