There were few tears. In fact, smiles and laughter were evident at times among close family and friends as they greeted and hugged each other in the corridors of the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre this afternoon, where the body of James Emmanuel “Doc” Sisnett – once the second oldest person in the world – lay for public viewing and preceding a service of thanksgiving at the same venue.
Sisnett died in his sleep on May 23 after 113 years on this earth. Before the service began, Sisnett’s sons and daughters and their spouses, formed a reception party near the southern entrance to the centre, as well-wishers filed in to pay their last respects to a man who “loved God, his family, life and the land”.
The conference facility resembled more of a crowded church hall as scores of people from all walks of life, dressed in sombre colours befitting the occasion, made their way pass the silver open casket and into the auditorium allocated for the thanksgiving service.
Present to honour their dad, were his eldest daughter, 84 year old Everine Carter, 82 year old son James Desmond Sisnett and his wife Yvonne, 80 year old daughter Lauretta Sisnett-Sobers, 78 year old Esther Burrowes, 70 year old Vincent Sisnett and his spouse Denise, 66 year old Barbara Sisnett and other sons, Michael Sisnett and Francis Sisnett.
Among those attending the ceremony were the Governor-General’s Aide De Camp, Captain Carlos Lovell, Members of the House of Assembly and the Senate, including Dwight Southerland, MP for St. George South, the hometown of the Sisnetts, Police Commissioner Darwin Dottin and top officials from the National Commission on Ageing and the Barbados Association of Retired Persons.
During the service, conducted by various members of the clergy, tributes flowed from Sisnett’s children, grand children, extended family and the St. George’s Church of Broklyn, New York and Long Island.
Grandson Adrian Sisnett described his grand father as a generous person who always gave to his family. He suggested, too, that Barbadians could learn from him, in that he believed in eating local produce, loved to serve God and go to church, loved people and was neighbourly.
All of the other tributes echoed the sentiments, that this 113 year of Barbadian legacy, was witty and humorous, giving, wise, and delighted in reading his Bible. (EJ)