The Way I see it – Tribute to Labes

A Nevispages weekly feature by Curtis Morton Sr

The way I see it, Nevis has a lot of UNSUNG heroes.  The problem is that too many of them pass away without a mention of their significant contributions.

I just learnt two days ago of the passing of JULIAN BURTON RICHARD THOMPSON.  I can almost hear you asking: ‘Ah who dat?’

My point exactly.

Okay, so if I now say, he was more popularly known as LABES, then some of you would say: ‘I knew the man!’  Some of you would still not have a clue, of whom I speak.  I just knew the man as LABES. To be honest, the thought never really occurred to me that the man had any other name.

JULIAN BURTON RICHARD THOMPSON – with a name like that, the man should have been a Prime Minister or something like that!

Well I newa!

In another life, I met LABES in the band house. I don’t remember if it was the Soul Survivors band house or the IC’S Brass’ band house, but one of them.  As I recall, he played the steel. His brother Donald or TAMPI, as we knew him, played the drums and later the saxophone.

LABES was the quiet man on the steel. He made his sweet rhythmic noise, on the steel.  He did not talk much but always had a ready smile.  He was one of those guys, who always left you wondering what he was thinking.

In those days, lots of band men were rowdy and verbose.  LABES just did his thing on the steel-not a word in English!   He also contributed significantly in his chosen career at the Electricity Department.

According to Curtis Morton Jr, who had the privilege to work alongside him, he was one of the drivers of the big trucks and one of the finest operators in terms of getting the holes dug for the placement of poles. He was also quick to say: ‘He did not talk much!’

Several weeks ago, I went over Bath to look for my good friend BARGU. By the way, BARGU would have also played in one of those bands, alongside LABES and also worked at the Electricity Department.

I met him under the famous tamarind tree and LABES was also there with some other guys.  I greeted them and LABES just nodded his head and smiled, as his custom was.

It is my understanding that his funeral service is due to be held today, Friday 16th July, at Elliot’s funeral Parlour Chapel, at 2 pm.  I will be making every effort to pass by.

It is a real pity that some persons do not get their due credit when they are alive, but God sees and knows and by his grace, once Mr. JULIAN BURTON RICHARD THOMPSON had made his calling and election sure, prior to breathing his last breath, he will indeed receive his eternal rewards in heaven, one day.

That’s the way I see it. How do you see it?

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