WHAT MATTERS MOST: In tribute to Capp, a most loyal friend
IF EVERYONE was asked to give an appreciation, we would still not be able to outtalk Capp. He was knowledgeable on many subjects, entertaining and enjoyed the stage.
He was fiercely loyal to his friends.
Above all, he was the quintessential post-World War II Barbadian boy who, once given a chance to be educated, found power and strength in something other than money and wealth.
His journey started at the end of a decade of awareness and movement in Barbadian society, following on the decade of the 1930s that was characterised by the 1937 workers’ rebellion. It is therefore not surprising that Capp had many interests, the crown of which was workers’ rights. No wonder that he was such a staunch admirer of National Hero Sir Frank Walcott.
When I listened to him speaking of Sir Frank, it was easy to recognise that they shared a unique kind of wisdom that did not require, or indeed cannot be measured by, certification. It was brightness that could not be shaped by an academic institution. It was an oral dexterity that came with God-given wit.
Capp was also very active in the credit union movement, making a major contribution to the formation of the insurance arm of the union. He indulged in research such that he could have informed discussion.
He attended utility rate hearings and was upfront on any matter that had the potential to affect the quality of life of Barbadians. When I got involved in the electricity rate hearing, he offered his perspectives on the several issues involved, which ranged from how electricity is produced to the costing, accounting, legal and even economic issues.
Like several Barbadians born at the end of the 1940s and the early 1950s and who were still at secondary school when Errol Barrow introduced no payment of school fees, Capp developed an acute liking for politics. He wore his liking and preference on his sleeve.
He would have had the privilege, as a Dayrells Road boy, of attending Harrison College and always reminded that he was from among the favoured few village boys because his father was a seaman.
He had to attend church, sometimes more than once a day; carry out milk as the eldest child; pitch marbles and play cricket and football. And, of course, as a Dayrells Road boy he developed a love for horses that would become a life-long passion.
This mixture of circumstances gave Capp a perspective that was enviable. The village was uniquely located, the Garrison hosted the sport of kings and the school gave him a new awareness of Barbadian society.
Last in chemistry
He was remarkably self-deprecating. The little big-head boy from Brathwaite Gap frequently recited a story of coming last in chemistry with 86 per cent in sixth form at Harrison College. His contemporaries obviously included Scholarship winners. But he never showed an ounce of envy and in fact rejoiced in their achievements. It was a measure of the man.
On leaving school, he would spend three days at the then Barclays Bank, before being offered an opportunity at Cable & Wireless to use his preferred skills. His professional journey was filled with both pleasure and privilege. He had the pleasure of being trained in the United Kingdom and he spoke fondly of his time in Israel. The privilege came from the relatively high pay enjoyed by the staff of Cable & Wireless in the early days.
There was so much to Erskine Alexander Durant that cannot be adequately captured in an appreciation. He spoke fondly about “muh-ma” and made it quite clear that Verne was in charge, once he went through the doors at Grazettes. He was exceptionally proud of Matthew’s growth and development.
Capp had an uncanny ability to imitate certain political characters. This quality, along with his enormous memory, allowed him to hold an audience for hours and there was a remarkable consistency in his stories. His recall of names and family connections was unmatched.
On a personal note, he was a tower of strength in the ebb and flow of my political life, never wavering in his support. Over time, this bond extended to my family life where he became a fixture in our social events. The network extended to the family of his much treasured long-standing friend Jeff Sandiford.
Capp was loved, admired and adored by several Barbadians. They loved his energy, admired his courage and adored his spirit; none more so than my wife Cyrillene.
May his spirit live forever!