The way I see it, getting a driver’s license in Nevis could be a stressful experience. I think I have already outlined my personal experiences but today I want to reflect some more on what indeed is a land mark achievement for every single individual who is brave enough to try.
My Dad operated a shop and so as part of the daily chores we had to wake up really early and go with him to Mr. James Brookes’ bakery to collect the bread for the daily sale. The construction workers and others would be showing up by 6 am, so everything had to be in place, well in advance of that time.
As young boys, we were probably a little grumpy to be awakened out of a warm bed but there was always the incentive of a couple of hot bread (or should that be breads?) loaded with a heap of butter. You remember that red looking butter in the big tin? Wash down that with one of James Brookes’ well liked COLAS and we were good to go for the rest of the day. Those days, the word CHOLESTOROL was not yet invented and I don’t believe people used to get DIABETES then.
And so my Dad used the opportunity to teach those of us who were interested to drive.
There were many times that we drove that well worn AUSTIN CAMBRIDGE under the cover of the darkness, even past the Gingerland Police Station, totally unconcerned that we were indeed breaking the law!
And so one day, I had completed a particular GCE examination early and as I passed by the shop on the way home, my Dad indicated that he was going home as well and as we approached the car, he asked me if I wanted to drive.
I hesitated, then accepted the invitation. After all, this was a different kettle of fish. It was broad daylight.
I was comforted in the knowledge that we lived not far away. We will be there in no time, I thought.
As we approached River Path (the shop was at Hull Ground), a vehicle blew on me and I pulled over to allow it to pass. The vehicle passed and stopped immediately in front of me and out jumped a much feared Police officer in the area, I knew as BURKE.
Boy he roughed me up (verbally) and made me come from behind the wheel. He however saved his most scathing words for my father.
‘Ah feel to lock you up,’ he shouted. I remember he allowed my father to drive away with a stern warning and I remember that I did not buy lunch from DOCKIES shop for months after that, as it was located so close to the Charlestown Police Station and I was afraid of Mr. Burke.
Needless to say, I had learnt my lesson well and knew that I was not going to drive again like that unless I had a permit or my license.
A few years on, my brother CAM had an interesting experience with another long serving Police officer by the name of Guillard.
The story goes that CAM was trying for his license and Guillard was the Police Officer in his vehicle. It is said that when they got down to Pinneys, Guillard made the error in telling CAM that he had failed the test.
CAM reportedly got out of the vehicle and told him that if that was the case, then all of them would walk back up town!
Well I newa!
Another story indicates that one day as Guillard was testing another would be driver, he asked him to make a left turn as they approached the court house in Charlestown. As they passed the courthouse, Guillard said aloud: “Ah wonder what time it is?’
The would be driver looked up towards the big clock on the building and said: ‘it is now 12.30.’
Guillard immediately told him that he had failed the test as he should always keep his eyes on the road!
Whether or not these stories are true, they certainly make for good folklore.
The essence of the whole thing though is that getting a driver’s license is indeed serious business.
That’s the way I see it. How do you see it?