As part of the Nation Publishing Company’s 50th anniversary of Independence celebrations, the WEEKEND NATION team – through this series – This Is My Story – will be speaking to people who migrated to the island and visitors who have come and fallen in love with our shores. We invite you to share with us or point us in the direction of an interesting person we can feature each week.
STAN SYLVESTER DIDN’T have a choice when his mother made a decision to leave their hometown of Castries, St Lucia for Barbados when he was just 14 years old.
However, 32 years later, he readily admits that life in Barbados has more than surpassed his expectations.
Stan, now a father to two Barbadian sons, has earned the reputation of being one of the island’s best barbers.
It’s a far cry from the timid teenager who arrived back in 1984.
“I came to Barbados because my mother moved here and brought me with her. I didn’t have much choice at all as I was still a minor at the time and I couldn’t make my own decisions,” he explained to the WEEKEND NATION.
Stan Sylvester (left) giving one of his customers a haircut.
Having arrived here, Stan set out to make the best of his opportunity.
His mother enrolled him at the Roman Catholic School and after completing his education there he entered the workforce.
“After I finished school, I cut cane for two years. After that I worked for six years at the Ju-C company and I worked blowing wells. I did some of everything and I really worked hard,” Stan said.
“During that time I met a lot of good people and a lot of them are my good friends even up to now.”
However, it was only after he was fired from his job at the Ju-C company that he decided to take up barbering.
He said while it was something that came naturally to him, initially he didn’t enjoy doing it.
But as word of his skill spread, so did the lines of people – mostly men – who flocked to his barber salon in search of that perfect cut.
Stan readily admitted that living in Barbados has afforded him a very comfortable lifestyle.
He was able to transform his small barbershop into a contemporary and spacious work station, while he also carried out extensive renovations to his home situated atop a slight incline at Hindsbury Road, St Michael.
He strongly believes that if he had remained at home in St Lucia, he would not have been as successful as he is today.
“What I can say without a shadow of a doubt is that Barbados has been very good to me. I’ve been able to settle down here and I have been able to provide for my family and live comfortably,” he said.
“And while I love St Lucia and I have thought about moving back there on several occasions, I know that if I had stayed there the opportunities which I got in Barbados I would never have gotten.”
While not describing himself as an outgoing person, Stan said one of his favourite things about Barbados is the Crop Over Festival and listening to calypso music.
He revealed that he enjoys going to drag racing and circuit racing, but was disappointed at how both sports had failed to develop over the years.
The owner of a Toyota Supra, he said he believed politics was to blame for the sport’s lack of development over the years.
“For some reason we can’t seem to get it up and running. I really enjoy living in Barbados, but I think that sometimes politics has a way of sometimes getting involved in certain things and that hinders its development,” he said. (RB)