BRIAN SEYMOUR WRITES FROM FREEPORT: THE LESSONS MY FATHER TAUGHT ME

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viagra sales drugstore times;”>Description: Description: brian_seymoreTHE LESSONS MY FATHER TAUGHT ME

sovaldi sale times;”>Felix Alphonso Seymour, known to many as FA, to others as Phonse, Professor and Jack; the legacy of a life well-lived is demonstrated through the lives of his children, Kirkwood Seymour , Deborah Seymour-Addo, Ricky, Brian, Kevin, Karen Seymour, and Kayla Rousell. Knowing this man was to experience the oral tradition of his native Cat Island story telling. This made him an ideal candidate for the tourism and hospitality industry. His infectious love of people and his knowledge of history and poetry taught him that there was nothing new under the sun. He loved family and his patriotic love for his country, the Bahamas. Most importantly of all, in his later years, he came to know the distinct difference from religion and having a personal relationship with the Master.

The story begins around 1966 with my father and grandfather, Felix Albert Seymour, who we called Papa. They were having an intense discussion on politics, and why Papa Seymour should support the PLP. We all lived in the same yard on East Street across from the East Street Gospel Chapel, nestled between ‘Big Dorsett’ on one side, and the Pelican Bar-room on the other side (at the corner of East and Lewis Streets). I recall being taken to a rally on the Southern Recreation ground where I was placed on a stump from one of the huge cotton trees. I was also taken to a smaller street meeting on McCullough Corner West at which the speaker spoke from the back of a truck to the rear of an apartment where Ms. Ena Hepburn lived – much to the displeasure of Papa Seymour.

He could not understand why my father would even associate or support men who were in his words “penniless, and had absolutely nothing, could not put a bale of rice, or a bag of fertilizer, or seeds on the mail boat; or send any other type of farming tools to Cat Island.” You see, Papa was a devout UBP, unapologetically so. On more than one occasion, Papa would ask my father if he had lost his head in a distinct (British accent). To him, thinking that these poor boys could run the colony was fool- hardy. He firmly believed that you were asking for problems down the road. Needless to say, I don’t think my father was ever able to convince my grandfather of the notion that Sir George Roberts was not a great man, and a caring gentleman who could be counted on. 

The Late Felix Seymour.
The Late Felix Seymour.

On reflection, that experience taught me two valuable lessons: the first being, above all, family comes first notwithstanding political differences; and secondly, we should always be tolerant and respectful of opposing points of view.

After the 1967 PLP majority rule victory, Carlton Francis became the Minister of Finance. It was he who facilitated the In-Service Award for my father to attend Cornell University, and later, New York’s Hotel and Motel Training School. FA never forgot the determination of Carlton Francis in his firm belief of Bahamians taking their rightful place. Mr. Francis knew that education was the key. A D Hanna was Mr. Bahamianization, and the Father of the Nation (Sir Lynden) was the unapologetic Leader. 

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My father was the forerunner of those up and coming Young Bahamians who followed him. Presently, in the hotel industry it appears non-existent for a Bahamian to hold an upper management position in a hotel; 42 years after Independence. Even though today, we are more educated and experienced than in the fledgling years of tourism. I wonder if Bahamianization has become a bad word; or an embarrassing concept for the political directorate. I question where along the way did the train jumped the tracks, became derailed, and off course. Now, in the tourism and hospitality industry, we see ‘wet behind the ear’ expatriates being brought in to manage hotels (a few years out of college) and being made managers over more qualified and experienced Bahamians. What has happened to our sense of self determination? Has it been lost in our quest for foreign direct investment? Could it be Papa Seymour was on to something?

In 1972, FA was appointed Resident Manager of the International Hotel (later to become the Princess Towers) which was a feat within itself. Freeport was still going through a stormy transition where Bahamians were taking their natural place and possessing the land. My father did not believe in tokenism, if you were a Manager exercise the power of your office. He instilled in all of his children education had to be married with common sense. Think before you speak, when you meet a person speak clearly and properly, look a person in the eye and leave the pig English and slang outside. This tells the person who you are.

The final lesson of FA’s life of 87 years tells us that after going through youthfulness, maturity, and old age, in the end, where there is knowledge, it will cease and become meaningless as told in the Word. Where there is wealth, you will leave it behind, it will not save you. Solomon tells us that the conclusion of the whole matter is to serve God and keep his commandments. Sleep on my father, rest in peace Felix Alphonso Seymour.

Your loving son,

Brian N. Seymour